When My Heart Joins the Thousand
Obviously I’m not what most people would describe as happy. But that has nothing to do with anything. Happiness is not a priority. Survival is.Alvie Fitz doesn’t fit in, and she doesn’t care. She’s spent years swallowing meds and bad advice from doctors and social workers. Adjust, adapt. Pretend to be normal. It sounds so easy.If she can make it to her eighteenth birthday without any major mishaps, she’ll be legally emancipated. Free. But if she fails, she’ll become a ward of the state and be sent back to the group home.All she wants is to be left alone to spend time with her friend, Chance, the one-winged hawk at the zoo where she works. She can bide her time with him until her emancipation. Humans are overrated anyway. Then she meets Stanley, a boy who might be even stranger than she is—a boy who walks with a cane, who turns up every day with a new injury, whose body seems as fragile as glass. Without even meaning to, she finds herself getting close to him. But Alvie remembers what happened to the last person she truly cared about.Her past stalks her with every step, and it has sharp teeth. But if she can find the strength to face the enemy inside her, maybe she’ll have a chance at happiness after all.

When My Heart Joins the Thousand Details

TitleWhen My Heart Joins the Thousand
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 6th, 2018
PublisherHarperTeen
ISBN-139780062656476
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Fiction, Realistic Fiction

When My Heart Joins the Thousand Review

  • C.G. Drews
    January 1, 1970
    So this was just super heartfelt and just GOOD. Also slow. I won't deny I found the pacing and lack of things happening a little tedious (but I'm the kind of person who finds sleeping tedious because I WANT TO MOVE; so take that onboard). But like altogether it's the kind of book I want people to read when they want to know how the world treats autistic people?!? It was quite good for the autism rep. (Finally, holy heck.) And there's also animals! Book references! Sandwiches! Feels! Disabilities So this was just super heartfelt and just GOOD. Also slow. I won't deny I found the pacing and lack of things happening a little tedious (but I'm the kind of person who finds sleeping tedious because I WANT TO MOVE; so take that onboard). But like altogether it's the kind of book I want people to read when they want to know how the world treats autistic people?!? It was quite good for the autism rep. (Finally, holy heck.) And there's also animals! Book references! Sandwiches! Feels! Disabilities! And your heart --> in pieces on the ground. All the good stuff we obviously need.+ I'd also consider this kind of upper-YA, because it's about a 17yo aiming for emancipation.Basically she has her own apartment, a job, and no parents in the picture. Alvie also is pretty keen to have sex and I always think it's good when YA discusses it (although Alive's reasons for wanting sex are kind of warped; but she knows it...she just wants to prove to herself that she can). But still, themes of independency and searching for a relationship that's going to be forever kiiiinda didn't feel like the average YA. This isn't a negative, more a comment!+ The actual story = not a lot happened.Work. Eating a sandwich. Avoiding the social worker's questions. Etc. Etc. It was a bit tedious to me and halfway through I kind of wandered away. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ But I came back. I am a conqueror. + So let's talk about the autism rep a second, okay?!I'm always super excited to read ASD books because I'm on the spectrum and we get the most HORRIBLE rep generally. This book absolutely slams you with the bad stuff too though: misdiagnosis, being told "I know there's a real you locked in there somewhere!" and bad parents and ableism slurs. But the book unpacks them. Makes Alvie react to them. Reject them. Makes the good people reject them. That's how it should be in autistic books. And Alvie herself was an amazing and pretty accurate (imo) depiction of a girl on the spectrum! I particularly loved how she haaates smells (SAME and it never comes up in books!!). But she also has super severe PTSD, so like don't mix those symptoms up with her ASD. My only negative is that she was VERY intense with her missing of social cues, which (for reasons) I felt wasn't realistic. Like she's been in therapy as a kid + she's a girl and we're more likely to at least know we're messing up the social cues. But Alvie was like "here let me give you 38 facts about rabbits" and it just felt stereotyped.But it. was. still. such. good. rep AND THERE WERE SO MANY WHOLESOME MOMENTS I JUST !!!+ And the ship!? SHIP IT.Stanley is like the absolute sweetest guy ever, with also a bucket load of problems. He definitely has depression/anxiety and tons of issues from his past aaaaand he's got a severe disability where he breaks bones really easily. So he walks with a cane, is occasionally in a wheelchair, and is often in and out of hospital. I loved reading about him. He was a sweetheart but also had messy reactions to things and screwed up and just AHHH. STANLEY. Flawed but heartfelt characters are my faves. (view spoiler)[aLSO THAT MOMENT when Alvie knew Stanley might go deaf so she goes and starts learning sign language!!!! MY HEART. (hide spoiler)]+ It's also majorly built on the book Watership Down!Which I know!! Nothing!! About!! AT ALL!! Ok so I missed a ton of references and it was annoying at times, but I still enjoyed the book.+ There's tons of frustrating things too, but we're dealing with a book about kids really struggling with mental health too.So of COURSE they're going to make crappy decisions. I think it was really well presented and handled, even though both of them arghhh. Just stop, children. Stop and sit down and TALK.Anyway, my solid answer to this book is: yes. Even if I was kind of bored in the middle haha. I mean, I think this book would be great for people facing adulting (ALTHOUGH don't make the decisions Alvie does; holy heck) and just trying to find their way in the world. The ending had me all feeling squishy. And I love how these are two teens who are a bit broken and life has kicked them and they have disabilities -- but there are no messages of 'you need to be fixed'. NONE. I'm so freaking pleased. More like this thanks.
