Friday, 15 August 2014

Review: Rogue by Lyn Miller-Lachmann


Title: Rogue
Author: Lyn Miller-Lachmann
Release date: May 16th 2013
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books
Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary
Format: ARC
Pages: 227

Source: Author

Kiara has Asperger’s syndrome, and it’s hard for her to make friends. So whenever her world doesn’t make sense—which is often—she relies on Mr. Internet for answers. But there are some questions he can’t answer, like why she always gets into trouble, and how do kids with Asperger’s syndrome make friends? Kiara has a difficult time with other kids. They taunt her and she fights back. Now she’s been kicked out of school. She wishes she could be like her hero Rogue—a misunderstood X-Men mutant who used to hurt anyone she touched until she learned how to control her special power.

When Chad moves in across the street, Kiara hopes that, for once, she’ll be able to make friendship stick. When she learns his secret, she’s so determined to keep Chad as a friend that she agrees not to tell. But being a true friend is more complicated than Mr. Internet could ever explain, and it might be just the thing that leads Kiara to find her own special power.

In Rogue, author Lyn Miller-Lachmann celebrates everyone’s ability to discover and use whatever it is that makes them different.

Rogue is an intense and thought-provoking novel about a girl with Asperger's syndrome who tried her best to make friends despite everything she's been through. This is technically middle grade, although I wouldn't really recommend this to middle schoolers on account of the subject matter *cough* drugs and drinking *cough*.

Kiara has always had trouble making friends, especially since she's already labelled 'weird' and 'Crybaby Kiara' after a few incidents. She has trouble managing her anger, and that gets her kicked out of school. Kiara has a brilliant mind - it's just that she's not good with emotions. So when Chad moves in across, Kiara wants to make a friendship that will actually last. Except that Chad's got a lot of troubles of his own, troubles that Kiara gets dragged into. And she realizes that empathy is something she really is capable of, despite what 'Mr. Internet' says.

I loved that Kiara's obsessed with X-Men! I love the movies, though haven't read any of the comics. But I love Rogue too, she's awesome. Kiara relates her life to that of Rogue, and even relates people she knows to other X-Men characters. Chad is Gambit, and her brother Max's friend is Wolverine. I thought it was pretty cool, though no one in the novel does.

It was interesting to see into Kiara's mind as a kid with Asperger's syndrome. Though it's a little concerning that she's not actually diagnosed with it. No one knows what's wrong with her, not even her family. They think she was born different because of her father's chemotherapy before her conception. I don't know if that's legit, but I still think it's weird that no one bothered to find out what her condition really is. Kiara had to find out from the internet and tell her dad.

Speaking of Kiara's family, I was pretty surprised at how different they are! Definitely not your average family - they're all in a band together. Kiara's mother, father, two older brothers, and even uncles I believe. They go touring and everything, and Kiara goes along with them, recording concerts. Which is really cool! But I did find it weird that her mother speaks mostly only Spanish and barely any English, while her dad can't speak Spanish at all. Major communication issues!

Oh gosh, issues. There are so many issues in this book. Not even kidding! Really serious ones that I wasn't expecting at all, especially for a middle grade book. And that made things pretty hard to believe, because everything gets so messed up. I don't want to state them specifically, but I did mention drugs and drinking. Not together, don't worry. But it's way intense. And that's not even all there is. Which is why I think Rogue is a great book for teenage readers, like maybe fourteen or fifteen? Twelve seems too young to me, even though that's the age of the characters here.

Another cool thing about this book - the BMX riding. I've seen some do awesome tricks in a skate park, and reading about them here brought back the amazement I felt seeing that. It's a bunch of guys having fun and making videos of their stunts and wipeouts, and there's real talent everywhere. I'm a little jealous of Kiara that she got to see all of that up close! But of course, not all good things last. And things get really really bad soon in the novel.

Overall, I enjoyed Rogue in many ways, even though the intensity freaked me out a little. Integrating X-Men into Kiara's life was a great move, I think. It really did help me empathize with her and her situation.

*Thank you to Lyn Miller-Lachmann for sending an ARC for review*

Rating: 3/5

2 comments:

  1. I would've loved to read this but the incongruity of the alcohol and drugs for the target audience is not sitting well with me. :/

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    Replies
    1. I had always envisioned this book as YA and thought it would be marketed as such. Kiara is 14, at the end of her eighth grade year, and while Chad is 12, most of the other characters are older. So, yes, it's very much within the YA category. Thank you for the review, Richa! I'm glad the book made it to you.

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