The World from Up Here by Cecilia Galante
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I like when books can surprise you. While The World From Up Here rightfully gets praise for its handling of a character with Asperger's, the impressive feat is how it dances with the stories we all tell and the way ideas and concepts spread regardless of evidence, both in our own families and in our town.
In the story, a girl has to stay with her cousin for a time when her mother is hospitalized. Her cousin is a little flighty and fearless, and the town has a big story about a witch who lives up on the hill. The cousin decides, for a class project, that she wants to interview the witch, and our protagonist is quickly forced to work outside of her comfort zone and get some things together.
It's a decent book, although I have a lot of reservations in play here. I found the cousin to be more than a little unrealistic in the context of this story - a Manic Pixie Dream Girl works in a John Green book, not a family story like this one. The benefit of how the story is structured is that the last act really keeps you guessing, especially about the witch. The ultimate problem, though, is that this tries to be a little heavier than it ends up being. It's a Rules-style story without the Rules-style weight, and that's why this stumbles a bit.
Overall, this book can and should find an audience, and I hope it does. I just wish it did a few things better.
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