One thing that a lot of people don’t think about, unless they have suffered themselves, are invisible illnesses. According to talkspace.com, a mental health website, “an invisible illness is an umbrella term for any medical condition that isn’t easily visible to others. This includes chronic physical conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, fibromyalgia, and others — but also mental illnesses. Living with an invisible illness often leads to judgement and criticism because others believe you look fine on the outside, and therefore must be “making up” your suffering.” Jamie Sumner took on an often unspoken condition called Sensory Processing Disorder in her new book Tune It Out (Sept. 1, 2020).
* Thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for a digital ARC of this title which will come out on September 1, 2020. All opinions are my own.
I couldn’t put this book down. I was drawn to Lou’s story and her character. Louise is a young girl with undiagnosed Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). Her mother is a piece of work who is trying to get Lou a career in the music business even though Lou really hates performing. They are homeless, live in their truck, and Lou hasn’t gone to school since one school thought she might be on the spectrum. Then a truck accident changes everything.
Lou is taken away from her mother and sent to live with an aunt and uncle she doesn’t know. She misses her mom and life has been completely flipped on its head. Rather than being homeless, she is in a comfortable home and attending a private school. She makes a friend even before starting. But she does meet with a counselor on the first day who does suspect that she has SPD. It takes a long time to work through it, but having a team to support her is a welcome change.
I was drawn to all of the characters, except her mom of course, and impressed with the way people worked with her to help avoid her triggers. I am also thrilled to see a disorder like SPD covered in a middle grade book. Having an invisible illness is really challenging. I’m not thrilled that there seemed to be a really negative perception of Autism, but we don’t think of the challenges of people who have issues that are invisible to the general public. The reality is that there are a large number of medical issues that people are facing that are not obvious which is yet another reason that we should all try as best we can not to judge people without knowing their true story. This is an excellent book for kids age 10+.