Read On the Spectrum by Jennifer Gold Online


Growing up in the shadow of a famous mother, Clara has never felt good about her body. Now, at sixteen, she has an unhealthy obsession with healthy eating. After a social media disaster, she decides to escape for the summer to Paris to stay with her estranged dad and her six-year-old brother, Alastair, who is on the autism spectrum. Charged with his care, Clara and AlastaiGrowing up in the shadow of a famous mother, Clara has never felt good about her body. Now, at sixteen, she has an unhealthy obsession with healthy eating. After a social media disaster, she decides to escape for the summer to Paris to stay with her estranged dad and her six-year-old brother, Alastair, who is on the autism spectrum. Charged with his care, Clara and Alastair set out to explore the city. Paris teaches Clara about first love and gives her a new love of food. And Alastair teaches Clara about patience, trust and the beauty of loving without judgment....

Title : On the Spectrum
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781772600421
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 336 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

On the Spectrum Reviews

  • Cait (Paper Fury)
    2019-05-23 00:20

    Aww, this was a sweet little frolic through Paris! I was pretty keen to try this because (a) PARISSSS and I would like to go there thanks, and (b) Clara's little brother is on the Autism spectrum and I love to read/research as much as possible because it runs in my family. And I thought the book was, all round, super sweet with lovely family relationships...I just thought the romance was a bit merp and was all pretty predictable plot-wise.But let's have LISTS, shall we? Because lists make everyone happy.(Shhhhh they do. Look at you. I can see you being so happy right now because I mentioned lists. Don't even deny.)L I K E S• Such an accurate ASD representation!! Clara goes to visit her dad and half-brother, Alistar, in Paris for the summer and Alistar is absolutely PRECIOUS! He reminds me of my Autistic 6yo nephew so much it was uncanny. It just managed to capture how Alistar could be so intelligent and precocious and emotional (THANK YOU)...yet it caught just how it is to have sensory overload, the difficulties with understanding language intricacies, and the feeling of isolation. <3 Just so pleased to read a book so well done.• I LOVED seeing Paris! Generally touristy books can get a little dry, but this was greeeeat. I don't even need to go to Paris now. <<--- HAHAHA LIES LIES I DO TAKE ME I'M READY• Clara was quite a lovely and winning protagonist. She struggles with an eating disorder, but she's not anorexic so actually admitting she has a disorder was very hard for herself. I thought she was totally relatable and sweet! Even if she was pretty ignorantly ableist at the beginning...but she learned. And like that's so important to actually show that change in characters?!? I'm PLEASED.• It really did have delicious food descriptions. Although I's clouded by Clara's difficulty to enjoy food.• FAMILY!! I love books that centre on family! Clara meeting and getting close with her 6yo little brother was just so sweet to read! They travelled around together and she learn how to cater to his ASD needs and also to help him fit in, but not "change" him. The message of "you don't need to change" was very abundant here. <3D I S L I K E S• Okay so summer-fling romances never work for me. I mean, c'monnnnn. IT'S LIKE JUST A FEW MONTHS. And as much as I thought Michel was super cute at the beginning (HE IS A BAKER BOY!!) he kind of took it on himself to "help cure" and like that's not really his place?? He's met this girl and -- boom -- he's like "I am the baker boy and you need to be helped". YES she did need help. NO it wasn't his place to force her into food so much. It made me quite sour on the romance. Plus Michel wasn't really complex. And mostly all I look for in a literature boy is his love of baking,'s pretty odd that I didn't adore him.• I was REALLY annoyed with how they continued to say "Oh Alistair isn't Autistic, he's just on the spectrum".Like what the even, matey. You either Autistic or you're NOT. And I know this is like the whole title, but no someone needs to hush and sit down. It's really derogatory to say "oh you're not THAT Autistic, just a little bit" because the spectrum isn't a linear line. You aren't like on a low end of the scale and a high end for goodness sakes. You can be advanced in some things and behind on others. But the point is: don't diminish people who are Autistic but trying to cushion it with this "oh I'm not wholly Autistic" nonsense.• The plot was pretty predictable. I won't spoil anything! But I think if you haven't read too many teenage-girl-girl-goes-to-Paris-and-meets-a-boy sort of stories, you'll be fiiiine. (view spoiler)[But like the second they're mention Alistair's nut allergy, I knew he was going to have a reaction for the climax. Hmm. (hide spoiler)]ALL IN ALL: It was cute and feelsy with a slightly serious undertone to talk about disability and mental healthy.And I think the complexities were well caught! I was just not sold on the romance and I kind of guessed the entire plot and I'm a BIT annoyed at the whole diminishing of the label Autism. BUT HEY it was nice and it was Paris and it had such a super sweet sibling storyline I just afdksalfd.

  • Kaylin
    2019-04-30 02:20

    3.5 StarsOverview: “Did you just use ‘artisanal’ to refer to nachos?”^Now I want nachos. There was seriously so much delicious food in this book, and now I want to go to Paris. Clara has an unhealthy relationship with food, prompting her mother to relocate her to Paris and her father’s for the summer. During her stay, Clara grows closer with her younger brother, Alastair, who is on the autistic spectrum. I received an ARC of this in exchange for an honest review, thank you to Second Story Press for the opportunity! (All quotes are not final)Pros: “I’m on the autism spectrum, but I’m not autistic. You’re on the eating disorder spectrum. There’s some really strong ASD and eating disorder representation here. Clara is diagnosed with orthorexia—which I wasn’t personally familiar with. It is a term used to describe those who have an unhealthy relationship with dieting and food, without reaching the all-encompassing levels of anorexia. There was a lot of nuanced and interesting discussion about what it means to eat ‘healthy.’ When does counting calories and avoiding carbs turn to obsession? Similar themes were explored with Clara’s younger brother, Alastair. Though he is not neurotypical, he’s not what is traditionally considered ‘autistic.’ Even though he’s only six-years-old, he struggles with his identity in the world. He’s also cute as heck and I loved him. Clara has a really interesting relationship with her ballerina mother—who also suffers from an eating disorder. Her mother’s unhealthy relationship with food no doubt affected Clara growing up, and they are both still trying to process this. She also has to work on her relationship with her father and step-mother, both interesting character's in their own right. This really succeeded as a character study, and everyone's intersecting stories worked very well. (Also I just really enjoyed the history and food enriched atmosphere of Paris)Cons:I really hated the romance???Look, Michel is an interesting character in his own right, and I enjoyed his relationships with food, race and the city But I don’t understand why the romance was here at all. It felt detracting from the real story, and like it only existed to add some drama to the last act. It’s a little predictable. The plot’s cute… but nothing really surprised me. This reallllyyyyyyy takes its time getting started. Like 30% in the plot FINALLY kicked in. A couple of points of really on-the-nose descriptions in the narrative. Don’t tell me Clara’s mother has an ‘unhealthy dependent’ relationship with her manager, show me. In Conclusion:As a whole, this was a lot more thoughtful than I expected a summer-romp through Paris to be.

