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The First Thing About You
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The First Thing About You
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A high school student with spinal muscular atrophy is determined to reinvent himself in a hilarious and poignant debut from an exciting new voice. When fifteen-year-old Harris moves with his family...
A high school student with spinal muscular atrophy is determined to reinvent himself in a hilarious and poignant debut from an exciting new voice. When fifteen-year-old Harris moves with his family...
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Description-

  • A high school student with spinal muscular atrophy is determined to reinvent himself in a hilarious and poignant debut from an exciting new voice.
    When fifteen-year-old Harris moves with his family from California (home of beautiful-but-inaccessible beaches) to New Jersey (home of some much-hyped pizza and bagels), he's determined to be known as more than just the kid in the powered wheelchair. Armed with his favorite getting-to-know-you question ("What's your favorite color?"), he'll weed out the incompatible people—the greens and the purples, people who are too close to his own blue to make for good friends—and surround himself with outgoing yellows, adventurous oranges, and even thrilling reds. But first things first: he needs to find a new nurse, stat, so that his mom doesn't have to keep accompanying him to school.
    Enter Miranda, a young nursing student who graduated from Harris's new high school. Beautiful, confident, and the perfect blend of orange and red, Miranda sees Harris for who he really is—funny, smart, and totally worthy of the affections of Nory Fischer, the cute girl who's in most of his classes. With Miranda at his side, Harris soon befriends geeky Zander (yellow) and even makes headway with Nory (who stubbornly refuses to reveal her favorite color). But Miranda is fighting her own demons, and Harris starts to wonder if she truly has his best interests at heart.

Reviews-

  • Kirkus

    August 1, 2022
    A teen with spinal muscular atrophy navigates a new school and a new crush. Fifteen-year-old Harris Jacobus is determined that his family's move from California to New Jersey will be a fresh start. When he was growing up, frequent hospitalizations and wheelchair-inaccessible hangouts made it difficult to make friends. But now he vows to experience being a typical teenager, which includes finding a girlfriend, someone like the enigmatic Nory Fischer, who's both beautiful and refreshingly chill about his disability. But how can he get to know someone who won't reveal her favorite color, which he considers a crucial requirement for determining compatibility? Fortunately, Miranda, the hot, outgoing aide who accompanies Harris at school, is happy to play matchmaker. But soon, Harris finds himself falling for Miranda--and her unprofessional, impulsive influence--in ways that could backfire spectacularly. Readers will root for Harris even while wincing at his reckless decisions; Hayden, who has SMA himself, vividly captures Harris' desire to belong and the pressure to transcend disability stereotypes. Melding wry wit, awkwardness, and introspection, Harris' frank narration keeps the pages turning as he grapples with the uncomfortable, conflicting feelings of his romantic dilemma. The ending is a delightful pop of realism. Harris' family is wonderfully supportive though occasionally realistically strained. Details of life with SMA, such as breathing treatments and feeding routines, are informative. Most characters default to White; Nory is Mexican American. A witty, candid take on love, friendship, belonging, and disability. (Fiction. 14-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2022) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    September 1, 2022
    Grades 9-12 Because sophomore Harris has spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), he's completely reliant on his parents, nurses, and routines. When his family moves across the country, he vows to be known as more than a body in a wheelchair. That's not easy with 400 pounds of metal strapped to his ass! At school, he requires a nurse for everything from assisting him in the bathroom to taking notes in class. Partnered with mysterious classmate Nory Fisher in physics, Harris harbors hopes she'll be his first-ever girlfriend. But when Miranda, a nursing student with a history of bad choices, comes to assist Harris, he falls for her, too. While forging relationships with Nory and Miranda, he learns about their invisible challenges, that spontaneity is fun, and, with a little creativity, the concept of can't turns to can. Debut author Hayden, who, like Harris, has SMA, writes with humor and compassion that instructs without lecturing. His funny, sarcastic, and smart narrator easily reminds the reader that people with disabilities have amazing abilities and, most important, are people first.

    COPYRIGHT(2022) Booklist, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    October 10, 2022
    Fifteen-year-old Harris, who has spinal muscular atrophy, seeks to reinvent himself while navigating first love in Hayden’s sincere debut. After spending most of his childhood in and out of hospitals, Harris, who uses a wheelchair, is sure his family’s move from California to New Jersey is the perfect opportunity to “start living a real teenage life.” When he meets friendly Zander on the first day of school, Harris asks his go-to ice breaker—“What’s your favorite color?”—and learns that it’s yellow, which he feels signals an auspicious start to their budding friendship. Asking this question helps him avoid people he believes he’s incompatible with—his favorite color is blue, so he doesn’t gel well with greens and purples, since they’re too similar—but he’s stumped about what to do when he meets beautiful, enigmatic classmate Nory, who won’t tell him her favorite hue. When his impetuous new aide Miranda, a nursing student, plays matchmaker, her sometimes emotionally risky suggestions, and Harris’s growing feelings for both her and Nory, complicate matters. Via Harris’s wry first-person narration, Hayden, who also has SMA, explores themes of friendship and finding oneself with good humor and authority. Most characters cue as white. Ages 14–up.

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    Candlewick Press
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