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  • destiny ☠ howling libraries
    January 1, 1970
    I want to preface this review by saying that I am not autistic, not do I suffer from the disability that Stanley suffers from, and I can only speak as an outsider looking in; however, any and all own-voice opinions and reviews would be welcomed and I would be happy to boost your review if you DM me or drop me a comment! Why did everyone act like it was my fault when the other kids bullied me? Why was I always the one who had to change? Going into a book with a romance between an autistic MC and I want to preface this review by saying that I am not autistic, not do I suffer from the disability that Stanley suffers from, and I can only speak as an outsider looking in; however, any and all own-voice opinions and reviews would be welcomed and I would be happy to boost your review if you DM me or drop me a comment! Why did everyone act like it was my fault when the other kids bullied me? Why was I always the one who had to change? Going into a book with a romance between an autistic MC and her disabled love interest is the sort of thing that makes me feel very wary – will it be good, authentic rep? Will these characters be painted positively? Will I find myself knee-deep in tropes and cheap shots? Again, while I can’t speak from experience, I found myself feeling really pleased by the rep in this book and the way issues were handled. There were so many potential tropes that the author cleanly subverted, and I was so invested in this story and these characters that I genuinely did not want it to end. Happiness is not a priority. Survival is. Staying sane is. Pointing out that I’m not happy is like pointing out to a starving homeless man that he doesn’t have a sensible retirement plan. It might be true, but it’s entirely beside the point. As a child, Alvie was diagnosed with Asperger’s, and was told that she had to “get better”, or she would never get anywhere in life. Now, she’s 17 years old and determined to prove the world wrong, and wow, is she fierce. Her commitment to taking care of herself would be noble enough in any teen, but for her, the stakes are so much higher, and her fear of being put into a group home broke my heart. In fact, it was the very first thing in this story that was eye-opening for me: empathizing with the thought that someone could be threatened with having their freedoms taken away from them, just because they don’t interact with the world in what we’ve deemed as “socially acceptable”. Technically my condition doesn’t even exist anymore; if I ever go back to the doctor, they’ll presumably have to find some other label to stick on me. The specific words don’t matter. I’ll always be this way. Despite the fact that so much of the story is heavy, focusing on Alvie’s determination to simply survive through each day, her commentary on the world around her is refreshing and, often, really mood-lifting. She loves animals dearly and has some particularly wide words on nature as a whole, but also, she manages to point out how people, in their day-to-day lives, do so many strange or unnecessary things – whose authority was it to deem them as “normal”? The idea that autistic people don’t feel compassion is just an ugly stereotype, but it’s a viewpoint I’ve encountered even from some professionals, despite obvious evidence to the contrary. More than anything, though, I loved how kind Alvie is. She is so concerned with the world around her, and though she doesn’t always know how to express them, her intentions are always in the right place. Especially when she meets Stanley, the young man with the cane who comes to visit her park everyday. As she grows to know and care for him, Alvie cares more about his well-being than anything else, and she blooms into this incredibly loving and nurturing young woman, even when it means sacrificing her own happiness. Nothing about me is easy. If you asked me to choose who I loved more between Alvie and Stanley, to be honest, I don’t think I could. He matches Alvie’s compassion, but he’s terrified of not being “enough” – of being unable to protect her, or to be her equal, due to his own disability and mental health. Not only does he suffer from a condition called osteogenesis imperfecta – or, as he says, “a fancy way of saying my bones break easily” – but we also learn that familial abuse has given him terrible PTSD. We’ll come back to that in a moment, but it leads me to my next point: Does he assume that just because I’m different, I’m incapable of having a sexual relationship with anyone? That I’m unable even to feel desire? This story focuses on an incredible amount of sex, and the way that it is handled made me want to cry tears of joy, because it is absolutely the kind of rep that we need in YA/NA books. There is a tremendous amount of talk surrounding consent (especially due to Alvie’s touch aversions and sensitivity to stimulus), and the characters are unafraid to sit down and talk about what is or isn’t comfortable for them. There’s a lot of sex positivity regarding one night stands and casual sex, but there’s also mention of how emotional sex can be between two individuals who care deeply for one another.Both characters are virgins, and there are conversations about how terrifying that first time can be, or how toxic masculinity affects young men who don’t have sex immediately after puberty. There’s just so much important content about sex in this book, including the fact that, in this m/f couple, the guy is the one who’s “not ready”, and the girl is the one who has to tamp down her carnal desires and be patient. I just loved their whole relationship so much, for so many reasons, that I couldn’t even list them all here. “When the ones who hurt you are the people who love you most… no one ever tells you how you’re supposed to deal with that.” Finally, the last major topic Steiger addresses: abuse, in many different forms, as well as the guilt that can come with being an autistic or disabled individual with loved ones who don’t share your struggles. There is a lot of talk about feeling like a burden, or feeling “not good enough”, and Alvie shares a few flashbacks to painful moments and things her mother said to her, as well as an incredibly traumatic experience her mother put her through as a preteen. Despite all of these focuses on the negative outcomes of Alvie and Stanley’s respective family problems, the theme throughout the book remains the same: it should never be an autistic, mentally ill, or disabled person’s responsibility to feel guilty, useless, or broken. Instead, it should be society’s responsibility to learn how to offer compassion, empathy, accessibility, and understanding.When My Heart Joins the Thousand isn’t your typical contemporary, and these aren’t your typical YA characters. This story is so unique, and so precious, and so heavy, and so special. I am so, so happy to have had the opportunity to read it, and I sincerely hope that Steiger writes more important work like this in the future.Content warnings: ableism, PTSD, mental illness, assault, suicide, abuse, homophobia.All quotes are taken from an unfinished ARC and may differ from the finished product. Thank you so much to HarperTeen for granted me this ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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  • katwiththehat
