Title: Girls Like Us by Gail Giles
Review by Maria Burnham, Media Specialist at Sauk Rapids-Rice High School
This book reminds me of the recent movement of #weneeddiversebooks because the main characters represent a vastly underrepresented group in YA literature. Sometimes my issue with YA books is that so many of them read the same–girl meets boy (or some version of two teens meeting), something gets in the way of the romance, and the story has a happy or tragic ending. Sometimes I even find myself intentionally choosing to read an upper elementary novel or adult non-fiction to take a break from the sometimes prescriptive plotlines of YA. However, Girls Like Us by Gail Giles completely throws out the often repetitive nature of YA reading. This wonderful book shows the perspective of two special ed. students who end up living together after high school and frankly are a bit baffled as to how to successfully navigate the waters of the real world. Each girl is very different–different preferences, disabilities, and past experiences. How can they live together? How can they cope in the real world considering their disabilities? How can they overcome all of the curveballs life has in store for them?
This book is a story of friendship, courage, and hope. It’s one that our special education students (particularly those in our 18-21 program) have enjoyed as a read-aloud. And it’s certainly one I enjoyed as a reader.
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