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PW #354: Young Adult Contempory #ownvoices: BECAUSE YOU’RE ON THE SPECTRUM

Thursday, 2 November 2017  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: Sharon Johnston and Stacey Nash

Mentee Name: Jason Robbins


Category: Young Adult

Genre: Contempory #ownvoices

Word Count: 83,000


ASD teens Jean and Jeff learn together what it means to have a friendship and blossoming romance while being ‘on the spectrum.’ An ableist grandma, online bullying, and meltdowns are challenging enough, but neither could’ve predicted the bombshell Jeff’s parents drop. Epistolary style.


I had successfully made it to sixteen, but Mom’s definition of success didn’t include achievements like avoiding awkward and emotionally draining interactions with people in real-time by remaining indoors, thus spending most of my time in my bedroom writing words like “thus” while listening to my favorite songs by geek rocker Joel T. Nelson and the Bots on repeat, salivating like I’ve undergone a Pavlov’s dog type of conditioning toward Mountain Dew and pizza, and devoting a lot of my time to writing lengthy paragraphs that looked like run-on sentences but were still grammatically correct since it amused me to challenge the elitist nerds who’d say my giant sentence wasn’t correct, but upon further analysis, they’d eat their words because it was, in fact, this single awesome sentence affectionately named Mega Sentence Number One or an equally acceptable number depending on what the situation called for.

Thus, the highlight of my social life consisted of conversing with likeminded shut-ins on the autism forums from the safety of my pajamas. A girl can hurt herself with zippers if she’s not careful! Pajamas are the way to go.

There was one time when Mom took great delight in freaking me out. She slipped into a onesie! Not cool, Mom! That’s basically the most dangerous thing a person can wear, and it’s in the pajama category. I couldn’t even look at her when she was running around in that thing.



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