The Amy Virus
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A 15-year-old girl on the autism spectrum discovers the truth about herself, and turns her life and her entire family upside down, when she develops a fixation on a teenage girl singer from the 1960s. More
Fifteen-year-old Cynthia Ann Butt has much bigger problems than her unfortunate name. At age 4, a year after she was diagnosed with autism, she was put on the Good Brain Diet, which her parents make a living marketing. The selling point of the diet is that Cynthia has achieved “remission” from her autism and is now on the straight and narrow path to medical school. But when she develops an autistic fixation on Amy Zander, an obscure teenage bossa nova singer and drummer from the 1960s, she begins to question whether her “remission” is real, discovers her own musicianship, and makes her first real friend--all under the “guidance” of Amy, who appears to her as a spectral version of Amy’s 15-year-old self. Soon Cynthia transforms herself from Cynthia Ann Butt, loser and failure, into Cyan Beaut, a daring and exciting percussionist, singer, and songwriter, who is happy and proud to be autistic and artistic. But if her transformation is successful, and the truth about her autism comes out, not only will her parents hate her for it, but her entire family will be at risk of financial ruin. The escalating conflict with her parents contributes to the “disease” process that finds her more and more under the spell of “Spectral Amy,” who leads her to places she never expected to go.