    January 1, 1970
    In this YA novel, Alvie, a girl with autism who works at a zoo and wishes to be emancipated, meets and falls for Stanley, a guy with a musculoskeletal disorder who’s in college and has recently suffered a loss. I really like the diversity represented in this one. Alvie and Stanley’s romance was sweet. There were places I wished the book moved faster. The book did a good job of presenting the viewpoint of characters with two differences, but also contained microaggression towards different-abled In this YA novel, Alvie, a girl with autism who works at a zoo and wishes to be emancipated, meets and falls for Stanley, a guy with a musculoskeletal disorder who’s in college and has recently suffered a loss. I really like the diversity represented in this one. Alvie and Stanley’s romance was sweet. There were places I wished the book moved faster. The book did a good job of presenting the viewpoint of characters with two differences, but also contained microaggression towards different-abled people with other conditions that felt stigmatizing. And maybe the problem is just that the author isn’t writing from an #ownvoices perspective and doesn’t *get* that when you’re differently-abled, those words are really, really hurtful. There were lines that contained microaggression towards the Deaf community, we saw the tired old stigmatizing trope of “everyone with schizophrenia is violent”, and I really hated this one:I shouldn’t have to tell them. Other people aren’t expected to disclose personal medical information in an interview. Would someone say, ‘Oh, before you hire me, I should mention I have a terrible case of hemorrhoids.’”“It’s not like that. This isn’t something you need to be embarrassed about.” On the one hand, I appreciate what the author was trying to do. The point was the main character shouldn’t be embarrassed about her Asperger’s. But why take a cheap shot at another stigmatized medical condition in the process? Maybe it's just supposed to play as a poop joke, but in a book about how medical conditions and differences are stigmatized? The author's writing just comes across as sweetly clueless to what it's really like to have a disability. Or that she's even aware things connected to the butt like anal and colorectal cancer don't get talked about because of stigma. And how exactly is that joke supposed to play to the son of my former co-worker, who because of a birth defect, had to get a colostomy bag when he was 5 months old? The whole point of this book was two characters who were born different accepting and loving themselves and each other, as is. I really wished that line have been: “It’s not like that. And you know what, even if you did have a terrible case of hemorrhoids, it wouldn’t be anything to be embarrassed about.”In short, this book tried to deliver a good message, and in many places succeeded, but would have benefited from sensitivity readers to clean up a few yikes moments. 3/5 stars.Please excuse typos/name misspellings. Entered on screen reader.
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  • ✨ Kaira ✨
    January 1, 1970
    Plot - 5Writing style - 5Characters - 5Romance - 5In which a seventeen-year-old girl met a nineteen-year-old boy in the park. Both have their own challenges in life. One was mentally challenged while the other one had an issue with bones. • Plot - to tell you the truth, the plot was somewhere between original and cliche. Sure, I've stumbled upon many plots that are parallel with this. However, what makes When My Heart Joins a Thousand remarkable was the twists it held. Personally, I am not much Plot - 5Writing style - 5Characters - 5Romance - 5In which a seventeen-year-old girl met a nineteen-year-old boy in the park. Both have their own challenges in life. One was mentally challenged while the other one had an issue with bones. • Plot - to tell you the truth, the plot was somewhere between original and cliche. Sure, I've stumbled upon many plots that are parallel with this. However, what makes When My Heart Joins a Thousand remarkable was the twists it held. Personally, I am not much of a contemporary reader but for some reason, as soon as my eyes read the title, I was immediately hooked. Plus, the novel was pretty short so why not give it a shot. Like what I said, its very twist was what blew my mind away. Contemporary reads don't have a strong point when it comes to plot twist but in this case, it was a piece of cake. • writing style - usually, when I read contemporaries, I find it a challenge to finish it in one sitting because I tend to get bored halfway through the book. But boy, I flew right through this. The next thing I know, I am reading the acknowledgements. In short, I read this masterpiece in one sitting. Absolutely no dull moments. The authors know how to kept the suspense about the characters' pasts for so long without boring us. • characters 1. Alvie - this is my second time reading a character who has Asperger's Syndrome. Look, I am no genius when it comes to the said syndrome but I have to commend the author for doing all the research because the character was well potrayed. I am not sure if it's an Asperger Syndrome thing or what but as usual, the character was smart. Throughout the novel, I grew fond of Alvie. I don't remember a time not wanting to hug her despite her discomfort when it comes to human contact. She was indeed a strong independent girl. Usually, I loathe it when characters do something a bit humiliating but in her case, I just find it amusing. No, I am not making fun of her because she was mentally challenged. I just find her really cute and straightforward. 2. Stanley - as far as I can remember, this is my first time reading a book that has the name Stanley as the lead. I don't know why but there was just something about the name that makes it cute. Stanley is this very cute and innocent boy. I just want to keep him. I admire his patience and determination. • Romance - usually, when reading about mentally challenged characters and those who were broke af, the romance was not totally the type of romance that makes you giggle and blush. It falls in the category of crying and being in awe at how much they love each other despite the tragedies. In this case, When My Heart Joins a Thousand, it falls in both. It's not insta-love. Was not forced just because all they both have was each other. Needless to say, the romance was perfect.
