The View from the Very Best House in Town (Walker Books, 2022) is a tale of friendship, told with a twist. Sam and Asha are both autistic and ostracized as a result. They’re each other’s best friends, playing soccer and their favorite videogame, Househaunt, together.
As the summer ends and Sam and Asha are preparing to begin seventh grade, they’re suddenly separated by Sam’s acceptance into the most prestigious school in Coreville, Castleton Academy. When Sam is pushed into the privileged world of Castleton, more of an outsider than ever, he meets Prestyn Donaldson. Prestyn is the most popular girl in school, and her family lives in the biggest mansion in Coreville—Donnybrooke. Meanwhile, Asha makes new friends and does her best to forget about Sam, but she can’t stop worrying about him. He’s been hanging out with Prestyn, who happens to be Asha’s nemesis ever since a disastrous party years ago. Is that why Sam’s been skipping soccer practice every Thursday--to go to Donnybrooke? But why does Sam keep going to the best house in town if he looks miserable every time he leaves?
Meera Trehan’s debut novel sets itself apart with its original premise. Not only does she have two incredible protagonists with touching journeys, but her book also includes thirteen chapters from the viewpoint of Donnybrooke itself! As the main characters of The View from the Very Best House in Town are portrayed as middle-schoolers, their descriptions and phrasing can at times be simplistic. Even so, no detail is left out of the narrative. A well-thought-out video game that serves as an analogy for friendship and a weathervane containing an important message, are both examples of the book’s multiple layers. Older or experienced readers are best suited for this book, as they will recognize and understand the underlying themes.
Even though friendship is the driving force of The View from the Very Best House in Town, there is another, underplayed but equally important message. Asha and Sam are both subject to discrimination because of their autism. In Asha’s case, she was humiliated by the Donaldsons during their housewarming party, while Sam is made fun of and called the ‘Miracle Boy’ after his classmates find out about an embarrassing article. Despite having good intentions, Asha’s mom doesn’t understand her daughter’s pain and can’t relate to how Asha’s feeling. Sam’s parents try to encourage their son, but inadvertently push him to remain silent about how he’s feeling. Asha and Sam are both struggling, and they need each other’s support.
This tween drama is slow to develop, but will entrance readers with a mix of drama and personal growth. A spotlight on what it means to be different, The View from the Very Best House in Town is a necessary read for anyone who has felt lonely or has felt the need to belong. No matter who reads this touching book about friendship, the moral of this story will stay with them long after the end of the book—always remember who your friends are.
Find this review and other great books on Greg Pattridge's terrific blog.
Dear Carol and Elliot,
I enjoyed reading the review of The View from the Very Best House in Town (Walker Books, 2022). The illustration for the cover is outstanding. Great review.
Thanks for sharing.
Another well-written review with a deeper look into why this book will be enjoyed by readers. I know I want to read this unique book myself now. Thank you for the chance to win a copy to read and review too. I shared on tumblr: https://yesreaderwriterpoetmusician.tumblr.com/post/676995273445244928/the-view-from-the-very-best-house-in-town-a
Thanks Danielle and Joan, for leaving comments. Danielle, you're in twice!
Wow! Elliot, I'm very impressed with your review. You make me want to read this book! I shared it on Facebook.
What a great title that drew me in to read more. I like the fact this 8th grader, Elliot, wrote this, too!
I'm looking forward to reading it. I'm going to share with my friends, as well.
Thanks, Carol and Elliot!
Thanks Rosie and Connie. Elliott is a great writer!! I'll put your name in the hat for 2 chances each.
Great review by Elliot and sounds like a book that is intriguing and interesting on many levels.
Thanks, Trish. I think your grandkids would like this!
Elliot is such a good writer! I loved his review, and I loved the book when I read it for many of the same reasons Elliot mentioned. I will step aside for the giveaway. Thanks for the post.
This sounds like a great read! Would love to win it for my former Christian school library.
Thanks, Gwen. Your name is on the list!
Thank you so much for your support. I especially appreciate Danielle H. and Connie Porter Saunders for sharing my review.
I am so happy to have you, Elliott, as my guest blogger!
What a great review! The story is unique from any other book I've read with autistic characters. Thanks for your insights and for being a part of MMGM this week. Please let someone else win who could enjoy this book in the coming months. It appears my TBR stack is now three stacks!
Thanks, Greg. I'm sure Elliott will appreciate your response. And thanks for letting be into MMGM!
Excellent review Eliott! You really covered some important points about this story. I have this book in my pile to read/review. Hope I do as well as you did! Thanks for sharing today!
thanks, Patricia! Elliott has a lot of insights.
This sounds like a fantastic story. I hate to not enter the giveaway but want someone to read it who can read it sooner than me or who can donate it to a library like one of your commentors wants to do.
Thanks, Natalie. Appreciate you leaving a comment--even if the winner was just selected!
Love that cover!
Thanks, Maria. It's a great cover--but unfortunately the giveaway is over!
Super review, very thoughtful! Books sounds a great read, interesting to have the house act as POV. I think that's hard to do well, but sounds like it works here.
Thank you for your comment, Valinora!
I am very excited that I won this book. I love it. Thank you and Elliott for telling me all about it. It's much better when you have the book in your hands!
May God bless both of you!
Joan Y. Edwards
Glad you enjoyed the book, Joan!
Congratulations! I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did.
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