  • Maria (Big City Bookworm)
    2019-05-04 22:58

    *Disclaimer: An ARC of On The Spectrum by Jennifer Gold was provided to me by Second Story Press in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinion in any way.--Initial post reading thoughts:On The Spectrum is a beautiful coming of age story that I really enjoyed. It deals with many topics including eating disorders, autism and discovering yourself. I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about this story when I first picked up this novel, but I'm so glad I decided to give this one a chance!--What I LikedFamily. I loved that On The Spectrum had a large focus on family. One of the main reasons I decided to read this ARC was because of the mention of a young girl spending time with her father and half brother in another country. I knew going into it that there was going to be a romantic element to the story, but I loved that this element took a backseat. It was refreshing to see a young adult contemporary mostly focus on familial relationships over romantic ones.Autism spectrum. I can’t say for certain that I have ever read a novel that features a character who is on the autism spectrum before. I did recently watch Atypical which also featured a character who is on the spectrum and I feel like more of these stories need to exist. While I don’t personally know anyone who is on the spectrum, I feel like I learned a lot about it through this novel. I can’t speak to the accuracy of how this character is depicted in this novel, but I enjoyed reading about this character and his story.Eating Disorders. On The Spectrum features a character with an eating disorder that I’ve never heard of before. Orthorexia is an obsession with eating foods that one considers healthy or a medical condition in which the sufferer systematically avoids specific foods in the belief that they are harmful. It was nice to see a disorder that’s probably pretty common, but that I’ve never heard of, being talked about in a novel.Atmosphere. I’ve never been to Paris, but On The Spectrum made me really want to visit someday. It seems like such a wonderful place to be and this novel really did have the perfect atmosphere.Use of French language. Nothing bothers me more than a film or novel that takes place in a foreign country and everyone is speaking English. I get that some people may actually know how to speak the language…but still, I’d like a little authenticity now and again. While some of the French people that Clara meets in Paris can speak English, they also throw in a few French words here and there. Or in other cases, the author makes it clear that they are pronouncing English words with French accents. It just made this story feel slightly more real which was wonderful.--What I Didn’t LikeInsta-Love. Yeah, so this is my biggest pet peeve in contemporary novels. I’m more of a slow burn kind of person. I tried to jump on board with the romance in this one, but I really struggled with it unfortunately. It kind of just happened too fast.--Overall, I’m really glad I decided to pick up On The Spectrum by Jennifer Gold! It was a refreshing contemporary read that featured some pretty serious topics. I’ll definitely be looking out for more from this author in the future!--Click the banner above to read an exclusive Q&A with author Jennifer Gold!

  • Laurence R.
    2019-05-23 20:15

    I really liked this! My only issue with this book was the fact that it didn't seem polished enough, if you know what I mean. I did get an ARC of it, so maybe the official copies won't be like that, but I feel like an ARC shouldn't be like that either. The story is still fantastic and I loved the fact that it's about someone who has orthorexia and someone who is on the spectrum.

  • Inge
    2019-05-02 03:11

    This was such a cute and lovely story! I really loved the Paris setting and felt the cosiness seeping through the pages at times, like when they went to a farmers' market and had a nice picnic, or when they all visited a bakery and made pastries together. Really, the food aspect was by far the superior one in this story, and at times it was nigh impossible not to sing Beauty and the Beast's Be Our Guest in my head. Soup du jour, hot hors d'oeuvres, why, we only live to serve!I don't have any experience with eating disorders, so I can't say much about whether or not the representation of Clara's orthorexia was accurate. All I can say is that it seemed kind of... off. Now that I can freely browse through the reviews without spoilers, I can see that I'm not the only one. It's also a big part of why I didn't like her romance with Michel. As a baker's boy, he has a completely different relationship with food, so when he learns about her disorder, he is all "I will help you" and proceeds to just constantly force food on her, which got really tiresome and I'm fairly sure that's not the right way to go about that. But it was good to see how the story progressed - how Clara and her mother were both obsessed with healthy eating, enabling each other's behaviour, and how, slowly but surely, they see the error in their ways.The autism representation felt much more natural, like more research had gone into that. Alastair was a really great character, fully fleshed out and really likeable. And, I don't know, I found his way of thinking completely logical. I can appreciate that sort of straightforward thinking - no bullshit, no lies. And while the storyline was a little bit cheesy - the boy with autism helps the girl with an eating disorder and vice versa - this was done in a brother/sister relationship and I thought it was handled quite well.So while I did have some issues with the story, I'm giving it a higher rating because it gave me warm and fuzzy feelings. I loved Clara's budding relationship with her little brother Alastair, and I loved the rich descriptions of walks through Paris, accompanied by lots and lots of talk of food.Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy

  • Kayla (Kayla's Book Nook)
    2019-05-16 19:04

    I requested On the Spectrum with very high hopes. What drew me to request it was a) the fact that it took place in Paris, and b) the fact that one of its main characters had high-functioning autism, which some of my loved ones have. I was ultimately curious about its representation in this story, so I decided that I must dive in!Despite the fact that in my opinion, the high-functioning autism piece was a bit over-represented, I found next to no other negatives about this book. It was such a sweet, heartwarming novel all about the bonds we make with family and how it is always right to keep them. <3For a brief synopsis of the novel, it revolves around Clara, who is obsessed with eating healthily. She refuses to take a bite out of anything unhealthy, and she sticks with what she knows. This summer, she decides to go to Paris to stay with her dad and brother, Alastair. Alastair has an autism spectrum disorder, but in spite of that, the two set off together to explore the beautiful city of love. The main character, Clara, was such a sweetheart! I felt so sorry for her regarding her circumstances at home and her eating disorder, but I feel like the whole experience with her family in Paris changed her for the better, making her a much stronger, more confident girl. The positive outlook on life that she gained was very evident while reading- it felt REAL, and I was very happy about that.Despite the synopsis covering up any trace of romance in this book, there was still quite a bit of it between Clara and a swoon-worthy guy named Michel who, if I'm not mistaken, works at a bakery. Honestly, it was adorable, though uncalled for. This book could still have been amazing without the romance, but that's just my opinion.As for the high-functioning autism representation, I felt like it was a tiny bit overdone and exaggerated, if you get what I mean. I'm not saying it was bad, but it just wasn't perfect. I know that every person on the spectrum functions a bit differently, but Alastair was given almost all of the traits that fall under it. I just found it unrealistic, is all. Also, unfortunately, I can't really talk about the representation of the eating disorder that Clara had because I know nothing about it, but I'm guessing that it didn't seem too bad. For a contemporary, this book's plot moved fairly quickly, but with my e-copy being about 200 pages long, that was totally fine with me! I'd prefer a short and sweet read over a long, slow read any day.☺️One last thing I loved about On the Spectrum was its family ties. Clara's budding relationship with Alastair was simply beautiful to watch, and Alastair was just so adorable! I also adored how Clara was able to re-bond with her father!Overall, if you're looking for a contemporary with a little bit of sparkle from everything, On the Spectrum is the book for you. Its characters were great, the plot was fast-paced, the romance and the family ties were amazing, and it was diverse. What more could you ask for?*I received a digital ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

