Colin Fischer
Colin Fischer
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Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz
ISBN 9781595145789
Penguin/Razorbill, 2012.
5 stars
Keywords: ashley-edward-miller-and-zack-stentz autism-spectrum colin-fischer detective-story family friendship

Colin Fischer
by Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz

The 14-year-old hero of this extraordinary debut novel is like no one else we've met in children's literature. As a teen with Asperger's syndrome, Colin Fischer may find social interactions challenging, but he is "high functioning," brilliant and focused.

On his first day at West Valley High, the wrong student is accused of bringing a gun to school. Colin knows that Wayne Connelly, who has bullied Colin for as long as he can remember, eats too neatly to have smeared cake icing on the gun. Colin is determined to find the true culprit. A generous smattering of entries from his notebook, which he uses to record his interactions, shows readers how Colin's mind works, and extensive footnotes let readers inside Colin's favorite films and obsessions. A photo of Basil Rathbone hangs over Colin's bed (as a footnote explains, to Colin, Rathbone was "the definitive inhabitant of the role of World's Greatest Detective," Sherlock Holmes). Clearly Colin gravitates to another mind that's working differently. His pursuit of the truth takes Colin literally outside of his comfort zone, as he and Wayne travel bus routes far beyond his neighborhood.

It quickly becomes clear to readers that, as Colin works on solving the mystery of the gun's owner, he is also figuring out Colin--and learning that his own life is, in many ways, a mystery to be solved. The authors create a magnetic character--though he's a creature of routine, Colin still manages to surprise us. Readers will take this hero to heart.

This review first appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers.

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