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  • Samantha (WLABB)
    January 1, 1970
    Whoa! That was gut punch. Some tears were shed, but by the end, they were happy tears. This book provided such an interesting look at independence and finding one's self. This was quite an emotional journey, during which I shed many tears. But I can assure you, I was shedding happy tears by the end of this book.•Pro: I was such an Alvie fan. She was honest, to the point, and quite funny. She was a fantastic narrator, and I loved listening to her observations and musings. I also cared for her so Whoa! That was gut punch. Some tears were shed, but by the end, they were happy tears. This book provided such an interesting look at independence and finding one's self. This was quite an emotional journey, during which I shed many tears. But I can assure you, I was shedding happy tears by the end of this book.•Pro: I was such an Alvie fan. She was honest, to the point, and quite funny. She was a fantastic narrator, and I loved listening to her observations and musings. I also cared for her so much, she deserved so much more than the hand she was dealt, and I just wanted to see her achieve everything her heart desired. •Pro: I loved Stanley. He was sweet and caring, but most of all, he didn't want to change Alvie. He made an effort to learn about ASD, because he wanted to know how to make her more comfortable, not to "cure" her. •Pro: Alvie was a big reader, who mostly loved animals and science. There were so many cool discussion about the two. The science stuff I am well acquainted with, but I learned a ton about animals from her. •Pro: I have read a few books featuring neurodivergent characters, and this one ranks up with the great ones. It made me think so much about what is "normal" or "typical", and also wove things into the story to educate me about people on the spectrum and help clear up some of those misconceptions that run rampant. •Pro: My emotions! My emotions! For a good part of the book, there were these heartbreaking flashbacks that kept making me shed tears. I felt physical pain for Alvie and everything she had suffered in her past. I also shed some tears of joy, when things went her way. •Pro: Both Alvie and Stanley are dealing with rough pasts. I was overwhelmed with happiness when they found each other. Pro: A+ for that ending! I swear, it had me wanting to dance on the mountain top. Bravo! Overall: This story was, at times, intense and heartbreaking, but ultimately, hopeful. I absolutely enjoyed taking this journey with Alvie as she fought for to be independent, to survive, and to be loved. *ARC provided in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Jodi Meadows
    January 1, 1970
    Heart-squeezing emotion.
  • Jessica (novelcravings)
    January 1, 1970
    Originally posted at NOVELcravings, review copy courtesy of Harper Collins.This is one of those books that upon finishing it, I hugged it tightly to my chest. And I know that it is undoubtedly one of the best books of 2018 and I wish more people were talking about it! The author had me fall in love with her characters, care greatly for their journey and put me through every emotion possible. It was both movingly beautiful and painfully heartbreaking. If you read When My Heart Joins The Thousand, Originally posted at NOVELcravings, review copy courtesy of Harper Collins.This is one of those books that upon finishing it, I hugged it tightly to my chest. And I know that it is undoubtedly one of the best books of 2018 and I wish more people were talking about it! The author had me fall in love with her characters, care greatly for their journey and put me through every emotion possible. It was both movingly beautiful and painfully heartbreaking. If you read When My Heart Joins The Thousand, and let me be clear I recommend it to everyone, you will know what I mean.The main character, Alvie is a foster child who lives independently while pursuing emancipation. Her fear is that she will be placed in a group home if the judge decides her Aspergers means she is incapable of being a functioning member of society. I can’t speak for the rep in this book, and there’s a lot, (mental health, abuse, disability, autism) but I think it was done well and handled respectfully. Like I said, this book makes you feel the whole rainbow of emotions. I felt love and admiration for Alvie because she never gives up despite all she’s been through. I was angry for her, at the broken system that failed her and must fail people in real life. I was disgusted actually, that society expected her to “get better” and be “normal”. But I also felt a lot of happy, especially every time Alvie did something outside her comfort zone, she is a truly inspiring character.People with Aspergers tend to be blunt and so was the writing, in a way I think more YA should be. Teens don’t only need flowery stories of happy ever after, they need real stories that reflect the lives they live every day. Alvie doesn’t always understand sarcasm or societies way of constantly putting on a show. For example, when she has to attend court she can’t understand why a suit, instead of jeans and a t-shirt, helps prove her ability to be independent. And she’s right. I could relate to that. The characters are also very frank and honest about sex – this is so important for YA! Communication was clear, consent was there. Thank you, A J Steiger, for writing about two teens who handled sex in a very healthy way. This is what I would want my teenager to read.Let it be known, the writing and pacing and all that important jazz were good. But I won’t talk about that in detail because more importantly, this book moved me. It is rare that a book makes me feel all the feels I did with this one AND I still think about it almost daily. I can’t tell you the last time a book impacted me like this.I gave this book all the stars.Go read it.
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  • Misty
    January 1, 1970
    I'm not sure how to review this book. I thought that it was a good read, but at times it seemed kind of over the top. You don't hear many 17 year olds living on their own and it seemed like Alvie was on her own since she was 15 with a full time job and her own apartment. I'm way older than her, have a full time job, but still can't live in my own apartment. She was doing pretty good for herself and then the last 100 pages, everything seemed to full apart for Alvie, but then things got good again I'm not sure how to review this book. I thought that it was a good read, but at times it seemed kind of over the top. You don't hear many 17 year olds living on their own and it seemed like Alvie was on her own since she was 15 with a full time job and her own apartment. I'm way older than her, have a full time job, but still can't live in my own apartment. She was doing pretty good for herself and then the last 100 pages, everything seemed to full apart for Alvie, but then things got good again. Stanley, ooohhh Stanley!! Stanley was perfect, maybe too perfect even with his disablity. I loved him and I loved how he accepted who Alvie was though. Books like this just break my heart, but in a good way if that even makes sense!!???
