From School Library Journal
Gr 5-8–School is out for summer and Johnny can't wait to enjoy pizza lunches, trips to the lake, and video-game marathons with his friends. Then his mother drops the news: she'll be spending the summer in New York for work and Johnny will be staying with his aunt, taking care of his older, autistic cousin. Remember is different from other teenagers–he doesn't like to be touched, he loves to watch the Weather Channel, he often doesn't know what's socially appropriate. While Remember's mom is at work at the local 7-11, it falls to Johnny to keep an eye on him (and his two ferrets, Jumbalaya and Linguini). Several adventures ensue, and what starts out as a burden ends up being an opportunity for Johnny to learn how to beat previously unbeatable game levels (turns out that Remember is a video-game genius), and how to look for the good in others. Vernick populates Johnny and Remember's town with quirky versions of classic characters, from bullies to curmudgeons with hearts of gold. Although the secondary characters are a bit thinly developed and the plot twists a bit predictable, the author captures an important part of growing up–that time when young people first start to see beyond their own perspectives and really understand the people around them.–Gesse Stark-Smith, Multnomah County Library, Portland, ORα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
No, it’s not a rallying cry. Remember Dippy is the name of a 16-year-old autistic boy whose eccentricities are about to overwhelm 14-year-old Johnny. When Johnny’s mom goes away for the summer, Johnny has to live with quirky Aunt Collette and exhausting Remember, aka Mem, aka Mr. Literal, aka Mr. Tag-Along, aka the Dipp. With Mem’s penchant to repetition, obsession with the Weather Channel, and frequent “hissy fits,” Johnny can barely concentrate on his major goals: hanging with his buds and catching the attention of the beautiful Jo. As you might expect, the boys gradually come to accept each other, with Mem’s robotic talents helping Johnny win video games, fend off Dirk the Jerk, befriend a mean mutt, and more. There are few surprises in this gentle, jokey read, and the series of dramas that conclude the book seem to pop up out of nowhere. Mem himself remains a mystery, but it’s clear why Johnny comes to appreciate him: “Life would be a lot easier if people said what they mean, the way Mem does.” Grades 5-8. --Daniel Kraus
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