I try to read a lot of disability in literature, especially YA, so I was excited to read this, especially since John Green said it was an important book to him early in his career. However, I was extremely disappointed in this story, if you can even call it a story. It felt much more like a thought experiment to me, obviously inspired by the author’s own disabled son.
The novel was incredibly short, so I was surprised when it ended on a cliffhanger. That felt like a cheap ploy to franchise what could have been a substantial stand-alone as the hundred pages I read didn’t have a whole lot of plot or conflict. They seemed to mostly work to orient you in Shawn’s head and explain the circumstances of his life as well as his family’s dynamics.
I appreciate how this novel causes you to think outside the box and consider the lives of people who are nonverbal and presumed to be intellectually disabled. It’s a really creative perspective, but as a story with conflict that feels complete and thorough, it really falls flat.
Title(s): Stuck In Neutral
Author(s): Terry Trueman
Overall Rating: 2/5
Format Accessed: Paperback