Anything But Typical
Goodreads ratings
3.87 / 5

"Anything But Typical" Summary

By Nora Raleigh Baskin

realistic fiction | 195 pages | Published in 2009

Jason Blake is an autistic 12-year-old living in a neurotypical world. Most days it’s just a matter of time before something goes wrong. But Jason finds a glimmer of understanding when he comes across PhoenixBird, who posts stories to the same online site as he does.Jason can be himself when he writes and he thinks that PhoenixBird — her name is Rebecca — could be his first real friend. But as desperate as Jason is to meet her, he’s terrified that if they do meet, Rebecca will only see his autism and not who Jason really is.By acclaimed writer Nora Raleigh Baskin, this is the breathtaking depiction of an autistic boy’s struggles—and a story for anyone who has ever worried about fitting in.


Estimated read time: 5 min read

One Sentence Summary

A twelve-year-old boy with autism finds solace in writing and online friendships.


"Anything But Typical" by Nora Raleigh Baskin is a heartwarming and insightful novel that explores the life of a young boy with autism. The book delves into the challenges and triumphs of the protagonist, Jason Blake, as he navigates the complexities of middle school, friendship, and his passion for writing. Baskin's narrative offers a poignant and authentic portrayal of Jason's unique perspective on the world, inviting readers to empathize with his experiences and emotions.

Brief Synopsis

Plot Overview

The story is set in a suburban town, where Jason Blake, a twelve-year-old boy with autism, grapples with the demands of middle school while harboring a deep passion for writing. Despite facing social and communication challenges, Jason finds solace in expressing himself through his vivid imagination and storytelling. As he confronts the pressures of fitting in and forming friendships, Jason discovers an online writing community where he feels understood and accepted for who he is.


The novel primarily takes place in Jason's hometown, depicting the familiar landscapes of his school, neighborhood, and home environment. Through Jason's narrative, readers gain insight into the sensory experiences and perceptual nuances that shape his interactions with the world around him.

Main Characters

Jason BlakeA twelve-year-old boy with autism who possesses a deep love for writing and struggles with social interactions
RebeccaJason's supportive and understanding older sister who looks out for him and encourages his creative pursuits
Mr. and Mrs. BlakeJason's parents who provide unwavering love and support while navigating the complexities of raising a child with autism
PhoenixBirdAn online friend whom Jason connects with through their shared passion for writing, offering him a sense of belonging and understanding

Summary of Different Story Points Over Chapters

Chapters 1-3: Introduction to Jason's World

  • Introduces Jason's daily routines and struggles with sensory overload in school
  • Highlights the challenges he faces in social situations and his deep connection to writing

Chapters 4-6: Friendship and Acceptance

  • Jason attempts to navigate the complexities of forming friendships in middle school
  • Rebecca provides support and understanding, offering glimpses of acceptance and empathy

Chapters 7-9: Online Writing Community

  • Jason discovers an online writing platform, where he connects with an understanding friend, PhoenixBird
  • The platform becomes a safe space for Jason to express himself authentically without judgment

Chapters 10-12: Writing Competition and Self-Discovery

  • Jason enters a writing competition, prompting him to confront his insecurities and fear of judgment
  • His experiences lead to moments of self-discovery and the realization that his unique perspective is valuable

Chapters 13-15: Family Dynamics and Understanding

  • Jason's family dynamics are explored, emphasizing the unconditional love and support they offer him
  • Jason's parents and sister strive to understand his needs and celebrate his individuality

Main Events

  1. Jason's struggles with sensory overload and social interactions at school
  2. His discovery of an online writing community and the friendship he forms with PhoenixBird
  3. Entering a writing competition and confronting his fears of judgment
  4. Family dynamics and the unwavering support of his parents and sister

Themes and Insights


  1. Acceptance and Belonging: The novel explores the universal desire for acceptance and understanding, emphasizing the importance of finding a sense of belonging.
  2. Creativity and Expression: Jason's passion for writing serves as a vehicle for self-expression and a means of connecting with others who share his interests.
  3. Family Support: The novel highlights the invaluable role of family in providing unconditional love and support, particularly in navigating the challenges of autism.


  • The narrative offers a window into the inner world of a young person with autism, fostering empathy and understanding among readers.
  • Through Jason's experiences, the novel challenges societal norms and perceptions, encouraging a reevaluation of what it means to be "typical."

Reader's Takeaway

"Anything But Typical" offers a compelling and empathetic portrayal of the experiences of individuals with autism, inviting readers to consider the importance of empathy, acceptance, and the power of creative expression. The novel provides valuable insights into the complexities of navigating the world with a unique perspective and the significance of unconditional support in fostering personal growth and self-acceptance.


Nora Raleigh Baskin's "Anything But Typical" resonates with readers through its authentic portrayal of a young boy's journey with autism, highlighting the universal themes of acceptance, creativity, and the profound impact of familial support. The novel serves as a poignant reminder of the value of embracing individual differences and the transformative power of empathy and understanding.

Anything But Typical FAQ

  1. What is 'Anything But Typical' about?

    'Anything But Typical' is a book about a 12-year-old boy named Jason who loves to write and has autism. The story follows his experiences navigating middle school, friendships, and an online writing community.

  2. Who is the author of 'Anything But Typical'?

    The author of 'Anything But Typical' is Nora Raleigh Baskin.

  3. What age group is 'Anything But Typical' suitable for?

    'Anything But Typical' is suitable for young readers aged 10 and above, but can also be enjoyed by older readers and adults.

  4. Is 'Anything But Typical' a realistic portrayal of autism?

    Yes, 'Anything But Typical' is praised for its realistic and sensitive portrayal of autism, providing insight into the experiences of individuals with autism.

  5. What themes are explored in 'Anything But Typical'?

    Themes explored in 'Anything But Typical' include friendship, acceptance, the power of creativity, and the challenges of living with autism.