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The Asparagus Bunch

"A funny, nourishing novel about three neurodiverse friends navigating life’s challenges "

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LoveReading4Kids Says

LoveReading4Kids Says

August 2022 Debut of the Month

As satisfying (and sweet) as the confectionary its unforgettable protagonist is an expert on, Jessica Scott-Whyte’s The Asparagus Bunch tells the chock-full-of-charm story of Leon and his fellow neurodiverse friends. Refreshing and endlessly insightful on Leon’s autism spectrum disorder, it’s a funny, thought-provoking delight.

 

Confectionary aficionado Leon is 4779 days old (“13 years and 1 month, if you’re mathematically challenged”), and lives with his mum Caroline who works at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. “Most people think I’ve got an attitude problem,” he acknowledges, but Caroline isn’t most people, and neither are the friends he makes at his sixth new school, which he joins as Dr Snot diagnoses him with autism spectrum disorder.

 

After being shown round school by creative, kind dyslexic Tanya, and meeting loveable bee keeper Lawrence, who’s also neurodiverse, the three form The Asparagus Bunch club, subverting how Leon was mocked for having “asparagus” (he’s also called “ass-burger”). When the Bunch resolve to tackle the school bully, Leon decides revenge is a dish best served salty in the form of Scandinavian salmiakki confectionary, until Dr Snot advises against it.

 

With Leon being a self-professed “man with a fork in a world of soup”, there are misunderstandings and fallings-out between friends and family. But above all, there’s empathy, comedy and a joyful sense of life being about “making the most of what comes along,” in the wise words of Dr Snot.

Joanne Owen

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Reader Reviews

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I was unable to put this book down! It has a great story which explores neurodiversity which is something I can relate to, and the lead character Leon, who has a lot of struggles trying to fit into society. I would love to see more books like this

I read this book in a few days as I was unable to put it down! The lead character is a boy called Leon and what I liked most was the fact that the story explores neurodiversity, which I can completely relate to. Leon has a lot of struggles trying to fit in to society and people judge him because he has a different take on the world. However, this story is a great read for all kids to try and help them understand what the world is like for someone who is 'different'. There are some great characters, including Dr Snot, who help Leon understand different situations, and the author does this by using comedy as well as having a genuine message, so you get a really good mix of genres in the story.

Lukas Stewart

Heartfeltly addresses important themes in a story of the power of difference.

This book is about a boy called Leon, who has been told that he has Asperger Syndrome (a type of autism). He is told this just before he starts at his 7th school, Deluney College. His diagnosis explains why he struggles to make friends and often says the wrong things. However, his start at Deluney College was different. A girl called Tanya was asked to show him around and he was very confused when she couldn't tell her left from her right. He understood a few days later, when he found out that she was dyslexic. Her dyslexia, also led her to confuse 'Asperger' with 'Asparagus'. This was immediately taken to the school bully's advantage. However, they find another friend and make a group, which they ironically call, 'The Asparagus Bunch'.

Rodborough Readers

I liked the representation of neurodiversity in this book. It wasn't condescending it just pointed out that some brains work differently and that all people deserve friends and happiness.

I liked this book. I found it quite unique and I loved the representation of the neuro diverse.

The Asparagus Bunch is based on a boy called Leon who had Aspergers who starts at another new school after failing to fit in at a lot of other schools.

Bella Rix