Laurie Foos

A Gemma Open Door book

  In many ways, the Hamilton children are like any other kids. Eleven-year-old Mia and ten-year-old Will love playing Minecraft, eating pizza, and playing in the yard. But Mia knows that because Will is on the autism spectrum, some things are different for him. For starters, he doesn’t like things to change. Pizza has to be just so crispy, or he won’t eat it. He uses lines from movies to answer most questions. If his toast is too dark, Will could have a total meltdown.

When Mom and Dad announce they’re getting a babysitter for the first time, Mia is alarmed. What will happen if the babysitter doesn’t understand the unusual things Will does? Her parents know that she is Will’s “translator” because she always understands him. Can they manage a whole night with a brand-new person in charge? Is it always Mia’s job to worry, or can she find a way to rely on other people? Toast explores the tender, scary, funny, and always complex relationship between a girl and her autistic brother.

“As she verges on young adulthood, Mia is torn by her abiding love for her brother Will and her increasing awareness of how the world reacts to a boy with autism. The voice of a child narrator is inspired. Young adults will identify with Mia while older people will relate to her parents. Readers may find themselves aching for this unique family, and they will certainly gain a deeper understanding of life with a loved one on the spectrum. Beautifully conceived and written, Toast is a gentle yet fierce novella.” —Alison McGhee, Someday

Laurie Foos is the author of Ex Utero, Portrait of the Walrus by a Young Artist, Twinship, Bingo Under the Crucifix, Before Elvis There was Nothing, and The Blue Girl. Her non-fiction has appeared in Brain, Child and in the anthology So Glad They Told Me: Women Get Real about Motherhood. She teaches in the Bachelor of Fine Arts Program at Goddard College and in the Masters of Fine Arts Program at Lesley University. Laurie’s first book in the Gemma Open Door series, The Giant Baby, was called “…utterly beautiful,” by Christina Shea, author of Smuggled and Moira’s Crossing. “Laurie Foos’ writing imbues the salt of the earth with fabulous imagination.”

Laurie Foos
Paper, 94 pages
Reading level: 3.1 FK