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  • Madison
    January 1, 1970
    When My Heart Joins The Thousand offers a beautiful insight into growing up and learning to accept your self.Alvie has only another year until she will legally be free - free from fear of being returned to the foster care system, free to continue living on her own terms, free from the continual assessment of others as seeing her as something different, something other. When a young man enters the sphere of her daily routine she is at first shaken, but then takes up the opportunity to prove that When My Heart Joins The Thousand offers a beautiful insight into growing up and learning to accept your self.Alvie has only another year until she will legally be free - free from fear of being returned to the foster care system, free to continue living on her own terms, free from the continual assessment of others as seeing her as something different, something other. When a young man enters the sphere of her daily routine she is at first shaken, but then takes up the opportunity to prove that even she can enjoy the closeness of others. But her relationship with Stanley is nothing like she imagined. As Alvie faces the challenges of living alone, fights for her freedom, and faces her past, it is her relationship with Stanley that prompts her to reassess everything she knows about herself and love.Well, that is one intense prologue. Talk about getting thrown right into the story. Actually, intense is the perfect descriptor for this book. It tackles so many important themes in an upfront and honest way. It is intense in an unputdownable way and I greatly enjoyed reading Alvie's story.Alvie is a wonderful narrator and main character - she is the driving force behind this book and the reason it is so powerful. It is her story, told in her way. Alvie has Aspergers. At times, it defines who she believes she is and what she can do, but this book focuses on her journey of seeing herself outside of her diagnosis and outside of her past. When My Heart Joins the Thousand captures all the complexities and ups and downs as Alvie fights to become emancipated, as she faces the continued challenge of others' judgment or expectations, as she struggles to balance steady employment and housing, and as she meets Stanley and assesses how this will change the routine of her life. Alvie is a unique, individual, and deeply layered character - perfect for this character-driven novel.Alvie and Stanley's relationship is both heartbreaking and incredibly sweet. Neither of them has anyone else on whom to lean. They need each other and yet they are both so afraid of hurting each other. Their romance may not have a conventional start, in fact, there may not be anything 'standard' about their relationship, but instead it is authentic and incredibly moving. I loved Stanley. Loved his deeply caring nature. Loved his patience with Alvie as she both pushes him away and pulls him close. As Alvie slowly learns more about him and his story, it was so easy to fall in love with him. When My Heart Joins The Thousand is suitable for a very mature young adult audience. I would actually classify it as new adult fiction, due in part because of the frequent and detailed sexual content, but also because the challenges the characters face are very much relevant for an older young adult reader. That said, I think it is the perfect addition to this crossover category, offering a much-needed, well-considered, and powerful approach to issues surrounding coming of age, relationships, and independence.When My Heart Joins The Thousand is a powerful novel that captures the anguish of being different and the magic that comes from being accepted for who you are. Romance, self-discover, and triumph over emotional trauma combine in this heartfelt novel. The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.Find more reviews, reading age guides, content advisory, and recommendations on my blog Madison's Library.
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    This book did an excellent job of making me care about its characters. Alvie is a 17-year old girl with Asperger's, and her journey is one that is emotional and awful and beautiful. I so rooted for her!I'm so glad that books like this one and TV shows like Atypical are depicting those on the autism scale who seem often misunderstood and mistreated. It feels like a small glimpse into their lives, and I appreciated this book's unflinching look there.This is great story that truly moved me - I hope This book did an excellent job of making me care about its characters. Alvie is a 17-year old girl with Asperger's, and her journey is one that is emotional and awful and beautiful. I so rooted for her!I'm so glad that books like this one and TV shows like Atypical are depicting those on the autism scale who seem often misunderstood and mistreated. It feels like a small glimpse into their lives, and I appreciated this book's unflinching look there.This is great story that truly moved me - I hope everyone picks it up.
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    "Becoming too attached too quickly can be just as detrimental as solitude.""Love can make people irrational, cause them to behave stupidly and recklessly. Or worse. I don't associate love with safety or warmth; I associate it with fear, with losing control. With drowning.""I want to make him understand that the scars don't matter, the pain and fear doesn't matter, because he is my life mate and I know that in every cell of my body."Soundtrack: I Knew This Would Be Love by Imaginary Future
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  • Thorn
    January 1, 1970
    I'm so torn about this book as a disabled person. On one hand, there was some decent-ish disability rep, but on the other hand, some of it was stereotypical and my biggest issue that there's a loooot of internalized ableism that was not really appropriately dealt with and it just rubbed me the wrong way. :/
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  • Kelly Hager
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely loved this book. It's an unconventional love story between two imperfect people. Alvie is hard to like (she's not good with people at all) and Stanley is incredibly shy and both bear scars from their respective families. Life has not been particularly kind to either of them. And yet, they've managed to carve out their spaces in the world. When they meet, they manage to form a friendship that---of course, right?---becomes something else. And yet this love story defies expectations at I absolutely loved this book. It's an unconventional love story between two imperfect people. Alvie is hard to like (she's not good with people at all) and Stanley is incredibly shy and both bear scars from their respective families. Life has not been particularly kind to either of them. And yet, they've managed to carve out their spaces in the world. When they meet, they manage to form a friendship that---of course, right?---becomes something else. And yet this love story defies expectations at every turn.  It broke my heart and made me smile and was exactly the story I needed. I cannot recommend it fiercely enough.
