Olivia “Livvie” Owen feels things differently than her parents and two sisters. Livvie is autistic. Her family has had to move repeatedly because of her outbursts. When they again face eviction, Livvie is convinced she has a way to get back to a house where they were all happy, once.
The problem is, Livvie burned down that house.
But she’s not giving up. Here is her story.
Told from the perspective of an autistic 14-year-old, this poignant first novel explores the frustrations that come with being different. Since their house burned down years ago, the Owens have moved from one rental property to another, and now, after receiving their latest eviction notice, they may be forced to relocate to a neighboring town. But Livvie doesn't want change ("It was hard to start fresh with a new group of neighbors when your daughter was a kid like me"). Her desperate attempts to cling to the familiar lead to angry outbursts and secret late-night excursions, which create even more problems for the family. It takes a lot of love, patience, and understanding from Livvie's parents, her two sisters, and her new substitute teacher to calm her frazzled nerves and help her accept hard truths. Dooley, a special education teacher, offers readers a rare opportunity to experience the day-to-day struggles of a special-needs student. Livvie's internal growth is convincing, and her ultimate triumphs are inspiring. Ages 10-14. (Aug.)