05 June, 2015

Book Review: Are You Seeing Me?

From GoodreadsThis road trip will have earth-shattering consequences . . . 
Twins Justine and Perry are about to embark on the road trip of a lifetime in the Pacific Northwest.
It's been a year since they watched their dad lose his battle with cancer. Now, at only nineteen, Justine is the sole carer for her disabled brother. But with Perry having been accepted into an assisted-living residence, their reliance on each other is set to shift. Before they go their separate ways, they're seeking to create the perfect memory.
For Perry, the trip is a glorious celebration of his favourite things: mythical sea monsters, Jackie Chan movies and the study of earthquakes.
For Justine, it's a chance to reconcile the decision to ‘free' her twin, to see who she is without her boyfriend, Marc – and to offer their mother the chance to atone for past wrongs.
But the instability that has shaped their lives will not subside, and the seismic event that Perry forewarned threatens to reduce their worlds to rubble . . .

Thoughts: This is the third of the Children's Book Council of Australia (CBCA) shortlisted Older Readers books. The range of subjects in this years list is fantastic. In this, twins Justine and Perry take the trip of a lifetime in search of sea monsters and answers. Justine is the sole carer of her brother who has an intellectual disability. In her words:
Perry has a brain condition that can cause him to feel anxious or upset in different places and circumstances. He has trouble with people - mixing with them and communicating with them - and it sometimes results in inappropriate behaviours. I appreciate your understanding and patience.
That's her patter for when Perry has trouble coping in situations. One of her ways of bringing him back to her is to ask - are you seeing me.

Told in alternate view points, switching between Justine and Perry, insight is given into how each of the characters view the trip differently. Both are aware there will be big changes when the get home, but only Justine is really aware of how those changes are going to start during this trip. I love how along the way they meet a lot of people who have an understanding of Perry's anxieties and behaviours. I think this is becoming more and more real in a world where disabilities are no longer hidden away and thought to be something to be ashamed of.

I did have a few issues with the book and the ease in which some situations are resolved, but on the whole it was highly enjoyable.

Are You Seeing Me gets stars!

 *        Did not like it
**       It was OK
***      Liked it
****    Really liked it
*****   It was amazing