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  • Carla A
    January 1, 1970
    I found this to be a beautiful and difficult story. A tad of a fairy tale ending in a way but for me what makes this title so significant is that it really shows how easy it is to become homeless. Not difficult to see why so many foster kids (not that Alvie the main female protag is one but she is an orphaned emancipated - or about to be minor so kind of in a sub group) end up on the streets.
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  • DaNae
    January 1, 1970
    Two fragile people combine to create a stronger whole. Most honest romance I've read in years. Fans of Matthew Quick, have a look.
  • Mina
    January 1, 1970
    "To me, she was always Mama. I never found out who she was outside of that. I'll never have the chance."
  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    A beautifully told story, wow.
  • Rehan Abd Jamil
    January 1, 1970
    Watership down.
  • Jamie
    January 1, 1970
    Well that was equal parts beautiful and harrowing. As all good YA is, I suppose. That said, it's the third book I've read in 36 hours with a female first-person protagonist suffering from social anxiety or mental illness or autism or etc. I need a break.
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  • Melissa
    January 1, 1970
    It's been a couple of weeks since I finished this book, and I've been struggling to find the words to write this review. It's often easier to write reviews for books that are flawed, but harder to write reviews for books that I loved, especially when they touched my heart in such a unique way. When My Heart Joins the Thousand is one of those books.I feel like this book will fly under the radar this year, and this makes me wish that I had one of those blogs with thousands of readers so that I cou It's been a couple of weeks since I finished this book, and I've been struggling to find the words to write this review. It's often easier to write reviews for books that are flawed, but harder to write reviews for books that I loved, especially when they touched my heart in such a unique way. When My Heart Joins the Thousand is one of those books.I feel like this book will fly under the radar this year, and this makes me wish that I had one of those blogs with thousands of readers so that I could share a rave review and instantly have thousands of people rush to their local bookstores to purchase this book. Alas, I am a small book blog, but my love for this book is REAL.Our heroine, Alvie, is everything that I have ever hoped for in a contemporary YA heroine. She's fierce, determined, flawed and perfectly human. While it's apparent from the early pages of the story that Alvie struggles with fitting in, I loved that this is not the central aspect of the story. Although it is a book about mental health, it's more about the world not fitting with how Alvie sees and interprets the world around her, and her views are so genuine that her story tore my heart out again and again. I wanted to jump into the book and rage against the injustices that she faced, but I also tore through page after page, rooting for her along the way.This book has it all. It's the sweetest love story, a story of both friendship and something more. It made me laugh, cry, rage and then run through the whole range of emotions all over again. When My Heart Joins the Thousand is truly one of those perfectly memorable books and one that will stick with you long after the last page has turned. Please run, don't walk, to the nearest bookstore to get your hands on a copy -- I promise that you won't be disappointed.Note: An egalley was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Anne Oftedahl
    January 1, 1970
    THIS IS SO GOOD!!I absolutely love the voice in this, and the overall story, and all the characteristics, and just... everything!Only thing I can pick on is the fact that, while Alvie is meant to be diagnosed with Asperger's, I'd say from her behaviour and thought process, and especially the thing about touch, that she's closer to Autism. I know Asperger's is on the Autism spectrum, and I am absolutely no expert, but as both my brother and one of my flat-mates are diagnosed with Asperger's, this THIS IS SO GOOD!!I absolutely love the voice in this, and the overall story, and all the characteristics, and just... everything!Only thing I can pick on is the fact that, while Alvie is meant to be diagnosed with Asperger's, I'd say from her behaviour and thought process, and especially the thing about touch, that she's closer to Autism. I know Asperger's is on the Autism spectrum, and I am absolutely no expert, but as both my brother and one of my flat-mates are diagnosed with Asperger's, this just seems much more serious than that...
