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Posted October 7, 2003 

HAZE
By Kathy Hoopmann
Jessica Kingsley Publisher:2003

Reviewed by Loi Eberle, M.A.

Kathy Hoopmann, the author of Haze, is also the author of the Asperger Adventures series for middle-grade children. In her young-adult novel, Haze, she focuses on how this condition affects relationships. Hoopmann writes about Aspergerís syndrome by describing it through the eyes of the main character, Seb, a male adolescent, as he tries to navigate with difficultly through a seemingly alien culture of high school. Though much of the description is in first person, it is augmented by conversations between his peers, which communicates how people with this condition might appear to others. The descriptions of the various characters in this mini novel are in themselves vignettes of various problems encountered by adolescents, from cliques and alcohol consumption, to neglectful or abusive parents.

The plot could seem a bit contrived, but it serves to capitalize on the role of computers in the lives of many adolescents who are dealing with Aspergerís and social isolation. The book is brief and the story is captivating enough to keep the readerís interest. By interweaving an assortment of characters throughout the story in various sub-plots, the author is able to elaborate on the intellectual and kinesthetic experience of having Aspergerís. This literary technique lends a much more comprehensive understanding than can be derived merely from reading a description of the symptoms in a textbook.

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