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Book Review – Puddle Jumping by Amber L. Johnson

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I’m actually jumping the queue with this book review. I have a review that’s been waiting for me to finish up for a while but ever since I read Puddle Jumping I have not been able to get it out of my mind. Massive book hangover. So I’m thinking that if I write up the review and get aaaaall my feelings out, then I’ll be able to move on to other things.

When the dedication at the beginning of a book tugs so hard at your heart strings that it makes you tear up a little, I think that’s generally a pretty good sign that you’re in for a treat.

“And for Emory.
Someday you will find your own Lilly Grace.
You paint the world in colors I’ve never seen and I’ll always love you blue because you always love me yellow.”

Beautiful. How can you not love this book already? It’s pretty obvious that the author has some personal experience with the subject matter in this book. It’s written beautifully, and from the heart. It never feels fake or forced or overly dramatic.

This is actually the third book I have read this year where one of the main characters has Asperger’s. Before this year I really knew very little about it, other than knowing Asperger’s is on the Autism spectrum. Even though reading these three books was more coincidence than design, the thing I have loved about all three of them is that I have been able to learn something important. While my knowledge on the subject is still very limited, I know a lot more than I did and I think that’s hugely because authors like Amber L. Johnson have done their research.

Colton was a rich and vibrant character. Even though the book was a relatively short read, we got to know him well and get an inside peek into his life. His condition wasn’t romanticized. It was pretty clear, even at the end of the book, that Lilly Grace and Colton would always have their struggles but that it would be worth it. Although Colton didn’t communicate his feeling in the traditional way, he has his own way of making his feelings clear.

“There, rounded in each corner, the colors overlapped his brush strokes that bore the words I Love You over and over and over…creating the backdrop of his heartbreak. And mine.”

Lilly Grace was an extraordinary character. She was such a strong and lively person. She tried hard with Colton, to get to know his quirks and the right way of going about things so that they could make a life together. She knew it wasn’t going to be easy but she stuck with it because she loved him for exactly who he was, and I absolutely adored her all the way through for it.

“But I would never call loving Colton an accomplishment. It was an honor. It changed me. It made me actually become the person I’d tried so hard to be all those years ago.”

Lilly & Coltons story was written in such a way that you couldn’t help but be dragged into it even from the first page. After purchasing this book I thought I would have a quick peek before doing a few jobs then getting back into it in the evening.  Uh, no. That’s not what happened at all. Amber L. Johnson’s writing sucked me in immediately. The world faded away and by the time I read the last page and looked up from my Kindle I realized it was evening and I was sitting in a dark room with an uncooked dinner sitting on the bench.  Needless to say the family had to survive off takeaways for dinner that night. Warning – if you’re going to read this book make sure you have 3 or 4 spare hours ahead of you. You’re going to need it.

This book was such a gem on a dreary Wednesday afternoon. I went into it with no real expectations and left completely blown away. People with Asperger’s are pretty amazing people. This is going straight on my “Faves of 2014” list. Needless to say, I will be stalking Amber L. Johnson (in a nice way) to make sure I never miss another book of hers.

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