Book Review: Same but Different by Holly Robinson Peete, Ryan Elizabeth Peete, and RJ Peete

Same But DifferentSame but Different
Teen Life on the Autism Express
Holly Robinson Peete, Ryan Elizabeth Peete, and RJ Peete
Scholastic Press, February 2016
ISBN 978-0-545-09468-9

A fast, easy read for children, parents, teachers, and counselors, Same but Different is told from the point of view of the teenaged twin co-authors, called Charlie and Callie in the book. Charlie is autistic. Callie is not. The brother and sister tell about their feelings and experiences in their own words, and the reader learns how and why they love, resent, try to understand, and sometimes misunderstand each other as they deal with family and school.

The story deals with the experiences these young people have as they branch out from their close, sheltered childhoods into the confusing, hormone-laden teen world. We learn how, of parents, siblings, teachers, and other teens in their lives, some are supportive and kind, some cruel, and some just “don’t get it.” The twins tell how they feel about those people and also about having to appreciate or support each other while trying to be themselves.

Peete’s story brings to pre-teens and teens the messages about autism she and her daughter gave to young children in their picture book, My Brother Charlie. This story is personal. Not all autistic children are twins, nor do they have NFL quarterback fathers and actress mothers. But the feelings and experiences related to body changes, dating, bullying, driving, and friendship found in this realistic, heart-warming story are universal. The reader learns that autistic people are just like everyone else, but different.

Reviewed by Joyce Ann Brown, February 2016.
Author of cozy mysteries: Catastrophic Connections and Furtive Investigation, the first two Psycho Cat and the Landlady Mysteries.