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  • Sarah {Literary Meanderings}
    January 1, 1970
    ♥ Find my reviews here: Literary Meanderings- - -As a sort of disclaimer before this review: I just want to say that I am in no way able to review this as someone who personally understands either Asperger's or the medical condition Stanley suffers from, as I have neither. I can only review this book as an outsider looking in. :)That being said, I loved this book!Alvie was a lovely character. She is 17 years old and seeking emancipation so that she can avoid being “in the system” until she is 18 ♥ Find my reviews here: Literary Meanderings- - -As a sort of disclaimer before this review: I just want to say that I am in no way able to review this as someone who personally understands either Asperger's or the medical condition Stanley suffers from, as I have neither. I can only review this book as an outsider looking in. :)That being said, I loved this book!Alvie was a lovely character. She is 17 years old and seeking emancipation so that she can avoid being “in the system” until she is 18. She is simple, yet complex. She loves animals and identifies with the rabbit(s) in the book Watership Down. In many ways, Alvie is like them; trying to survive in a harsh world where things are working against you. I can see why she loves and quotes this book so much in When My Heart Joins the Thousand. The story is a big source of strength for Alvie.We go through a good portion of the book knowing that Alvie isn't like most girls her age, but not having an actual name for what is different about her (I refuse to say "wrong" with her, because it isn't wrong to be different). Ignorant people (kids/teens) in the book refer to her as “retarded” or make fun of her for simply being “weird”. It was apparent to me, personally, that she was somewhere within the autism spectrum, but I don't know enough about it to have pinned it down. This book inspired me to read more about it, and I found out that Asperger's has only recently been considered to be within the spectrum of autism. I will say this: I do work with someone with Asperger's. He's 21 years old, so not TOO much older than Alvie. Alvie portrayed similar characteristics to this person. So, for me, when it was finally unveiled, it all made sense. I don't know everything about Asperger's, but based on my limited knowledge, I thought Alvie was portrayed very well.As for where her parents went? Well, I am ashamed to say I don't remember any mention of her father. I know he wasn't in the book, but I don't remember if he died or left the family. BUT, there is a lot of flashback on Alvie and her mother. The story is actually quite tragic and sad. Alvie's mother struggled greatly with having an autistic daughter. She couldn't understand it and just decided to medicate the hell out of Alvie and make things worse. Eventually, things take a terrible turn, and this ends with her mother dying and leaving Alvie in search of emancipation. I very much enjoyed the flashback elements of the story. It made me feel so much sympathy and empathy for Alvie that I was in tears. It was so important to the story and so well done on the author's part.I think it is important to note that, regardless of her having Asperger's, Alvie was able to live independently. She is proof that you don't have to be held back by something like this. She had her own apartment, a job, and eventually, a romantic relationship. Did she have struggles? ABSOLUTELY. But who doesn't? I cry at work at least once a week due to severe anxiety. We all struggle. What matters is what we do when faced with these challenges. So, when Alvie loses her job, she applies at every place she can in search of a new job. She works very hard to make sure she can pay her bills, just like everyone else. She is different, but she is not. I think a bit part of this story was highlighting the fact that she, and others like her, can do anything we can do. They can live a full, productive life.Let's touch on the romance, shall we? It was realistically awkward and adorable. Alvie first discovers Stanley when she begins to see him in a park she frequents daily. One of these days, he's visibly upset and throws his phone into a pond. Alvie decides to fish it out after he leaves and fixes it. She then ends up emailing him to say HEY, I SAVED YOUR PHONE FROM AN UNTIMELY DEATH. The two talk via internet for awhile and become friends. Eventually the two meet in person. Alvie has a certain proposition for Stanley, and this sparks a more intimate relationship. The two of them struggle through this relationship for many reasons—some of it due to Alvie, some of it not—but they ultimately work it out and it is beautiful. The two of them find comfort and strength in the other. They have a special romance that is unlike any other I've read about before. I loved it and it even brought me to tears when I was nearing the end of the book. Just lovely.The only negative I have for this book is that the story itself seemed to drag a bit at times, slowing down a lot in places. It wasn't a big deal, clearly, but worth mentioning.Overall, this book is just amazing! The characters are so very unique and lovable. I was extremely invested in their stories both together and apart. I think this book is a wonderful example of a strong female character overcoming obstacle after obstacle and still coming out on top. The entire story is very emotionally moving and deeply touching. I definitely recommend it for everyone. :)- - -Book source: Via publisher for reviewPublisher: HarperTeen• For more of my reviews, check out my blog!
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  • Lisa (Remarkablylisa)
    January 1, 1970
    MY RATING: 4/5 STARSI received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This book guys. This book made ripped me open, exposed the ugliest bits of me, made me cry and laugh, made me feel, and made me everything. My Heart Joins the Thousand has got to be my favourite read this entire year so far and I know 2018 just started but I know it'll be a top favourite book of mine by the time December comes along. My Heart Joins the Thousand tells the story of Alvie, a girl who has aspe MY RATING: 4/5 STARSI received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This book guys. This book made ripped me open, exposed the ugliest bits of me, made me cry and laugh, made me feel, and made me everything. My Heart Joins the Thousand has got to be my favourite read this entire year so far and I know 2018 just started but I know it'll be a top favourite book of mine by the time December comes along. My Heart Joins the Thousand tells the story of Alvie, a girl who has asperger's syndrome. After the tragic death of her mother, Alvie chooses to be legally emancipated and to live life by herself. She has a job at the local zoo, rents out an apartment by herself, makes ham sandwiches, and occasionally people watch in the park nearby. Her life is routine and she likes it that way. She keeps to herself so when a boy, close to her age, catches her eye, she's intrigued by him. Who is this boy that is sitting on the bench in her park and invading her space? Alvie and Stanley soon become friends after a series of email exchanges and phone chats. They're both different. Stanley suffers a rare condition where his bones are so fragile, he can break anything from a simple fall. They are two people who don't quite fit in society. They're outsiders that find each other. I loved everything about this book because it was emotionally so raw. Readers will have a chance of experiencing everything Alvie experiences. I felt like I was her when she suffered anxiety attacks or when she didn't know how to react when other people said something out of the ordinary or acted differently. There were so many times I suffered bookish hangovers because I was in Alvie's mindset. It was refreshing to read something that really sucked me under. The backstory of Alvie was so much more complicated than I originally thought. It touches upon sensitive topics that are taboo and hard to discuss and understand. I loved it.The problem with this book is that the story takes place in kind of a perfect world. In real life, I highly doubt two teenagers can make enough from a job that pays the minimum wage to afford rent for two apartments respectively without any help from a roommate. Did I mention that Stanley doesn't even work? The world felt isolated. It felt like AJ Steiger put a dome on these two characters. Furthermore, there was kind of some instalove. I'm not going to lie. Alvie is intrigued by Stanley by a mere glance. But it's not so bad because they did exchange emails for weeks so I guess that's some time. Also, I found it really hard to keep track of time in this book. I didn't know if 3 weeks passed or 2 months passed in this book. It just kind of springs up on you that so and so have been chilling with themselves all this time. MY RECOMMENDATION PLEASE READ THIS BOOK GUYS