  • Amy's Book Reviews
    2019-05-22 00:59

    **I received a complimentary copy of ON THE SPECTRUM in exchange for my honest reviewI have little patience for poorly researched books. Exhibit A: the guidance counselor suspects Clara has orthorexia. After a conference with Clara's mother the counselor calls social services who immediately arrive. The caseworker asks Clara to eat a Hershey's Kiss and when she refuses the caseworker makes a diagnosis and opens a file. Hello reality? Caseworkers are inundated with cases of raped, burned, bloodied and other crises. They are overburdened with more clients than the can see. Medical neglect specifically psychological medical neglect is so far down on the radar, it would only be investigated if the child was medically compromised and reported by a doctor. Guidance counselors aren't qualified to diagnose and caseworkers are even less qualified. Additionally, guidance counselors have hundreds of kids on their caseload and would never have time to walk around campus, diagnosing kids who aren't exhibiting behavior problems in the classroom. If Jennifer Gold had done a google search, she could have figured this out.Jennifer Gold writes clever, engaging sentences. Her diverse characters felt mostly stereotypical of that diversity. I appreciated how Clara's mother embraced parenting classes, though in reality there's most always a learning curve and son's resistance. During grad school and as a child psychologist I conducted a lot of parenting education. I also interned in a foster care agency and I've worked with both caseworkers and guidance counselors.I'm not sure how many, if any books on orthorexia exist in YA lit. Gold could have written a much better book focusing on the underlying issues that caused the eating disorder, rather than focusing on the symptoms of eating and exercise. Alistair's character seemed somewhat better researched, though at times he felt less real than an amalgamation of symptoms and techniques to help with those difficulties. I appreciate the growth within the sibling relationship.Gold had all the components of what could have been a five star story. I wish the writer or editor had beta readers with mental health and the child welfare professional knowledge.

  • Mel (Epic Reading)
    2019-05-06 03:16

    There's one thing this book definitely is, highly readable. It was a very quick read for me and while not everything is perfect in it; some plot points are a bit contrived to set-up scenarios, I can't deny that I ate it up in two sittings without any thoughts of wanting to put it down. This is unusual for me with a contemporary teen book. Kudos to a Jennifer Gold and her writing style! I loved our 'on the spectrum but not autistic' little guy Alastair. He said things I've heard from a little guy I used to babysit, who is autistic in real life. The perfect example was his comment about not having 'cold feet' when he was afraid to ride the Ferris Wheel at the last minute. Autism kids don't understand much that isn't literal. By far Alastair was the star of the book for me. Our mail gal, Clara, has an eating disorder I'd not heard of before. And for this reason if nothing else this book deserves a spot on library shelves! Orthorexia, a disease where you're obsessed with counting calories, exercising and how 'healthy' food is. Very interesting. One criticism I have is is liked to better understand the difference between anorexia and orthorexia. There are many moments in this book that many readers may connect with. For me it's when when Alastair says: "I'm on the autism spectrum, but I'm not autistic. You're on the eating disorder spectrum."This really struck me personally in regards to my own mental health. If you're not willing to accept you have a disease, in my case anxiety, that's okay but at least start to accept that you are 'on the spectrum'. A clever way to perhaps speak to those who don't quite see their predicament in a hard hitting way or can't accept any part of what is being said about them. Lastly I'd like to give a copy of this book to all overprotective, my kid is special, parents. Our author, Jennifer Gold, really drives home the very real reality that you need to set your kids up for success. Don't baby them, don't buy them dumb looking shoes unless they absolutely medically need them. Superman backpacks and glow-in-the-dark running shoes are definitely going to make your child a less likely bullying target. If you want to help your kids with bullying situations a the first step can be to change the things that are easily changed. Ie: shoes, clothes, haircuts, etc. While we don't want to teach kids vanity and to try too hard to fit in; there is a balance here that is crucial for parents to find between 'my kid is picked on because he's uncool' and 'my kid is picked on because his clothes are uncool'. I have often wondered if I'd have a bit of an easier time in elementary school if I'd have had more than hand-me-downs for clothes. Overall I think this book is well written as it's engaging, cute, funny at times and clever. But it's not five stars because of two major reasons: 1) Guidance Counsellors rarely call social services over eating disorders. Generally this action is reserved for physical abuse;2) Real life can often seem to rain down awful events; but three major happenings in a 12 hour period seemed like a bit much. However I cannot deny that it made for a quick read that was concise and to the point. For me this trumps the plot probability issue. I definitely look forward to more from Gold in the future. To read this and more of my reviews visit my blog at Epic Reading Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.

  • Casey
    2019-05-16 23:12

    I like Alastair. That’s it, can this book just have Alastair and Michael making pastries together? I would love that so so much more than what we actually got. The main character is Alastairs sister and this love interest just doesn’t do it for me. This book is all “I had such a bad view on autism until I actually met my brother.” Which might be great for teens that are uneducated and need an MC that makes silly comments about autism to learn that they’re wrong but it just didn’t do anything for me.2/5 stars Thank you net galley for a free copy in exchange for a honest review

  • Karen Barber
    2019-05-08 00:59

    A rather whimsical story about Clara and her unhealthy relationship with food/her mother. She is sent off to Paris to stay for the summer with her father and his new family and, while there, manages to sort a few things out.The story itself is quite simple. There were some elements underdeveloped, and others that felt obvious, but it had a certain charm to it.Clara is not a character who is immediately likeable, and I liked the fact that her issues were not all neatly sorted by the end of the book. The romance was quite tame by some standards of ya fiction, but Clara was certainly a character who grew on me. Where this book really shone was in the depiction of Alistair, her six year old half-brother. Alistair, initially, seemed to perpetuate a lot of stereotypes about children on the autistic spectrum, but he was such a heart-warming character and his developing relationship with Clara was lovely to watch.Thank you to NetGalley for the advance copy in exchange for my honest thoughts.

