The Alien Logs of Super Jewels presents a solid middle-grade novel centering upon Jewels, who has always felt different from her classmates. Something is obviously going on: but is she an alien, a super-heroine, or something more? Her exploration of psyche and self against the backdrop of ordinary peer interactions may surprise readers who expect a fantasy about aliens, but young hearts will quickly warm to the story of a girl who is in fourth grade "and almost teenager", who perceives the world quite differently than most - and is labeled as being strange, because of it.
Jewels is special - and so she identifies with the lost alien E.T. in many ways - but unlike E.T., she presumably is with her people in a place where she doesn't fit in, and having Asperger's Syndrome means that likely she never will feel completely at home in her world. Her quest involves exploring her own unique abilities - and The Alien Logs of Super Jewels is all about finding these strengths in a world of hurt and puzzling social interactions.
There are books on the market about Aspergers, featuring protagonists who have Aspergers - but few with the intimate first-person approach that reels in readers to make the perceptions, thoughts, and emotions of the Aspergers individual feel realistic and personal.
In the search for evidence of her alien-ness or super-abilities, Jewels moves beyond logging evidence of her life on Earth and begins to understand a little more about herself and the nature of her peers, through accepting new experiences - such as camp - and incorporating them into her worldview.
It's not fantasy and it doesn't feature extraterrestrial life - but The Alien Logs of Super Jewels does do an outstanding job of introducing kids to the mindset of Asperger's child Jewels and how she navigates her puzzling world. As she comes to discover her 'surprise weapons', Jewels arrives at a different kind of approach to life that truly makes the most of her superpowers.
The story lies in the 'how', and that piece is beautifully done in this compelling story, recommended for advanced elementary to middle grade readers and many an adult who will come to understand Asperger's from a more sympathetic viewpoint than most stories provide....Continua