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  • Celia Whimsy)
    January 1, 1970
    This book...I don't even know where to start. It was everything you should read. I'm going to go ahead and say it is up there with my favorite books of the year so far.This book follows Alvie, a seventeen-year-old girl with Asperger syndrome living on her own awaiting the day when she can legally be called an adult. Going outside of her comfort zone, she strikes up a friendship with a boy who suffers from a condition called osteogenesis imperfecta. In simple terms, he has fragile bones that brea This book...I don't even know where to start. It was everything you should read. I'm going to go ahead and say it is up there with my favorite books of the year so far.This book follows Alvie, a seventeen-year-old girl with Asperger syndrome living on her own awaiting the day when she can legally be called an adult. Going outside of her comfort zone, she strikes up a friendship with a boy who suffers from a condition called osteogenesis imperfecta. In simple terms, he has fragile bones that break easily. Such an disease can also cause hearing loss among other permanent conditions. Both are trying to live normal lives the best they can and deal with the fact that both are not perfect and will never be normal socially. Also, Alvie's favorite book is Watership Down. Did I mention how awesome that it?All I have learned about Asperger's I have learned from television shows and movies. This opened my eyes a lot to what people go through. The panic attacks, the depression, and not to mention the suffering of people around those who have Aspberger's. Alvie lost her mother at a young ago and blames herself. It's something that will dig into your chest and rip out your heart.This book is one that may not get a lot of attention and I hope to change that at least a little. I have never met a character so in love with the same book (Watership Down) as I am and always will be and I connected right away to her. The chills I got when reading my favorite line from the book, "My heart has joined the Thousand for my friend stopped running today."Full on sobbing tears.So, read this book if you can and also, while we're at it, read Watership Down because you will not find a more raw and beautiful book if you tried. Well, by my opinion of course.“All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies, and whenever they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you, digger, listener, runner, prince with the swift warning. Be cunning and full of tricks and your people shall never be destroyed.”
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  • Jeanette
    January 1, 1970
    I’ve been wanting to read more YA - a couple current things, lots of good ones from years past to catch up on - so I picked up this one, and damn, was it depressing and uncomfy from the very beginning. Throughout the story, this feeling softened as I grew to root for the characters, but part of me wishes there wasn’t quite so much trauma in there, or that we could have known more about the characters’ lives prior to when those tragedies took over. However, this means there was lots for readers t I’ve been wanting to read more YA - a couple current things, lots of good ones from years past to catch up on - so I picked up this one, and damn, was it depressing and uncomfy from the very beginning. Throughout the story, this feeling softened as I grew to root for the characters, but part of me wishes there wasn’t quite so much trauma in there, or that we could have known more about the characters’ lives prior to when those tragedies took over. However, this means there was lots for readers to potentially identify with (social disability, physical disability, single parents, death of loved ones, suicide & suicidal thoughts, financial stress & homelessness, foster care, etc etc), which I think is great and honestly probably one of the hallmarks of YA. I’m not familiar enough with autism & Aspergers to know how “typical” (terrible word choice, sorry) some of Alvie’s words & actions, but you can really see why someone with a social disability like that would struggle in our society today. Overall, this book was sweet but sad (but hopeful!!), and an important call for kindness and empathy in the workforce (and life, obviously).
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  • Angie
    January 1, 1970
    I'm trying to think what other book I read recently that dealt with Asperger's and I couldn't STAND IT! Meanwhile, this book, where the main character also has Aperger's, was so much more intriguing, genuine, and I loved reading this book with her in it! And Stanley too, he was also great. Need a teen book that deals with mental health? This one. Rare bone diseases? This one. Zoos and treating animals humanely? This book. Unhealthy relationships and abusive parents? This book. (view spoiler)[Hom I'm trying to think what other book I read recently that dealt with Asperger's and I couldn't STAND IT! Meanwhile, this book, where the main character also has Aperger's, was so much more intriguing, genuine, and I loved reading this book with her in it! And Stanley too, he was also great. Need a teen book that deals with mental health? This one. Rare bone diseases? This one. Zoos and treating animals humanely? This book. Unhealthy relationships and abusive parents? This book. (view spoiler)[Homelessness? This book. Sex for first timers with constant and enthusiastic consent? This book. The first time I've ever seen a YA book with a blow job in it? This book! (hide spoiler)] Obviously it's for older teens as Alvie is 17 and is attempting to become legally emancipated, but it covers so many topics in such a good way I think any mature teen could read it.
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  • Caitlin Carnes
    January 1, 1970
    Wow.This is a beautiful gut-punch of a book. It's a difficult read, for a lot of reasons, but an important one.The book itself is gorgeously written, made more so by Tavia Gilbert's stunning narration of the audiobook. I think everyone should read it in any format, but for a truly heartbreaking, immersive experience, I highly recommend listening to it. One of my favorites of 2018, for sure. This one will stick with me for a very long time.
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  • Ruth Santiago
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed this book. At some points it felt slow through. But then the pace would pick up and then there would be tears.... I really found it interesting that the POV is from the vantage point of a woman with a disability that to me added a star.
  • Crazy Book Eater
    January 1, 1970
    3,5.
  • Bookish
    January 1, 1970
    Beautiful book that had me crying both tears of happiness and sadness. Alvie and Stanley will forever been in my heart <3
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