Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Same But Different Teen Life on the Autism Express

Same But Different Teen Life on the Autism Express

Fall 2016 Fiction
Ages: 12 & Up
Publisher: Scholastic
ISBN: 9780545094689
Hardcover Price: $17.99

It's easy to overlook the fact that autism is a challenge that affects the whole family. Siblings, parents, and grandparents must all shift and maneuver, trying to remain flexible as they respond to this new and unsettling 'normal.'

Holly Robinson Peete is the mother of five children; including teenage twins, one of whom is on the autism spectrum. Holly and the twins, RJ and Ryan, have collaborated in a narrative fiction titled Same but Different: Teen Life on the Autism Express. Their book candidly shines a light on the struggles and successes of life as 'Charlie' (and his family) learn to navigate the world via autism.

Frank in its portrayal of the obstacles 'Charlie' faces each day in high school, readers see the harsh lights, hear the loud noise, and meet the 'friends' who borrow fifty dollars to buy a pizza. Charlie' works so hard to be liked, to make friends, and to understand the enigmas that are the people who surround him. All the while, his twin sister is caught between the push and pull of 'saving' him and letting him learn on his own. Holly, RJ, and Ryan don't hide their characters' faults or failures; they celebrate their love for each other - every day.

Same but Different is a book that will spark discussions in families who have a child on the autism spectrum, and provide some insight to those who 'know someone with autism.' That contribution is worth our recommendation.

Editor's Note: Roberta's two adult children Rowan and Sam contributed to this review. Rowan has Asperger's Syndrome and is a graduate of Minnesota Life College. She, along with her service dog, Loki, will complete a degree in Veterinary Technology in 2017. Sam, a filmmaker living in San Francisco, recently completed a film about his sister, Rowan.

Roberta Scherf   ©2016 Parents' Choice
Roberta Scherf is the parent of a young adult with autism, and the creator of MeMoves. See Roberta's work at:

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