This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks.
The Girl He Used To Know Book Review: An Insightful Journey Into LIVING with Autism Spectrum Disorder
If you’ve been reading the blog for any length of time, you know that I used to be a mental health therapist. During my decade of experience, I worked with clients with a multitude of issues, conditions, and symptoms (read more about that here).
I worked with several children who were diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) but I only ever worked with one adult (back then, it was called Asperger’s Disorder). My client struggled with social interaction, non-verbal cues, and he was frequently fixated on a certain theme or object. He made progress during our time together and he was eventually able to live independently.
Not all are this fortunate.
Since the level of functioning in ASD varies, not all persons will be able to live independently when they reach adulthood. Some will require a lifetime of support while others may only need minimal support.
In Tracey Garvis Graves latest book, The Girl He Used to Know, Annika (the main character) is a high-functioning woman with ASD. Throughout the story, the reader is given an inside look into her life and how she copes with being on the spectrum. Although this is a fictional story, I found Annika’s story to be relatable, inspirational, and insightful.
Tracey Garvis Graves is a New York Times bestselling author. Her debut novel, On the Island, spent 9 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, has been translated into thirty-one languages, and is in development with MGM and Temple Hill Productions for a feature film.
Annika (rhymes with Monica) Rose is an English major at the University of Illinois. Anxious in social situations where she finds most people’s behavior confusing, she’d rather be surrounded by the order and discipline of books or the quiet solitude of playing chess.
Jonathan Hoffman joined the chess club and lost his first game―and his heart―to the shy and awkward, yet brilliant and beautiful Annika. He admires her ability to be true to herself, quirks and all, and accepts the challenges involved in pursuing a relationship with her. Jonathan and Annika bring out the best in each other, finding the confidence and courage within themselves to plan a future together. What follows is a tumultuous yet tender love affair that withstands everything except the unforeseen tragedy that forces them apart, shattering their connection and leaving them to navigate their lives alone.
Now, a decade later, fate reunites Annika and Jonathan in Chicago. She’s living the life she wanted as a librarian. He’s a Wall Street whiz, recovering from a divorce and seeking a fresh start. The attraction and strong feelings they once shared are instantly rekindled, but until they confront the fears and anxieties that drove them apart, their second chance will end before it truly begins.
Whether you love someone on the Autism Spectrum or you just want to learn more (or you like chick lit), it will only take a few pages to find that you can’t put this book down. I finished it in 2-3 hours because I enjoyed the storyline, the insights into Annika’s experiences, and what it’s like loving someone with ASD (from Jonathan’s point of view).
One of my favorite quotes is from Annika’s mother:
You have wonderful gifts to offer people, Annika. You are honest and loyal. Not everyone will appreciate that, and there are people who will dislike you anyway. Life isn’t easy for anyone. We all have challenges. We all face adversity. It’s how we overcome it that makes us who we are.
Wow. Wow. Wow.
Those words spoke right to my heart. My heart that has suffered through heavy loss and grief recently.
But, “we all face adversity. It’s how we overcome it that makes us who we are.”
If you’re looking for a new book to add to your must-read list, please add The Girl He Used To Know. It hits shelves April 2, 2019, and you can pre-order it right here.
Prepare to be inspired, encouraged, and uplifted.