by Mireille Geus and Nancy Forest-Flier

“Dizzy” Lizzy Bekell is misunderstood by her peers. Autistic, the twelve-year-old... read more

“Dizzy” Lizzy Bekell is misunderstood by her peers. Autistic, the twelve-year-old whiles away hours at the bus stop, watching the neighborhood boys play together but unable, and unwelcome, to join them. Lizzy’s careful routines at home with her mother and at her special school are interrupted when a new girl moves to town and forcefully befriends her. Margaret is brash and bold. Her fierceness alarms and awes Lizzy, who is pleased to have a friend but unsure of how to handle Margaret’s moodiness. The intense and manipulative relationship emanates uncomfortable foreshadowing. Lizzy’s uneasiness grows as Margaret, negatively nicknamed “Piggy,” hatches a retaliation plan against the neighborhood bullies. Lizzy’s voice provides powerful narration as she recounts the disastrous scenario to police investigators. The shifting from past to present closely parallels Lizzy’s own transitions between internal and external realities. This quiet novel resonates with realistic conflict. The drama builds effectively, but the final blow arrives after the travesty has unraveled. (Ages 11–14)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2009

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