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When My Heart Joins the Thousand Hardcover – February 6, 2018
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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From School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—Alvie is 17. She enjoys her routine of working at the zoo, coming home to her apartment, playing on her laptop, and going to the park near her home. After running away from foster care, she has been living on her own and is eager to be legally emancipated. Sitting in the park one day, she sees a boy (Stanley) throw his cell phone into the pond. She rescues the phone, emails him, and an online friendship quickly develops. When Stanley wants to meet in person, Alvie asks him if they can have sex. Although nothing is consummated, a romantic relationship starts to build between them. When Stanley tells Alvie he loves her, she panics and cuts off contact with him. This sends her into a spiral, which ultimately results in her losing her job and becoming homeless. It is only after she reconnects with Stanley and faces the truth about her past that she can find happiness. Flashbacks to Alvie's childhood, her difficulties at school, and her relationship with her mother add depth and understanding to her character. Her meltdowns and behavioral quirks (an interest in rabbits, a love of the book Watership Down) add dimension to what is a fully realized portrayal of a person living with Asperger's. As her romantic foil, Stanley's character is initially a little too perfect, but as the story progresses it is made clear that he struggles with his own issues. This is a love story that could also appeal to adult readers. Their love is hard-fought and deservedly earned. VERDICT Recommended for all YA collections.—Kefira Phillipe, Nichols Middle School, Evanston, IL
“A gorgeous love story of depth and raw emotion that beautifully dismantles the ugly perceptions of autism.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
“[Alvie’s] meltdowns and behavioral quirks add dimension to what is a fully realized portrayal of a person living with Asperger’s... This is a love story that could also appeal to adult readers. Their love is hard-fought and deservedly earned.” (School Library Journal (starred review))
“At last! A.J. Steiger’s When My Heart Joins the Thousand offers a love story between two atypical characters with breathtaking honesty about all the messy aspects of real love—sex, compatibility, trust, and most of all, honesty.” (Cammie McGovern, author of Say What You Will)
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This book follows Alvie, a seventeen-year-old girl with Asperger syndrome living on her own awaiting the day when she can legally be called an adult. Going outside of her comfort zone, she strikes up a friendship with a boy who suffers from a condition called osteogenesis imperfecta. In simple terms, he has fragile bones that break easily. Such an disease can also cause hearing loss among other permanent conditions. Both are trying to live normal lives the best they can and deal with the fact that both are not perfect and will never be normal socially. Also, Alvie's favorite book is Watership Down. Did I mention how awesome that it?
All I have learned about Asperger's I have learned from television shows and movies. This opened my eyes a lot to what people go through. The panic attacks, the depression, and not to mention the suffering of people around those who have Asperger's. Alvie lost her mother at a young ago and blames herself. It's something that will dig into your chest and rip out your heart.
This book is one that may not get a lot of attention and I hope to change that at least a little. I have never met a character so in love with the same book (Watership Down) as I am and always will be and I connected right away to her. The chills I got when reading my favorite line from the book, "My heart has joined the Thousand for my friend stopped running today."
Full on sobbing tears.
So, read this book if you can and also, while we're at it, read Watership Down because you will not find a more raw and beautiful book if you tried. Well, by my opinion of course.
“All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies, and whenever they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you, digger, listener, runner, prince with the swift warning. Be cunning and full of tricks and your people shall never be destroyed.”
Alvie has Asperger's and has been living on her own for more than a year. Trying to get the courts to emancipate her, despite being only 17 years old, Alvie has a job taking care of the animals at the local zoo. Her compassion for the animals does not extend to her human acquaintances, as Alvie simply does not trust the intentions of the people she knows and meets. But, when fate puts Stanley into her path, will Alvie be able to open her heart to more than just the animals?
Alvie cannot stand to be touched and Stanley's fragile body can withstand only the mildest of embraces. Both have been broken down emotionally by life and circumstance, so will they entertain the possibilities of a life together?
Although the book is rough in places, When My Heart Joins the Thousand has meaningful main characters and an important message. Loving someone and being loved in return is core to our existence and it was captivating to see the story of Alvie and Stanley evolve. The author forces the reader to look at individuals that may be overlooked in our society and to realize that their lives have the same value. This memorable book is one I would recommend to readers of YA romantic and realistic fiction, as its clear message and well developed characters will open eyes and hearts.
When Stanley, with his own issues, enters her life by invading the park Alvie considers her turf, she's tempted to flee, but her dilemma when she recovers his cell phone when he tosses it in a pond, causes her to do the unthinkable, reach out. This tiny deviation in her rigid routine is the beginning of a connection between the two young people that's awkward, rocky, fragile, but ultimately beautiful. In the process of learning to be comfortable and trust each other, all the buried awfulness is exposed to the light that accompanies true caring for someone and following it as it happens makes for one fine story.