Special by Chino Chakanga
Hi guys, it’s lovely to speak to you again.
The sun is shining here in England and it feels like a wonderful day for a new review.
Today, I’m reviewing a book very close to my heart: Special, by Chino Chakanga.
Special, by Chino Chakanga is an inspiring tale following teenager Hope, the girl who never developed any special abilities, unlike her peers.
Diagnosed with ADSD (Ability Dysfunction Spectrum Disorder), Hope spends most of her time seeing doctors who hope to ‘fix’ her. Finally having had enough, Hope decides to stop all treatment and embarks on a journey of self-acceptance.
At fifteen years old, Hope struggles alongside her peers, seeing their powerful abilities day in and day out. She is jaded in a way I felt able to empathize with, when you’re treated as broken simply for being born different. Hope represented an underdog character, one I rooted for all the way.
While there were many interesting characters, I’d like to focus next on Hope’s best friend Allie. Naïve and trusting, Allie’s relationship with Hope ends up fracturing when (discovering new powers) Allie is adopted by the popular kids. Allie’s character was crucial for Hope’s growth as an individual, pushing her to a new extreme when it came to comparing her lack of ability with the powerful popular kids.
Without this push to consider how she felt about herself vs others, I don’t think Hope would have grown as much as a character.
My greatest love in regards to this story would be the parallel drawn to Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). As someone on the spectrum, I found this book to be a wonderful look at how Autistic people (and those different to the majority in general) are currently treated by the medical industry.
Lack of self-acceptance (and acceptance of difference in general) makes me sad because I feel like Autistic individuals have much to offer the world but don’t often get a chance to demonstrate this.
Throughout the story, we see how the medical industry goes to great lengths to ‘fix’ or normalize the kids diagnosed with ADSD and the detrimental effect of this so called treatment on the physical and mental health of teens like Hope. Hope is left feeling worthless, as though she’ll never be considered normal or good enough, something no young person or anyone for that matter, should have to feel simply for being different.
I felt the author did well to show how Hope’s past painful memories were jolted to the front of her mind by her struggle to accept herself as is. Her more emotional moments really got to me and I couldn’t help from tearing up. Hers is a journey that many people are going through right now, albeit minus the super-abilities or lack thereof.
Special is well-written, emotional, and thought provoking, with much wisdom peppered throughout. Themes of social labels and difference are heavily emphasized and explored in an imaginative way.
With this book, I found it impossible to settle on one quote, or even three, so today
I give you four wise quotes that I feel our society needs to hear more often.
1) ‘You can’t change the perspective of others, but you can change yours.’
2) ‘It’s funny how you could be surrounded by so many people, yet feel so alone.’
3) ‘It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks about you. The only thing that matters is what you think.
You’ve got nothing to prove to anyone. You’re good enough as you are.’
4) ‘We often get so caught up in competition that we forget we all matter. We separate ourselves from others. We see each-other too much as rivals that we tend to forget why we’re all striving for success- we all just want to be happy.’
I cannot praise Special, by Chino Chakanga enough. This is one of those tales that really moved me and connected with me on a deeply personal level. Definitely a book to buy in print and re-read in the future.
My rating: 5 stars.
Recommended for lovers of urban fantasy that like characters who undergo personal transformation.
To learn more about the book, please visit its Goodreads page:
To learn more about author Chino Chakanga, please visit his website:
Thank you for joining me for today’s review of Special.
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As always, have a wonderful week.