See full review and content at http://www.fireandicereads.com/2013/09/ya-book-review-hadley-hadley-benson-by-jody-wind-durfee/
I received a copy of Hadley- Hadley Benson from a signing by the author at the LDSBA convention and truly had no idea what to expect. The only thing I knew is that I liked the red chucks on the cover. As soon as I started reading the sweet newness of a High School crush and the every day trials of living with a loved one on the autism spectrum, I jumped all the way in. I absolutely beam inside when an author chooses to integrate and feature a character with ASD or special needs, and Jody Wind Durfee does it well. My heart was tugged over the trials Hadley Benson's family and friends go though to protect both his innocence and his spirit.
Told in the perspective of Jaxon Quayle, a soccer star and ordinary next door neighbor to the Benson family, this is a story of forgiveness and hope. Jaxon knows from the second Maddi Benson moves in that she is someone he wants to get to know better, but Hadley keeps somehow tagging along. Jaxon has a lot of growing up to do and readers get to see his character develop in testimony and awareness of others. Each chapter is very short, which I actually liked. There were only a few glitches in long paragraphs of simple conversation that slowed the pacing of the book, but I sat down and read it all in one Saturday afternoon, finishing in tears.
Jody has written a relevant and heartfelt YA contemp for the LDS and general audience that I would happily recommend, youth or adult. Her sweet understanding of special needs youth and their caregivers is a message that needs to be shared and I'm so glad she took the time to write Hadley- Hadley Benson!