  • Kristy Mauna
    2019-05-24 21:53

    If I'm being honest.. I'm not sure if I'm the right person to properly review this book. It was quite ambitious by tackling so many issues such as (but not limited to these two), an eating disorder and people on the spectrum. I almost felt confused at times while reading?.. I wasn't sure if things were offensive or not? The one thing that I did enjoy in the story was the sibling relationship and how well that was developed. That was my favorite aspect of the book. I'd recommend doing more research than my review if you're interested in picking this one up! <3

  • Cassandra
    2019-05-22 01:05

    *An ARC was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*"Did you just use ‘artisanal’ to refer to nachos?"Actual rating 3.5This was a beauty. Not only did it take place in Paris, but it handled heavy topics like autism and eating disorders. Add in some family drama, and this book is set to become a YA classic.There were so many strong points of this story. I love how it explored Clara’s relationship with her ballerina mother and whether her mother’s own unhealthy eating choices are what led to Clara’s struggle with orthorexia or if Clara would have developed the problems on her own. It was a refreshing perspective.I loved the relationship between Alistair, Clara’s autistic younger brother, and Clara. While everyone enjoys a good romance, I’ve always loved getting to read about platonic relationships in YA. There seems to never be enough of them. I was glad that at the end of the day that this book put more of a focus on Clara and Alistair’s relationship than on Clara and Michel’s (Clara’s adorable French love interest.)Now don’t get me wrong; I adored getting that cutesy romance in there. Michel was precious, and getting a look at the very real racism problem in Europe was enlightening. Racism isn’t a problem that affects a single country, but a global issue. It was nice to have a European love interest who wasn’t blond and blue-eyed.All in all, this was a solid read with a few segments that felt under-edited, but overall promising. This was a heartwarming novel, perfect for fans of contemporary YA with deep topics and a little international flare.

  • Ilyda
    2019-05-11 23:56

    4 stars. This book was such an unexpectedly lovely discovery.To be honest, I expected little more than a cute romance with an autism subplot. I'm so glad I was wrong.On the Spectrum is the story of a girl who goes to Paris to live with her estranged father and half-brother after being diagnosed with orthorexia. There is a romantic element to it, and while it was cute enough, this book is so much more than just a love story. This book is, at its core, a story about a girl and her brother. I loved watching Clara change just from being around Alastair and his clear-headed, straightforward perceptions of the world. I also really appreciated the evident care which was taken with how Alastair was depicted - not as some kid with occasional tics, but as a real human being who just perceives the world a little bit differently. I'll admit that out of all the relationships in this book, the romance was by far the least compelling. I liked Michel well enough as a character, but his personality was largely built on his being French (which, sue me. I'm personally not a huge fan of). And not to mention, their romance kind of came out of nowhere - at one point they're on a date and being all sweet and tender, and I was like, whoa. Did I miss like, fifty pages of relationship development or something? On the other hand, the other relationships in this book were far more satisfying. I loved Clara and Alastair, and I loved how wonderfully realistic Clara's relationship with her mother was too. Shitty-YA-parent is a far overused trope, and I really appreciated the way Jennifer Gold portrayed their relationship: flawed, but fixable. On the whole, On the Spectrum was a real gem - heartwarming and lovely in a quiet, understated way. I'm so glad I read this.

  • Michelle
    2019-05-10 22:05

    The story starts with a memory of Clara at Halloween, when her mum (a famous ballerina) tells her she can only choose one sweet because otherwise she'll get fat, and then in the present day she is diagnosed with orthoxia. Estranged from her father who lives in Paris with a new family, her parents (and therapist) agree it would be a good idea if she spent her summer in Paris, and after a social media disaster - she agrees! She is very hesitant to spend so much time with her step-brother who is on the autistic spectrum, but after a summer of exploring Paris with Alistair, who can blame her for falling in love with the city, her brother, and perhaps a French garçon 😉Clara is 16 has been conditioned into thinking that if she doesn't eat her healthy lunches of quinoa and kale, and stick to her exercise regime, she will fall into the pits of obesity. Unbeknownst to her, this is a type of eating disorder, called orthoxia. I don't usually like reading books about eating disorders and have to admit, I was a bit disappointed that this one slipped through the cracks; I assumed that "on the spectrum" referred solely to autism, when it refers to Clara's eating disorder as well. Although I haven't suffered with an eating disorder myself, so my opinion isn't really valuable, there was no romanticism of eating disorders in this book, there is no detail of her sewing weights into her dressing gown before being weighed or comparing herself to other women (apart from her mother, perhaps). Clara decides that she wants to be helped relatively early on, not in the beginning of the book by any stretch, but many books finish at a point where the mc decides they want help and this book went a little past that point, which was nice. Also! Clara has "Jewish roots" - wether she identifies as Jewish or not, I'm not sure. There's not much in terms of rep but they do visit a Jewish museum, which doesn't count at all I just thought I'd throw it in there.I'm not exactly sure if I loved the book, or if it was Alastair I loved. 6 year old and on the autistic spectrum, he absolutely stole my heart. Although she was used to living on the opposite side of the world and had only met him once before, Clara grew into the big sister everyone deserves, most of all sweet, sweet Alastair. Intelligent and observant and with a love for baking, he just brightens up my day just at the thought of him! Once again, I'm not autistic or identify as being "on the spectrum," so I can't comment on the quality of the rep. He relies on his sense of smell to judge how he likes things, and has coping mechanisms such as weighted blankets and vests and ear phones to help him cope. He also, just can't fathom why Clara won't eat the croissant or drink the hot chocolate - his favourite. Also, he doesn't have many friends at school and is in fact bullied - but Clara helps him feel "cooler." Michel! Being a Michelle myself, it was quite funny when Clara got the shock of her life expecting to meet a female baker named Michelle and instead meets an attractive male baker named Michel and he GOT TO ME - Michel's father is from Algeria, and I'm not sure about his mother, but he calls himself a black man, although his skin is lighter than his father and he is referred to as mixed-race. Curly haired, French accented, and in a white apron... what more could you want, really? He treats Clara like a prince out of a fairy tale, (thankfully, for my poor heart) is very foregoing with his feelings for her and takes her on a date to a fancy restaurant (always a plus). However, Michel is 20 and I genuinely can't decide - is this too big of an age difference? 4 years doesn't sound like a lot but something inside of my SCREAMS at a fully grown man with a 16 year old... 16 is so so young.Voila - that sums it up really! Perhaps it's because I have my own love affair with the city of Paris, but having Clara and Alastair explore (sometimes with Michel in tow,) bake French goods with Michel, and it be relatable? Fantastique.// Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this in exchange for an honest review //

  • Ellie Wenck
    2019-05-22 01:07

    On the Spectrum is a great book for a number of reasons. It concentrates on the difficulties of a parent/child relationship and acknowledges that both the parents and child can make mistakes, and the way in which blame, resentment and regret can literally eat away at a relationship. Clara, the main character, is a teenager who, in many ways, is unsure of herself. She compares herself to others and holds high (impossible) standards of herself and what she wants to achieve. All of the 'normal' things are important to her; school grades, friendship, social media, boys. The thing that she focuses on the most is her appearance. An incident at school with an over-eager (yet somewhat clueless) school counsellor and a, what Clara perceives to be a (rather) judgy social worker sees her with something else to focus on; she has an eating disorder. At least that's what they say. Everyone who counts is saying it. Everyone except her mother, who is in as much denial about her own problems as Clara is.When the adults suggest she take some time out, Clara is annoyed. She doesn't want to leave because she doesn't have a problem. It's not like they're sending her to 'fat camp' though. Clara has the opportunity to go to Paris; however it's her father she's staying with. Her father who left them when Clara was young. Clara will be staying with her father, his new wife Mag and their son, Alastair. Alastair is on the spectrum, and Clara only has a vague idea about what that means.Clara does make a decision to go to Paris and things start to change, ever so slowly. The book moves at a steady pace, however it's as if the book is in two parts; New York and Paris. It's as if Clara is now two people New York Clara and Paris Clara. Clara changes and grows throughout the book and discovers a lot about love and acceptance along the way. I really enjoyed On the Spectrum for a number of reasons. The character development is well-written and the characters themselves are loveable. They are not perfect, they have their flaws, but they try. They try because they love one another (their family) and realise the importance of fighting for the things that matter in their life. The growing bond between Alastair and Clara is definitely one of my favourite parts of this book. Hugely touching... I may or may not have had a little bit of a cry. I received a free e-copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  • USOM
    2019-05-25 01:04

