Limitless Roads Café
Published May 15, 2023
About Limitless Roads Café
Kinsey Fontana relies on lists to navigate the world as an autistic teen. #Goals list: win her dream event planning internship (she knows it’s an ironic dream); master the art of masking; and gain Mom’s approval. Instead, she works at a café hiring teens with disabilities. Although she loves the café and discounted macchiatos, she dreams of more than planning open mic nights.
She has an opportunity to shine by throwing a fundraiser to save the café. The catch: allow her ex-best friend Melissa Castillo to be her assistant and pretend they are friends again so Melissa’s parents respect her.
To-do list: plan the fundraiser with zero fundraising experience; work with the intimidating hotel planner who rejected her for the internship; and use every masking technique to charm rather than repel people from sponsors to a boy band. Although she needs unhealthy amounts of caffeine to handle autistic burnout, Kinsey reconsiders her #Goals list and realizes self-doubt belongs down the drain like incorrect orders.
Though I’ve read a few other books with autistic characters and authors, I think this is the first book I’ve read with so many disabled characters in it. In the beginning, Kinsey feels no special connection to her coworkers, preferring to keep her head down and get her work done rather than socializing. But when she learns the cafe is at risk of closing, she and the other cafe employees band together to try to save it with a huge community fundraiser. Along the way, she builds relationships not only with her coworkers but with other people she’d written off as bad for one reason or another.
I really liked the way the character relationships developed and changed, especially the relationships between Kinsey and her cafe friends. I also enjoyed the up-close, inside-the-mind feel of the story. The scenes deftly capture social cues Kinsey misses without making it awkward or too obvious. Kinsey’s voice is believable and consistent, even if her choices or responses may be unexpected to some readers. As a member of an Italian family myself, I also loved all the references to Italian language, traditions, and food.
Here and there, I did spot a missing or incorrect word. A couple of times, it seemed like there was maybe a line of dialogue missing from a conversation, so the next line seemed to refer to something that hadn’t happened. I was always able to figure it out and move on really quickly, though.
On the whole, I enjoyed the book and loved the cast of characters. I think this is a great summer read and a nice pick for readers interested in dialogue about ableism and disabled teens.
Recommended for Ages 12 up.
Kinsey is autistic. She works at a cafe where all the employees are disabled.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Mild profanity used somewhat frequently.
Kinsey and her dad attend Italian Mass. Kinsey isn’t sure what she believes about God but finds the service calming.
In several scenes, people use ableist language or behavior. Often Kinsey or other people confront them and point out why what they said or did was problematic. Kinsey and another girl get into a shoving match in a store when Kinsey’s competitiveness spirals out of control.
Kinsey’s parents pressure her to take a drink of wine, which she immediately hates.
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