Shirley Reva Vernick
Cinco Puntos Press
Ages 12 - 15
Johnny's plans fly out the window when he finds out his single mother is leaving town for the summer. She has a breakthough job in upstate New York. He can live with his Aunt Collette but only on the condition that he "help out with" his autistic older cousin, Remember. Yup, you heard it right: Remember Dippy. That's his cousin's name—and Remember is a gawky awkward kid with some pretty strange habits, like repeating back almost everything Johnny says and spending hours glued to the weather channel. Johnny's premonitions of disaster appear at first to come to cringeworthy fruition, but when the two boys save a bully from drowning, salvage the pizzeria guy's romance, and share girl troubles, Johnny ends up having the summer of his life.
Fans of books like Al Capone Does My Shirts and Gennifer Choldenko and Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine will love Remember Dippy, too. Remember is a high-functioning autistic teen who is prone to tantrums, brilliant at video games, and fiercely loyal to his friends. Johnny, his cousin who is given the task of watching Remember for the summer while Mem's mom is at work, is a wonderful character, someone any reader can relate to. I couldn't put this little book down. It's a sweet, touching tale about learning to look beyond first impressions and outer appearances. Even though it is listed as young adult, this story is perfectly accessible and appropriate for pre-teen readers as well.