    This book is like trying a new food you've never seen before and finding out that it is absolutely delicious (sorry I couldn't resist relating this to food). On the Spectrum is both a family story and one about our main character, Clara. Clara's orthorexia has come to the attention of her family and school. After a Twitter incident, she decides to spend the summer with her father, whom she hasn't seen for years, and her half brother, who is on the Autism spectrum, and step mother. Clara's personality is really sweet. She is caring and kind, but still with flaws, like every teenager (who didn't have flaws as a teenager?) But her relationship with her half-brother Alastair, is precious. Not to mention that Alastair, probably my favorite character, is a bundle of wonderfulness. He is sweet, fragile, and honest. I could not help but smile when I was reading his comments. One of the most interesting parts of this book was the discussion of how Clara got her orthorexia and her struggle with it. In many ways, her journey mimics, not in a 1-1 way, her half-brother's. They are both asked if it is more important to fit in or embrace our differences and stand out? Gold doesn't allow us to pick a white or black side, instead favoring an approach in between, especially for Alastair. Also the family grew on me, even Clara's mother. The family here is far from perfect, and it's clear that in our own way, we all pass on some of our problems. But it's also a story about working together and acknowledging our differences and fears. Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Netgalley.

  • Annie
    2019-04-30 00:12

    Rating: 5+ starsAuthor: Jennifer Gold Expected release: sep 2017On the spectrum follows Clara, who after one of the teachers catches her weighing her food, gets sent to the school counselor's office for an intervention. Ever since she was little Clara’s world class ballerina mother has put immense amounts of stress on eating “healthy” even going as far as to confiscate her Halloween candy. After the incident with the school counselor which leads her mother to realize what a terrible parent she has been (duh!), and a “twitter war” (seriously!), it is decided Clara will go live with her estranged father, stepmother Mag, and step brother Alistair, in Paris. Clara is not exactly excited for this summer of sibling bonding with Alistair, who’s on the autism spectrum, except for that it is an escape from her crazy life in New York. But it turns out to be a lot better than she had imagined especially with the very hot baker Michel who lives downstairs. Together with Michel and Alistair, she begins to come to terms with that she really does have a problem that goes beyond just “eating healthy”. Just as Alistair helps her with “being on the spectrum”, as he likes to call it, she helps him and is able to create a better understanding between him and his family.Read the rest on my Blog at: https://teenagebookwormweb.wordpress....Note: if you do not speak french (like me) I advise reading this on kindle to take advantage of the translator function

  • Sara G
    2019-05-23 02:22

    I received a free e-copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.This was a very sweet YA contemporary novel about a girl with a borderline eating disorder and her family. Clara is the daughter of a famous ballerina, whose obsession with exercise and "health" has rubbed off on her daughter. When a school counselor takes a concerned interest after Clara is found weighing her food portions in the science lab, her mother realizes that maybe this wasn't the most healthy example. After some Twitter drama pushes her over the edge, she agrees to go stay with her estranged father in Paris for the summer and get to know her six year old brother Alastair who is the "on the spectrum" in the title, the autism spectrum. Can you imagine, having food issues in Paris? It's certainly a struggle for me.I loved the sweet realism of this book. Clara's mom isn't awful, just misguided, and she definitely grows as a character throughout the course of the novel. Clara's relationship with her little brother is fantastic, too, and getting to know her dad and stepmother better seemed very realistic. I enjoyed this one a lot and I'm glad I took the time to read it.

  • Radha
    2019-05-06 21:55


  • Amber
    2019-05-06 01:10

    DISCLAIMER** I RECEIVED THIS BOOK FROM NETGALLEY IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEWOh my goodness… This book was utterly fantastic. I’m very thankful that I was approved this book on Netgalley. At first I was a little skeptical to read this because I’ve never been good with ARC’s but this book blew me away. In the beginning of the story, the reader gets to know both Clara and her mother. Through this, the reader can really begin to understand where Clara’s eating disorder comes from. She doesn’t have the typical anorexia or bulimia. She has orthorexia, a term used to describe someone that has an obsession with healthy eating as well as exercise. Obsession with healthy eating meaning Clara know’s what ingredients comes in what foods, and what that ingredient does to the body, etc... Read the rest of my review on my blog here!

  • Christina
    2019-05-19 01:19

    *Trigger warning: contains eating disorders and lots of discussion about food*This book was such a beautiful little gem and I urge you to read it. Clara grew up with a famous Ballerina mother who was unsurprisingly, super healthy and had a variety of different eating disorders and food-related anxieties which she had passed down to her daughter. When Clara's father asks her to come and live with him in Paris for the Summer to look after her half-brother Alastair, she is less than thrilled. Having only met him once and had heard him been described as being "on the spectrum," Clara wasn't sure how to deal with this little six-year-old boy. During her time in Paris, she gets to know her brother, begins to overcome some of her own issues, deals with some of the psychological repercussions of her disorder and creates strong friendships with the characters. Now, whilst part of that summary sounds a bit clinical and perhaps a bit boring, it is far from it. In the first half of the book, the eating disorders and the lives of the mother-daughter duo are emphasised greatly, so we can come to understand the complexity and the severity of the food issues. The second half of the book is an honest look at how somebody who has no experience with Autism, then comes to terms with the way that her little brother may be classified as "different" to other children. Throughout the book, both Clara and Alastair help each other and the relationship is such a beautiful thing to watch blossom and will hopefully educate some readers on the Autism spectrum a little bit. I would highly recommend reading this gorgeous book, it truly is a heart-warming read.I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  • Jo
    2019-04-30 01:04

