Two children wander off from their school playground during recess. Hours later, they are found in the woods: one murdered, the other hiding near the body. Adam, the survivor and the only witness, is a nine-year-old autistic boy who cannot describe what he saw or heard.
Barely verbal on the best of days, Adam has retreated into a silence that Cara, his mother, knows only too well. As a single mother, she has devoted her life to opening paths of communication between her son and the outside world. Now she must interpret the changes in Adam's behavior, not only to help him through the trauma of his experience, but also to help the police catch a killer.
A powerful story of the emotional bond between mother and son, and a thrilling novel of psychological suspense, this is a fascinating journey into the mind of a child in crisis and a mother determined to bring him through unscathed.
©2006 Cammie McGovern; (P)2006 HighBridge Company
"Meticulously researched and emotionally absorbing, this provocative page-turner also addresses an important issue, how to educate and care for children with special needs." (Publishers Weekly)
"Tightly woven and gripping, this literary mystery takes several unexpected twists and turns." (Booklist)
I loved this book as much for the depth of the characters as for the way that their lives and histories weave in and out together. I also admire the way that McGovern has created a mystery that centers around (and teaches about) autism, bullies, and the lives of special education children. I was riveted, and I was also kept hanging until the story's end (in fact, my only gentle criticism of the book is that it felt like there were many small endings, and that it took a long time to get to the final revelation of "whodunnit"). It didn't feel like a typical mystery, but the tension of unanswered questions created suspense that lasted until the last few minutes.
The book's dialogue, between richly developed characters, stands out. The author has a gift for allowing information and feelings to come spooling out of conversations between the book's characters. It never seemed fake. Even better, the reader of this audiobook did a phenomenal job, creating many different voices to portray the wide range of characters.
In short, a greatly enjoyable audiobook!
This is a good book. It's interesting and educational. But one problem I found was the reader. Her normal voice is fine, but she's unable to change her voice for different characters (especially male ones) gracefully. I found myself hoping that Morgan or Teddy would become mute, because her voice really detracted from an otherwise good story.
The only other problem I have with the book is that it seems a bit long ??a bit dragged out. I keep thinking that perhaps all that I'm hearing could be condensed into a 6 hour reading, or a 4 hour reading.
If you're patient and have a high threshold for annoying voices, get the unabridged. Otherwise, get the abridged. This book is worth a listen.
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