The Real Boy by Anne Ursu has been well publicized by the middle-grade and YA book blogging community and I am glad that I took their recommendation to read this book.
While Ms. Ursu never comes out and says it, if you look carefully Oscar has many attributes common to youngsters with Autism such as a love of routine, tapping his feet/humming/stimming, losing his words in times of extreme stress, needing to be taught social scripts, and an extraordinary visual memory. The power of this book is that these items are not artificially stressed or brought to our attention, but rather they are just woven through the descriptions rather like clues for those who are looking. It is subtle enough that if I wasn't sensitized by raising 2 young men with Aspergers, I might have missed it. The strength of this sweet story is that Oscar is a real 3-dimensional hero with a story to live. In the end The Real Boy rightfully focuses on Oscar's abilities (rather than any disability) and his unique way of looking at the world saves the day.