    *Thanks to Netgalley for providing me a copy in exchange for an honest review*I really enjoyed this book. I’m a big sister and I loved reading about Clara becoming a big sister to Alastair, a six-year-old on the autism spectrum. I loved how she treated him and helped him get comfortable. She was always attentive to his needs and put his needs before hers. I also liked reading about a character with orthorexia; an eating disorder of obsessive behaviors to be healthy, like excessive exercise and anxiety about eating. There was even a side romance with Michel, a biracial, black, French pastry chef!*TW: bullying, orthorexia, detailed (often disgusted) descriptions of food*Diversity: +11Race/Ethnicity: +2 (Michel)Culture: +1 (Paris!)Gender: +1 (author) +2 (Clara)Neurodiversity/Disability: +5 (orthorexia, anxiety, autism spectrum)What I liked:-Difference is celebrated. But difference is also placed in the context we live in. Clara is still learning about her place within society. She is complicit in bullying in the beginning and although she feels bad about it, she doesn’t do anything to stop it. Later on, in a similar instance, she stands up for the victim. Granted, the first case were girls she barely knew and she wanted to avoid being bullied herself and the second case was defending her kid brother. Hopefully, she will be able to go back home and stand up to bullies there, but it’s unclear. At the end of the day, differences are acknowledged and accepted, but the reality of fitting in as a kid is also addressed. -Alastair and the autism spectrum. I’ve known and worked with people on the autism spectrum and they are real people with their own personalities and ideas. It blows my mind that people don’t believe that and many characters end up an amalgamation of stereotypes and symptoms. Alastair is a dynamic and developed character. He is consistent, but open to change. I know some people criticize how easily he addressed his fears and was willing to try new things, but this is real and I’ve seen it happen. Given a chance, and if they feel comfortable, people are willing to try new things. I loved how Clara was openly perceptive of his needs. She gave him choices and took them seriously. She treated him like a person, even though it would have been easy for a teenage sister to dismiss her kid brother. -Clara and the eating disorder spectrum. [Alastair refers to it as a spectrum and it stuck.] I grew up in modern America. I understand the preoccupation with eating healthy, exercising, and being thin. I’ve read fiction about people with anorexia and bulimia, which may exhibit similar symptoms, but not orthorexia. Yet, I understood the kind of love/hate relationship she has with food. I’ve felt the same way many times, it’s hard not to. We don’t talk about how hard young girls can be on their bodies. Time and time again, Clara is told that she is thin and beautiful and even if she weren’t that it wouldn’t matter, but she doesn’t believe it. I would argue that she even has body dysmorphia although it isn’t discussed. I love that she does try to work through it, but realizes how difficult it is without help. It is so important for people to know that it is a disorder and does require professional help. It’s not as simple as choosing to eat more and I loved that we had moments of characters realizing that. -Michel as a biracial, black second-generation immigrant from Algeria. Why do we not talk about this more?! He talks about how difficult it was to grow up black in France and how racist Europeans can be (even though Americans somehow believe they aren’t?). He points out the dirty looks he gets as a young black man dating a young white woman. He is open about being biracial and how difficult it was to have a white mother and a black father. He understands being bullied and seen as different. I wanted to get more of him. His character was fascinating, but I also kind of wish we got more about him. Sometimes the writing delved into fetishization which was weird. But it’s hard to distinguish it from typical seventeen-year-old infatuation with a cute boy.-Step-families. I love how Clara developed a relationship with her father and step-mother. Mag felt like such an antagonist and I’m really glad that they were able to have a heartfelt moment to build a strong foundation. One of the main criticisms (according to other reviews) is that it felt unrealistic. Clara’s eating disorder would not have been handled the way it was with a guidance counselor and a social worker. Her mother would not have given in as easily as she did. Clara would not have been able to handle Alastair as easily as she did. Mag and Clara’s relationship would not have developed. Jaques felt like a placeholder taking whatever role was needed. But honestly, it’s a work of fiction and Jennifer Gold was able to suspend my disbelief in order to tell me a beautiful story. She wrote brilliant, dynamic characters dealing with their own problems and learning to love each other. She wrote about families and how differently they can work. She wrote about acceptance and standing up for yourself. She wrote about social pressures and internal pressures. She made characters deal with their problems and called them out if they made a mistake. She wrote about learning to forgive and take responsibility for your actions. So perhaps it might not happen that way in real life, but as a work of fiction this is a beautiful story and I whole-heartedly recommend it.

  • Jay Alonzo
    2019-04-28 00:06

    I knew there was a reason why I randomly requested this book. 🙂On The Spectrum might look simple on the outside, but it’s certainly SMASHING on the inside. I never really expected it to WOW me but IT DID and I am forever grateful that I’ve stumbled upon this precious gem of a book.Basically, the story is about an orthorexic teenager named Clara who escapes to Paris for one summer after being involved in a huge Twitter disaster. She stays with her estranged dad, his anti-American wife Mag and their 6-year-old autistic son named Alastair, whom her father had tasked her to look after. During her time there, Clara gets to know her brother more and also tries to overcome her food issues with the help of a hot French baker named Michel.There are so many things I could say about this book but I think that one review would never be enough.WHAT I LIKED:On The Spectrum is my favorite novel set in Paris. If you knew me, you’d know I’m not much of a Paris fan. Too mainstream and overused for romantic settings. However, this book showed up and made me truly fall in love with the city with the characters’ excursions.I think the author gave quite an accurate representation of orthorexia and autism. The honesty of her writing style gives me a simple but clear view of people who have these illnesses. It helped me understand their mindset and behavior and the difficulties that come along with their circumstances. I never even heard of orthorexia or the term ‘on the spectrum’ before, but thanks to this novel I was able to learn some things new. When I think about it too, orthorexia seems rather ironic since a person who has this (like Clara and her mother) are so fixated on healthy eating that they limit so much of their food choices to the point where it’s unnatural. But for people who are so dedicated to a healthy lifestyle, their overly restrictive eating is also what makes their health suffer. From a food-lover’s standpoint, it’s hard to imagine what Clara is going through but as a reader, you can’t really bring yourself to judge her for her eating habits either.It’s also no surprise that my favorite character here was Alastair. I love his quirks, the way he perceives the world and his relationship with Clara. It affected me so much the first time he said I love you to Clara, I had tears running down my face. Seeing how they started off as complete strangers and became quickly attached to each other was incredibly touching. They also helped each other grow, and for that they get most-favorite-siblings-of-the-year award.Lots of discussions about FOOD. Despite Clara’s intense dislike for food, it didn’t prevent me from enjoying the various food descriptions throughout the book. It made me really hungry. And since I had nothing French-related food in my fridge, I opted to eat honeydew watermelon slices instead.It’s also funny the way the author paired Clara the food-hater with Michel, the baker. (I’m just saying.) Their differences lay mainly in their perception of food, but I like the fact that Michel tried to help Clara with her eating problem. Michel also has Algerian roots though he was raised in Paris and there were touches of racism in his stories to Clara. I also like how he was already friends with Alastair from the beginning so that earns him some points.This book relays the importance of family. It just makes me happy to read about estranged/difficult families fixing their relationships with other family members or rebuilding their lives after having experienced a tough phase. I already mentioned that I love Clara and Alastair’s relationship, but it was also wonderful to see Clara’s interactions with her mom, dad and even Mag.Even though this book deals with serious issues like eating disorders, autism, family feuds and hints of racism – IT DID NOT FEEL HEAVY OR DEPRESSING AT ALL. In fact, it was very humorous and the book did not try to ply me with pitiful internal monologues and the like.WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE:Too short! It really surprised me when I found out I’ve reached the last page. I wasn’t prepared. Even though the story was wrapped up nicely, I still couldn’t get enough of the characters, the writing, and what’ll happen next. This is one of those instances where I wish that the book had a sequel.The French terms. I literally don’t speak any French and would’ve appreciated it if there was a glossary or something at the end of the book. I did understand some when the characters explained it or else, I just used context clues.All in all, I can safely recommend this book to everyone. On The Spectrum was truly a heartfelt read that will make you laugh and cry, and readjust your perspective. Trust me when I say this book is worth it.

