BLOG TOUR – Review: Elle McNicoll – Show Us Who You Are

Today I have the honour of being part of the blog tour for Show Us Who You Are with my Own Voices review of this amazing book. Read my 5 star review below, and be sure to also check out the other participants’ posts!


Synopsis

12-year-old Cora is dragged to a party by her brother Gregor, who is keen for her to meet
his boss – the intimidating CEO of the Pomegranate Institute, Magnus Hawkins. Once
there, she unexpectedly strikes up a friendship with his son, Adrien. They soon discover
that their difference is what draws them together – Cora is autistic and Adrien has ADHD.
Cora is intrigued by Pomegranate, who are using AI to create life-like holograms of people
to provide comfort to grieving families. Magnus and the charming head scientist Dr Gold
are keen to get Cora more involved, but her Dad is suspicious of their motives. It becomes
clear that Pomegranate have a much darker aim. . .

Can Cora be the one to stop them?

Show Us Who You Are

About the Author

Elle McNicoll is a children’s author from Scotland, now living in
East London. One of the most exciting new voices in children’s
publishing, Elle is a Neurodivergent writer and is passionate about
disability rights and #OwnVoices representation. Her debut novel
A Kind of Spark was published to critical acclaim in June 2020 and
is currently shortlisted for the 2021 Blue Peter Book Awards – the
winner will be announced on World Book Day, 4th March 2021. It
has also been longlisted for the 2021 Branford Boase Award, and was
shortlisted for the 2020 Books Are My Bag Readers Awards.


Review

I fell in love with this book from the first chapter, and I immediately knew this would be a 5 star read. You all know I loved A Kind of Spark, and it’s safe to say Elle McNicoll’s second book is even better.

In the first chapter, we meet our autistic main character, Cora, who becomes friends with Adrien, a boy with ADHD. It was beyond precious to see this portrayal of a neurodivergent friendship, and Adrien has quickly become one of my favourite characters ever.

I was NOT ready for the emotional rollercoaster this book would put me on, though! While the overall course of the book was hopeful and empowering, Elle McNicoll doesn’t shy away from real, tough to discuss themes like grief and eugenics. I’m amazed at how she manages to especially make the theme of eugenics comprehensible for middlegrade readers, and she makes it so very clear that Cora and Adrien don’t need to be fixed, they need to be accepted for who they are.

“I have every right to be here. As me. Exactly as I am. […] I might be different to you, I might be different to every person in this room, but you have no more of a right to exist than I do. You don’t get to pick and choose which bits of me are fine. All of me is fine.”

It’s very clear to see that this book is not only written by and about neurodivergent people, it’s also explicitly written for us. There were so many small relatable moments that I expenct neurotypical people won’t really pick up on, and while it has its educational moments, it’s not a book that necessarily educates about what autism is. Actually, when asked, Cora can’t really put into words what her autism means for her and she also hasn’t necessarily learned a lot about it. Because the point is that you shouldn’t have to understand someone completely in order to respect them. Show Us Who You Are is so unapologetically autistic, and it made me feel very seen.

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