Anything But Typical Summary, Themes & Characters [Nora Raleigh Baskin]

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TitleAnything But Typical
Post TypeAnything But Typical Summary
AuthorNora Raleigh Baskin
Publication DateMarch 24, 2009
PublisherSimon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
GenreRealistic Fiction, Young Adult Fiction
Pages208 pages

Anything But Typical Characters

Jason Blake – The protagonist of the story, Jason is a 12-year-old boy with autism. He has difficulty with social interactions and finds solace in writing stories on an online writing platform.

Rebecca –Jason’s younger sister, Rebecca is supportive and understanding of her brother’s condition. She often acts as his advocate and tries to help him navigate social situations.

Dad – Jason’s father is a caring and loving parent who wants the best for his son. He struggles with understanding Jason’s perspective at times but is always willing to learn and support him.

Mom – Jason’s mother is a compassionate and nurturing figure. She tries to create a supportive environment for Jason and encourages his writing talent.

PhoenixBird – PhoenixBird is Jason’s online pen name, under which he shares his stories on a writing platform.

Mr. Miller – Jason’s English teacher, Mr. Miller recognizes Jason’s writing talent and encourages him to participate in a writing contest. He provides guidance and support to help Jason overcome his challenges.

Rebecca’s friends – Rebecca has a group of friends who are kind and accepting of Jason. They include him in their activities and help him feel included.

Jason’s classmates – Some of Jason’s classmates struggle to understand his behavior and often tease or exclude him. Their ignorance and lack of empathy make it challenging for Jason to fit in at school.

Sarah – Sarah is a fellow writer on the online platform who connects with Jason through their shared love of writing. They develop a friendship, supporting and inspiring each other’s creativity.

Grandma – Jason’s grandmother is a source of comfort and understanding. She appreciates his writing and encourages him to continue pursuing his passion.

Anything But Typical Themes

Autism and Acceptance – The book examines an autistic protagonist’s experiences and sheds light on the problems that persons on the autism spectrum face. It emphasizes the need of acceptance and comprehension.

Bullying and Social Exclusion – The book explores the themes of bullying and the protagonist’s sense of isolation as a result of his peculiarities. It emphasizes the impact of bullying on individuals and the importance of kindness.

Creativity and self-expression – The main character finds consolation and self-expression through creating stories on an internet platform. The book delves at the value of creativity as a tool for communication and self-discovery.

Family Dynamics – The book dives into the protagonist’s family dynamics, revealing their challenges and efforts to understand and support him. It explores the concept of unconditional love as well as the intricacies of familial relationships.

Autistic preconceptions and misunderstandings – The book tackles autistic preconceptions and misunderstandings. It investigates how people’s previous assumptions might cause misunderstandings and obstruct true interactions.

Empathy and Friendship – The book covers the themes of empathy, connection, and the power of friendship in overcoming problems via the protagonist’s online friendship with a girl who shares his passion for writing.

Anything But Typical Summary

The narrative begins when Jason starts sixth grade & makes his first effort at regular public school. He has had a one-on-one assistant since his diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder in 3rd grade. 

Each day, Jason suffers with the overstimulating atmosphere of school, despite working regularly with both physical & speech therapists who help him manage with his autism. He mentions having trouble understanding other people’s facial expressions, recognising faces & controlling his anger. When he exceeds his stress threshold, he might become aggressive & destructive, or he can blink his eyes, flap his hands & rock back and forth, making people around him uncomfortable. Jason is acutely aware of how much his fellow students hate him, yet he remains unfazed. He attempts to fit in with the neurotypicals, as he refers to them, mostly to satisfy his parents. 

Jason’s parents are dedicated and patient. They make their house a safe place for him & he adores them. He also adores his younger brother, Jeremy. They get along great. Jeremy frequently asks Jason to read him books. 

Jason enjoys writing as a hobby. He publishes his stories on the website Storyboard. A few days later, Jason gets a compliment from another Storyboard member named PhoenixBird for his story about a small man called Bennu who must decide whether to have surgery in order to give him normal height. As they share stories & texts, Jason thinks if PhoenixBird or Rebecca, may possibly become his girlfriend. Their online connection provides Jason something to look forward to and improves his academic performance & behaviour. 

Jason’s family plan a trip to a Storyboard meeting in Texas for him. When Jason finds that Rebecca will be at the meeting, he is shocked. He is worried that if Rebecca meets him in individual, she would be horrified. He loses passion for writing & falls into a shame-filled sadness, creating problems at school as well as with his family. 

Rebecca meets Jason & his mother soon after they arrive in Texas. She was delighted to meet Jason, but, just as he expected, she was surprised that the guy she has been talking with has autism & she doesn’t seem interested in having conversations with him. Jason is distraught and decides never to write again. However, Jason is inspired to continue writing by his writing teacher, a little person like Bennu. Rebecca tells Jason at the end of the meeting that she hopes they may continue their online connection with one another.

Jason’s mother shows gratitude for their trip on their return flight, saying she learnt more in that day than she had in years. Jason ends his narrative, choosing to end with Bennu & refuse the operation and embrace himself as he is. This is also where the novel finishes, implying that Jason, too, is on the road to self-acceptance.


Is Anything But Typical a good book?

Yes, “Anything But Typical” is a good book, offering a compelling story and well-developed characters.

What is the conflict in Anything But Typical?

The main conflict in “Anything But Typical” revolves around the protagonist, Jason, who faces social and communication challenges due to his autism and struggles to find acceptance and understanding in a neurotypical world.

What happens first in a story?

The first thing that typically happens in a story is the introduction of the main characters or setting, establishing the initial situation or conflict.

What is the theme of Anything But Typical?

The theme of “Anything But Typical” is the challenges faced by a young boy with autism as he navigates social interactions and expresses himself through online storytelling.

What is the setting of anything but typical?

The setting of the book “Anything But Typical” is primarily in the protagonist’s home, school and an online writing community.

About the Author-Nora Raleigh Baskin

NameNora Raleigh Baskin
Date of Birth18 May 1961
GenreYoung Adult Fiction, Children’s Literature
Notable Works-Anything But Typical (2010)
-Ruby on the Outside (2015)
-Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story (2016)
Social MediaTwitter
Education-Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from SUNY Binghamton
-Master’s degree in Education from Harvard University
Notable ThemesIdentity, friendship, family relationships, autism
Writing StyleBaskin’s writing style is characterized by its emotional depth, authenticity and relatability to young readers. Her stories often tackle sensitive subjects with empathy and compassion.
Interesting FactBaskin worked as a waitress, bartender and camp counselor before becoming a full-time writer.

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