  • Cristina (My Tiny Obsessions)
    2019-05-25 00:06

    Read full review HEREI have to say that I had a complicated relationship with this book. My feelings while reading it went between me wanting to throw my phone into the wall, and crying like a baby.This was my first book by Jennifer Gold, and while I liked her writing, I didn’t love it. I’m still not sure about the verbal tense that this book was written on, and while some descriptions were amazingly beautiful, the sentiments behind them were not, and that didn’t allow me to look at it with any positive feelings.I know that was the goal, but still…One of the main issues I had was with the main character, Clara. Full disclosure here, I never had an eating disorder, I never had any contact with one, so I have no clue if the representation of orthorexia is well done in this book. I thought Clara’s relationship with food was represented as complex, and even though it disturbed me, I understood how she wouldn’t be able to deal that well with some food. With that said, the several mentions to the “thigh gap” made me rage. And it was painful for me to actually read Clara’s reactions to food, and it kept me from enjoying some parts of the book.My favorite part of this book was Alastair and his relationship with Clara. Again, I wouldn’t be able to tell you if the representation of Alastair is correct, but I’ve read a few reviews that say it is, and it somehow felt true to me. I loved the little boy, I loved his honesty and innocence. To me it seemed like Alastair has asperger syndrome, but that is never mention, and it’s only said that he’s on the autism spectrum, so I’m not sure. I loved how his relationship with Clara developed, and I wish the book had focused a lot more time on that part, because these 2 together were amazing.That’s another issue I had here, the pacing was off. The first third of the book is spent in NY, with Clara, her mom, her issues, and OMG, I hated that. I understand the importance of outlining how unhealthy her relationship with her mom is at that point, but there was so much unnecessary drama. And the event that propels her to go to Paris? That was ridiculous!Something else I wasn’t on board with? The romance… So, while in Paris, Clara gets to know Michel, and they develop a relationship, and he tries to “help” her with her issue. Michel is a baker, so he has a strong relationship with food, and I thought his idea of “helping” Clara was all wrong, but that’s just my take. What I definitly could not get was the age difference… Clara is supposed to be 16. Michel is 20! Just explain to me how that is okay? Four years difference is not that much in general, but it is at that age, the difference is maturity is enormous. I didn’t like it at all.Also, what’s up with the stereotypical ideas of Europe? Guys, I’ve been living in Europe all my live, I’ve been to Paris a few times, and I always had showers. Yeah, we also have bathtubs, but with showerheards.Moving on. Some things just felt unnecessary in this book. I felt like the romance had no place, I would have rather see Clara finding a true friend, opening up to someone else, developing a healthier relationship with food, than see her being propelled into it by a guy who even though he likes her, judges her all the same.I hated the way that Clara treated both her parents. First she hardly knows her dad, and it’s mostly because she never gave him the time of day. And then she freezes her mother out. Again, I know the girl has issues, but I think some things should have been addressed.Overall, it’s an important book because it deals with 2 very important themes: neurodiversity and eating disorders. I just felt like one half of that equation wasn’t dealt with in the best way possible. But again, I’m not the best person to judge representations here. I’m chubby, but I always had a very healthy relationship with food, so…HAVE YOU GUYS READ THIS BOOK? WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON IT?

  • Abena ~gurlwiththebook~
    2019-05-14 01:18

    *I received an arc from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*Wow, this a rare gem that did not disappoint.The story focuses on Clara, the sixteen year old daughter of a famous prima donna ballerina. Clara suffers from, as we soon learn, orthorexia. She refuses to eat anything she deems 'unhealthy' and her life revolves around her carefully portioned meals and the gym. After an embarrassing incident (view spoiler)[ which I thought was really stupid of Clara, I saw from the beginning that guy was using her (hide spoiler)] she travels to Paris for the summer to stay with her estranged father, his wife and her little brother, Alastair. Alastair is, as stated a few times in the book, not autistic but "on the spectrum" and is quickly shown to be not your typical six year old, immediately drawing information from online articles he's read. Clara is shown to be uncomfortable with the idea of Alastair in the beginning on the book, declaring him only her 'half-brother' and being unsure how to behave around him. However, I loved how their sibling bond developed throughout the book. My favorite part of their relationship?Clara doesn't try and change Alastair. While trying to make him less susceptible to bullying by his school mates, she tells him he is perfect and 'cool' just the way he is and there is nothing wrong with being different. The character development in this relationship was astounding. Also, just as much as Clara helps Alastair, he helps her with being on 'the eating disorder spectrum'I did love how it was obvious that Clara and her mother's relationship was flawed but not irrevocably damaged. Her mother saw that both she and Clara had a eating disorder issue and worked toward fixing it. The other relationships were just as real although a bit distant with her father and being in the midst of a American vs Europe war with her stepmother for a while, they eventually mend the bridges. Truly, some of the best books are the one where you can truly picture the people in the real world and I have no problem picturing Alastair and Clara exploring Paris. There was a small romance *wiggles eyebrows* that brought some diversity into the story (Michel, a black Algerian) but I honestly didn't feel it was necessary to story. I honestly don't read contemporaries that much anymore but this is definitely one of my favorites. 4/5 stars

  • Margaret Alyse Smith
    2019-05-19 22:12

    ON THE SPECTRUM had the noblest of intentions, and I admire that. But to me, these intentions fell rather short.It could have just as accurately been called ON THE SPECTRUMS, as there were quite a few "spectrums" dealt with between these covers. The autism spectrum, the eating-disorder spectrum. Even the racism spectrum, to a certain extent. That was my issue, I think, with this book. It was simply too short to give all of these subjects the respect they deserved, though - as I said before - it was a lofty and admirable goal. I cannot speak on the accuracy of Gold's handling of these different spectrums, as none of these topics regularly touch my life. From a reader's perspective, all I can say is that I thought she did a good job with the spectrums - only that, in 320 pages, too little time was devoted to each.*shakes head*It should have been longer.Also, the romance? A good amount of it unfolded offscreen, and Clara told the reader what Michel had texted her or where they'd gone on a date. That didn't work for me, at all. How am I supposed to feel for the ~love~ if I can't see the ~love~ developing? Of course, it could have been an issue of space, in which case I direct you to the above.There was plenty to love, too! The descriptions of Paris were wonderful. Literally, amazing. I want to go to Paris so! bad! and this book has only made those feelings flame up inside me once more. I really loved Alistair's character, and I liked Clara's character development. Despite the above, I really enjoyed the concept of disorders and neurodiversity on a spectrum, and I wish these had been explored further. Also, Michel was cute. <3Side note: I'd just like to say that ON THE SPECTRUM was published in Canada. Not originally in Canada, then re-published in the USA; nope, it still had the Canadian copyright. It was still marked as being catalogued in the Canadian cataloguing system.How in the world did this end up in my little library in North Carolina?Is this a common occurrence, and have I just missed it? I'm pretty sure I can count with not-very-many hands the amount of books I've picked up there by independent publishers (not the Big Six), much less from a different country.So cool, y'all. So cool.Anyway, ON THE SPECTRUM was a cute book that, in my opinion, bit off a bit more than it could chew (heh).

