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Literature / Afrotistic

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Afrotistic is a 2022 young adult novel by Kala Allen Omeiza.

Autistic fifteen-year-old Noa Ohunene Jenkins has just moved with her family from Orlando, Florida to Petersburg, New York. At her new school, she's determined to make Dean's Merit Society, but she doesn't have the required leadership experience. To make the society, Noa founds a group, the Roaring Pebbles, for teens in her school district with autism and related conditions.

Afrotistic contains examples of:

  • Character Tics: Noa walks on her toes or tugs on her hair when she's stressed or nervous.
  • Disappeared Dad: Noa's family befriends Samuel O'Brian, an autistic teenager whose dad abandoned him and his sisters because he felt overwhelmed by Samuel's needs.
  • Hates Being Nicknamed: Samuel hates being called "Sam." To his frustration, people often assume he's okay with being nicknamed, and he can't always find the words to correct them.
  • Sensory Overload: When Noa is overwhelmed by noises and bright lights, she feels like a dark fog is rising up inside her. On the outside she seems fine, until the fog consumes her and she has a meltdown. Mason, one of the Roaring Pebbles, describes the same feeling as gas coming up all around him.
  • Tears of Joy: Tears fill Noa's eyes when she learns that the Roaring Pebbles have won a teens creativity award for designing a robot toy called aiSenses and writing a picture book about consent.
  • Textual Celebrity Resemblance: One girl at school tells Noa she looks like an angular-faced Keke Palmer.
  • Title Drop: Sophia tells Noa, "You have a cute afro and you're autistic, you're afrotistic!" Noa later makes "Afrotistic" the name of her YouTube channel.