Kiara has a difficult time making — and keeping — friends. She has Asperger’s syndrome, so relating to other people doesn’t come naturally. Most of the time, she relies on Mr. Internet — her go-to when the world doesn’t make sense, which is often — and her imagination, where she daydreams that she’s Rogue, one of the mutant superheroes of the X-Men. In the comics, Rogue hurts anyone she touches, but eventually learns to control her special power. Kiara hasn’t discovered her own special power yet, but when Chad moves in across the street, she hopes that, for once, she’ll be able to make friendship stick. She’s even willing to keep Chad’s horrible secret, if that’s what it takes. But being a true friend is complicated, and it might be just the thing that leads her to her special power.
A Junior Library Guild selection
Nominee, 2014 ALA/YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults
The depth of Kiara’s loneliness, her capacity for empathy (though she’s unsure of when and how to express it), and her persistence in her quest for true friendship make the book a substantive addition to the emerging body of youth literature about Asperger’s.
— Horn Book
Readers will find themselves relating to, empathizing with, and ultimately cheering for this unexpected heroine who proves in the end, despite her difficulties, to be a true and wise friend.
— Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
Miller-Lachmann raises multiple questions through this gripping, gritty story: What does it mean to be a friend? How do you find your place and your talents in the world? While this is certainly a story about a young girl coming to terms with Asperger’s Syndrome, it’s much more a story about what it means to be a friend.
— Great Kid Books
Kiara is an important contribution to the literary portrayal of Asperger’s syndrome. With an insider’s knowledge and a gift for creating suspense, Lyn Miller-Lachmann gives us the realistic and hopeful story of a young person seeking to find her unique place in the world.
— Francisco X. Stork, author of Marcelo in the Real World
I enjoyed this book, because it was interesting to see how someone who is usually looked down upon in society, is finally given a chance to show who they are. I found it interesting, to see her mind processes different ideas, her opinions on different subjects, and to see how people react towards her. This book was realistic and fast paced. I would recommend it to teenagers, who are interested in seeing a life, where communicating is hard and being given a chance is rare.
— Erika, teen reader, California
Mr. Internet is an activity that draws from Kiara’s dependence on the Internet to explain the world. In her effort to understand social relationships and respond to social dilemmas, she writes various forums for advice. Students take on the role of “Mr. Internet” and give Kiara advice related to four scenarios touched on in the novel.
New Feature: Rogue Trivia Question of the Month
Here’s where I answer one question from a reader related to a fact in Rogue, beginning in March 2016. Please contact me if you have a question that you’d like me to answer!
March 2016: When does Rogue take place?
Answer: Spring 2006. The clue is the Ned Lamont yard sign in front of various houses in Kiara’s neighborhood. Ned Lamont ran in the 2006 Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate in Connecticut and won against incumbent Senator Joe Lieberman. (Lieberman later ran as an independent and won the general election.)
April 2016: Gringolandia and Surviving Santiago have many of the same characters. Do any of the characters in Rogue show up in other books you’ve written?
Answer: Yes. Antonio, then known as Tony, is a character in my adult novel Dirt Cheap, which was published by Curbstone Press (the publisher of Gringolandia) in 2006.
May 2016: Are any of the characters in Rogue based on your own children?
Answer: No. Kiara is based on me, and the other characters are based on people I knew growing up.
July 2016: Is a sequel in the works?
Answer: Not at this point. I have some ideas but haven’t started writing anything yet.
September 2016: Have you ever been on Tonight with Jimmy Fallon?
Answer: No, and I’m kind of glad because I get really nervous in front of the camera. The last time someone recorded me, they had to do it five times to get it right because I kept looking in the wrong direction.
October 2016: Why did Kiara want to be popular?
Answer: Great question! I have a longer answer on my blog, but the short answer is this: She saw the popular kids having a lot more fun than she was having, and she wanted what they had.
November 2016: Do you have something in mind for a sequel?
Answer: Yes, but I want to keep it a secret for now. A road trip is involved, though.
December 2016: Do you have other recommendations for books featuring kids on the autism spectrum?
Answer: One of my favorite books of 2016 is Corinne Duyvis’s On the Edge of Gone. I normally don’t read post-apocalyptic fiction, but she captures the setting and her autistic protagonist perfectly. I like how she challenges a society that only judges people by what they can produce rather than valuing them as human beings.
Where to buy this book
Rogue. Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin. ISBN 978-0-399-16225-1.