  • Eustacia Tan
    2019-05-13 21:18

    This is a book that I couldn't resist requesting because it covers a topic that is really near and dear to me. On the Spectrum is the story of Clara and her half-brother Alastair. Clara, the daughter of a famous ballerina mother, tries to 'eat clean' but maybe suffering from orthorexia which is an eating disorder (don't think she was ever formally diagnosed though). After a Twitter incident, she decides to finally accept her dad's offer and go to Paris for the school holidays to escape everything and meet her brother Alastair, who has autism but is high functioning (they keep saying 'on the spectrum' but it's really just high functioning autism).The entire reason why I requested this book was because of Alastair. My brother has autism and like Alastair, he's considered high functioning. And that gives him a whole other set of problems. For example, my brother finds it very hard to make friends and gets bullied in school. So when I saw Alastair going through the same things (and through the lens of an older sister character no less!) my heart really broke for him. I love this book because it shows how hard kids like my brother and Alastair have it, and if it convinces even one person to be kinder than the world has been made slightly better.I guess I should also talk about Clara and her relationship with food, but apart from the fact that I could sort of understand what she feels (but have no self control to give up snacks), I don't have much to say. All my feelings for this book were taken up by Alastair and the way that he and Clara were bonding.Oh yeah and there's a romance in here but I don't have much to say about that either. I didn't particularly need it, but I wasn't annoyed by it and anyway I think we've all established that I read the book for only one reason.I would highly recommend this book because of Alastair. That kid is adorable and reminds me of my brother and pretty much carried the book for me. Clara's own struggles were pretty well-developed too and I imagine would resonate with a lot of people.Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.This review was first posted at Inside the mind of a Bibliophile

  • Lynsey Hunter
    2019-04-24 19:58

    This was an ARC that I was able to read courtesy of Netgalley.Like all of us, sixteen year old Clara wants to fit in and be accepted. She wants to be part of the social 'in crowd', she wants to look Instagram-suited with a good figure and a thigh gap, and she wants her famous ballet dancing mother to be proud of her. Pressures from herself, her mother and society have led to Clara having issues with food, not anorexia or bulimia, but the lesser known orthorexia, where sufferers are obsessive about clean living, clean eating and being super healthy. What could be wrong with that? After a run in with her school counsellor and an embarrassing social media scandal, Clara seeks refuge with her estranged father in Paris, and during a summer spent chaperoning her autistic brother, Alistair, is forced to face the issues she possesses.This is a YA book which covers so many important issues. Central to it are the over-riding themes of orthorexia and the autism spectrum, and the challenges and joys that can face families involved with both. Both these issues are explored in a very rare, real, non-judgemental and non-preachy way, which I was so relieved to find. The author finds a balance between giving us an insight into the heads of both Clara and Alastair, but provides commentary and input from other characters so that although there may be some questioning as to why behaviours are as they are, this seems to be to allow the reader to find out more, and to provide opportunity for greater input and discussion about the actual people and conditions involved. In addition to this, there are also strands of many other topics, such as difference, acceptance, the difficult balance between a need to fit in and conform and a need to retain one's own character, racial prejudice, the effect of parental 'conditioning' of children as they grow up and the complexities of family breakdowns. For a relatively short novel, it certainly packs a punch in terms of the number of valuable issues it discusses!I really enjoyed it, and read it very quickly because I was so engaged with the journey of the characters. I also thought the issue of parents and step-parents and the impact that all those adults have on the children without even realising was a particularly interesting dimension, and added real depth to the story, showing how situations can be caused, shaped and ultimately harmed or helped by so many different people and influences.I definitely recommend this book.

  • Kelsey
    2019-05-06 02:01

    I was drawn to this book the moment I saw it took place in Paris. I love reading anything set in Paris. Unfortunately for this book, there were some drawbacks that took some enjoyment out of reading this book.If the main character is irritating from the beginning of the book, you know it's going to be a rough read. Clara was this judgmental, sort of popular high school girl, who has developed an eating disorder (Orthorexia) thanks to in part to her mom. What irritated me was her about her was her attitude towards her dad. Her parents divorced when she was younger and he moved to Paris, France, and remarried. For whatever reason that is not explained to my satisfaction, while he tries to keep in touch with Clara, and get to know his daughter, she does not reciprocate the gestures. She continually makes the comment in the book about not knowing her father and he doesn't know her, and all I could think of while reading was "well whose fault is that?" She doesn't seem to take responsibility for what she has done and puts it off on others. What redeemed her was her growing relationship with her half-brother, Alastair, who (as the title suggests) is on the Autism spectrum. Alastair was my favorite character of this book and what kept me reading until the end. I don't have personal experience with autism, so I can't say whether this book is accurate in that regard, but I have read a few reviews that suggest that it is.Alastair teaches Clara to enjoy the beauty of loving without judging, something she desperately needed to learn. Overall, this was a cute book, but I wasn't too enthralled with the characters (except for Alastair—he's my little cupcake). My Rating: 3/5 stars*I received an copy of this book from the publisher via Netgally in exchange for an honest review

  • Jule
    2019-05-04 03:16

    I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.Summer holiday in Paris sounds like fun, but maybe not so much when it consists of babysitting your estranged half-brother who is on the autism spectrum. To add to that, Clara also suffers from orthorexia, an eating disorder where patients are obsessed with healthy eating. This novel was much deeper than the usual YA summer romance. To begin with, it actually takes a good third of the novel before Clara makes it to France - time spent exploring her unhealthy relationship with her mother, food, and the consequences of social media. Generally, I was a big fan of the slow development in all plot points - her brother opening up to her, her romance with biracial Michel, various characters developing and changing - none of it was rushed and it all felt natural. In general, the realization of one's own bad behavior and the willingness to change was really amazing to read about. To add to that, the friendships and family relationships (especially between Clara and her brother Alastair) were more important than the romance. And the realistic ending, where live continues on with highs and lows and questions instead of every problem being magically fixed, was the icing on the cake. It was a great story, very well paced, with deep character explorations and development, a lot of diversity and important issues. The message in the end was about fitting in but loosing identity vs standing out and being bullied. However, because the book did use a few YA tropes and I also did not quite buy the language of Alastair (autism or not, he was often way too sophisticated in his speech and thinking to pass for a 6-year-old), I rate this novel 4,5/5 stars.