My Zig...how I loved this book. It's so not what you think it is. As it kicks off in 1979, Oliver, or 'Boo' to his peers, is beginning yet another torture-filled day at school. Thirteen-year-old Boo is one of those kids who draws derision, torment and abuse from his classmates. Knowing what we know now, the reader can quickly surmise that Boo lives on the autism spectrum. Extremely intelligent, socially inept and all too accepting of his daily regimen of abuse, Boo begins his day before his locker but in a flash is transported to an alien landscape where he wakes up in a strange bed. At his bedside is another 13-year-old...an extremely mature, vocally gifted 13-year-old. Yes Boo, this is heaven for adolescents who have met an untimely end. Ironically all residents remain physically stuck at the age of 13 for decades...the chaotic, drama-laden, traumatic age of 13 that is hell on Earth for many young people. Boo soon is joined by Johnny, another boy from his school and we learn that they are victims of a school shooting the instantly claimed Boo and left Johnny to linger for about a month with a gunshot wound to the head. And Johnny is convinced their shooter is also in the hereafter...or is he?
This book addresses the topics of forgiveness, childhood trauma and mental illness in a straightforward manner. Although it's placed in the adult section in our Chicago regional library, this is a great young adult story that would provide a great springboard for discussions on bullying and special needs.