Merilee Monroe is a 13-year-old with Asperger’s Syndrome growing up in the small town of Jumbo, Texas. She tries hard to have a V.O.E. – a Very Ordered Existence. She likes to follow the same routine every day. She likes to wear the same outfit of a “yellowy-orange” t-shirt, cargo pants, and red high-top tennis shoes every day, too. She eats the same peanut butter and jelly sandwich every day and spends 30 minutes on litter patrol with the same precision with which she orders the rest of her life.
Because most of the townspeople believe her to be “retarded,” Merilee sees and hears things about her neighbors that most others do not and she observes their behavior with intelligence and insight beyond her years. When Biswick moves to Jumbo with his father, a single man who writes poetry, much of Merilee’s controlled and orderly routine is thrown into disarray. When Biswick makes himself a regular visitor in her home and, though uninvited, tags along with her throughout the day, Merilee is thrown off and must learn how to re-order her existence. Ages 9 and up Lexile 800
Recommended by Susan Grigsby, Librarian, Georgia USA