Oh Brother (Orca Currents)

Series: Orca Currents
Publication Date: 1 Apr. 2020
Format: Paperback / softback

ISBN 9781459824331

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    Moving to a new city and a new school is never easy. So Lauren is relieved when Callie, Treena and Maddy welcome her into their group. But then Lauren witnesses their reaction to a first grader in a wheelchair. That boy is her little brother, Will. But she's afraid that if she tells them, they may not want to be friends with her.

    Soon Lauren finds herself living a double life as she struggles with the challenges of building new friendships and trying to make it up to Will for not acknowledging him at school.

    At some point Lauren will have to make a decision. What is more important? Friends or family?

    Information

    Book Type: Junior Chapter
    Age Group: 9 to 12 years
    Traffic Lights: Green/Amber
    Class Novel: No
    Good Reads Rating: 4.5/5
    Literary Rating: 4.5/5

    Review

    Lauren's brother Will has special needs, so she and her family have moved to the big city so they can be closer to the services he needs.

    Lauren's nervous about starting at a new school, especially since she struggles to make friends. She meets popular girls Callie, Treena, and Maddy, but they seem superficial and Lauren doesn't fit in. Worse still, they make fun of Will when they see him on the playground, and Lauren is too embarrassed to say he's her brother.

    Will starts hanging out with Blake from next door, and Lauren finds out that his older sister is Callie -- she's pretty cool when she isn't around Treena and Maddy. They bond over shared interests in football, movies, and books. Lauren continues hanging out with Callie, but two things rapidly become clear: first, that Callie cares more about being popular than she does about Lauren; second, that concealing that she's Will's sister is affecting her relationship with him.

    Everything comes to a head when Will gets hit with a soccer ball. Callie tells Treena and Maddy that Lauren is related to Will, and they all make fun of her. Finally realising what's most important, Lauren tells them she'd rather be friends with Will than with them.

    Lauren and Callie make up and write a play together about the importance of being true to yourself. Will has a small role, and Lauren couldn't be prouder.

    A heart-warming read about prioritising the people and things you love, and the advantages of individuality.

    Themes

    family, autism, glass children, love, differences, change, priorities

    Content Notes

    Mild ableism: use of the word "spaz" (p. 31, 120), "freak" (p. 104), implication that autistic children are violent.