Colin Fischer doesn't like to be touched. Or the colour blue. He avoids eye contact unless absolutely necessary. Sherlock Holmes has a place of honour on his wall. His room is a shrine to clear-headed logic.
Ashley E Miller and Zack Stentz are comic book fans who met online. They went on to form a hugely successful Hollywood screenwriting partnership working on X-Men and Thor and are slated to write the forthcoming Top Gun sequel. This is their first novel and is based on personal childhood experiences.
The screenwriting team behind X-Men: First Class and Thor make their YA debut with the story of a teenager with Asperger's syndrome solving a crime, a premise that can't help evoking Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Kids constantly target high school freshman Colin, who struggles to understand their facial expressions or jokes, and who sometimes barks when upset. When a gun goes off in the school cafeteria, Colin uses his considerable observational skills and powers of logic to prove that Wayne, a bully who put Colin's head in the toilet on the first day of school, wasn't responsible (when an incredulous Wayne asks Colin why he is helping, Colin simply replies, "You're innocent"). Through journal entries that begin each chapter and footnotes about everything from genetic chimerism to false dichotomies, readers get a strong sense of how Colin's brain works. Beyond Colin and his parents, though, the other characters are somewhat flat. Even so, readers will be drawn into the mystery and intrigued by Colin's vision of the world. Ages 12-up. Agent: Eric Simonoff, William Morris Endeavor. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Gr 5 Up-Colin Fischer, 14, has Asperger's syndrome. He is highly intelligent, but incapable of reading social cues and struggles to navigate everyday situations. When he enters high school, he faces bullies, class clowns, cliques, and a mystery: Who brought the gun to school that went off in the cafeteria? He soon becomes convinced that the bully, Wayne, who is temporarily suspended, is not guilty. As he works to exonerate Wayne, everyone wonders why he would help someone who dunked him in the toilet on the first day of school. For Colin, it is not a matter of helping the bully, but of making sure that the truth comes out. He eventually proves Wayne is innocent and in the process makes a new friend. Each chapter starts out with an excerpt from Colin's diary, giving facts about Asperger's, a clever device to avoid didactic writing. Colin's family interactions, including squabbles with his younger brother, who resents his sibling's special needs, render him sympathetic. Overall, this book succeeds in making Colin a believable character, deeply rooted in his disability, but always a person first.-Wendy Smith-D'Arezzo, Loyola College, Baltimore, MD (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.