Life Happens Next
by Terry Trueman
“Things happen in my life, like in everybody else’s but I can’t do anything about it, including telling anyone how I feel.”
Hello Fellow Readers!
My name is Kate Coniglio and I am a graduate student at Nazareth College of Rochester. My graduate work is in Literacy and I typically work with students at the elementary level. Although my work is usually focused on younger readers, I am very interested in the Young Adult literature world.
The Young Adult book I chose to blog about is called Life Happens Next by Terry Trueman. Life Happens Next is the sequel to Stuck in Neutral. I chose to blog about this text because the author, Trueman, has an interesting viewpoint on disabilities, how outsiders view those with disabilities, and what possible capabilities those with disabilities might have.
The book Life Happens Next is about a 15-year-old boy named Shawn who has Cerebral Palsy. Shawn is confined to a wheelchair and cannot walk, talk, eat, go to the bathroom or do any “normal” task that most people can do on their own. From the outside, Shawn is an unintelligible young boy that will never be able to amount to anything. In reality, Shawn is an extremely bright and witty teenager that may actually be smarter than most people. Unfortunately, no one is able to see Shawn’s true abilities and feelings; however, things change when his cousin with Down Syndrome, Debi, moves in.
I highly recommend this book to all readers, especially those who enjoy texts that are easy to read and eye-opening to controversial topics. This text is not only relatable, but also teaches the reader about empathy and what it means to "put yourself into someone else's shoes." The plot of the story is easy to follow and makes sense. Each character in the book is realistic and will teach the reader things that they may be able to take away to impact their own life. The narrator, Shawn, tells the story in a way that will make the reader laugh, cry, love and relate, all in just 144 pages.