As I barely remember any of my opinions and I read it a month ago, I’m going to keep this short and sweet.
General rating: ★★★☆
Diversity rating: ★★ (POC, disability)
On The Spectrum by Jennifer Gold
Growing up in the shadow of a famous mother, Clara has never felt good about her body. Now, at sixteen, she has an unhealthy obsession with healthy eating. After a social media disaster, she decides to escape for the summer to Paris to stay with her estranged dad and her six-year-old brother, Alastair, who is on the autism spectrum. Charged with his care, Clara and Alastair set out to explore the city. Paris teaches Clara about first love and gives her a new love of food. And Alastair teaches Clara about patience, trust and the beauty of loving without judgment.
What I really liked about this book was the diversity and representation in it. Clara is orthorexia, which is basically anorexia but then with a focus on healthy eating. I really enjoyed this, because I hadn’t heard about it before and I learned a lot about it. Clara’s mother has a large influence on how she became to be. Clara doesn’t know her little brother, who now lives with her dad in Paris. Her little brother has autism spectrum disorder.
Her reasons for running to Paris after a debacle on social media, was a bit strange to me. I didn’t really understand why it was such a big deal. Clara and her friend act a bit spoiled, and I didn’t really like them, but during the book, Clara changes a lot and there is a lot of character development.
The love interest in this book is absolutely the perfect, cute, boy-next-door type of guy. He tries to help Clara get better. He works at a bakery and has a hard time understanding why Clara has such a difficult time eating, though he tries very hard to be supportive. This book is about food and how Clara learns to love food. Though the romance was cute, it was not really necessary for the story, and because I’m not usually a big fan of romance in books, I again felt not really that engaged in their relationship.
The joy of this book came from Alastair, the little brother. He is very cute and has a hard time functioning in the world. Clara helps him to fit better in his class. He is very straight-forward, like children with ASD usually are. He is a sweet boy, and I really enjoyed watching Clara and him build a real brother-sister relationship.
I am giving this book 3.5 stars because it was a cute and romantic read, with lots of diversity. The story was fun and interesting, with great character development. Though, I did not enjoy it as much as I would have liked, for no obvious reason. I would recommend this book if you like contemporary books that are short, sweet and diverse.