Rules by Cynthia Lord is a book for middle-grade readers that will also appeal to teens (and adults, too!). Twelve-year old Catherine tries to navigate her pre-teen life while also living with her 8-year old autistic brother. She sets rules for him to follow, to help him seem more normal to the outside world. When Catherine befriends a 14-year old paraplegic boy who can’t speak, she is forced to reassess her ideas about what is normal.
Catherine is a funny, warm narrator, and this book is a must-read for anyone who knows someone with autism. I listened to the audio version, with a wonderful reader who perfectly captured Catherine (my full review of Rules will appear in a spring 2009 issue of Family Fun magazine).