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CanLit150

Celebrate more than 150 years of Canada with 150 books.

Sylvia McNicoll Recommends

Wild Orchid by Beverley Brenna

“The first YA I’d read on autism. I thought it should have won a Governor General’s Literary Award.” – Sylvia McNicoll

Wild Orchid (2005)

(From Red Deer Press)

Taylor Jane Simon is 18 years old and spending the summer with her mother in Prince Albert National Park. The holiday has been planned so Taylor's mother can spend time with her latest boyfriend, Danny, and work in the pizza restaurant near the park that Danny runs. Taylor would just as soon stay at home in Saskatoon, but because she suffers from an autistic condition called Asperger's Syndrome, she can't stay on her own. Taylor's mother encourages her daughter to explore the park's possibilities on her own. For Taylor, whose life experience has been seriously limited, this means facing the test of meeting new people who work in the park's nature center - and facing it alone. Summer also holds out the possibility of finding her own boyfriend, though Taylor isn't quite sure what that may involve. What she discovers will change her life forever.

Written as an epistolary novel, Wild Orchid is frank but optimistic, literal yet innocent. A courageous wit attends Taylor's gradual emergence as her own person, and the reader will find the exploration of Taylor's mind a revealing and heartwarming encounter.

Beverley 'Bev' Brenna

(From Red Deer Press)

Bev lives near Saskatoon with her husband and three sons. She has taught elementary school in rural and urban settings, worked as a co-ordinator of gifted programs, and been a reading specialist and special education teacher as well as a special education consultant. Her doctoral studies in Elementary Education: Language and Literacy occurred at the University of Alberta and she graduated with a PhD in 2010. As of July 1, 2013, Dr. Brenna is an Associate Professor at the University of Saskatchewan where she teaches curriculum courses in Education specializing in Literacy and Children’s Literature.

Born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Bev started writing poetry when she was seven. She has gone on to write short stories and, most recently, novels for young adults. Her titles for children include Daddy Longlegs at Birch Lane, Spider Summer, and The Keeper of the Trees. Her young adult title, Wild Orchid (Red Deer Press, 2005), was shortlisted for a Young Adult Book Award from the Canadian Library Association, a Manitoba Readers' Choice Award, and Saskatchewan's Silver Birch Award.