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Publisher's Summary

For fans of Room and the novels of Jodi Picoult, a dazzling, tenderhearted debut about healing, family, and the exquisite wisdom of children, narrated by a six-year-old boy who reminds us that sometimes the littlest bodies hold the biggest hearts, and the quietest voices speak the loudest.

Squeezed into a coat closet with his classmates and teacher, first grader Zach Taylor can hear gunshots ringing through the halls of his school. A gunman has entered the building, taking 19 lives and irrevocably changing the very fabric of this close-knit community. While Zach's mother pursues a quest for justice against the shooter's parents, holding them responsible for their son's actions, Zach retreats into his super-secret hideout and loses himself in a world of books and art. Armed with his newfound understanding, and with the optimism and stubbornness only a child could have, Zach sets out on a captivating journey towards healing and forgiveness, determined to help the adults in his life rediscover the universal truths of love and compassion needed to pull them through their darkest hours.

©2018 Rhiannon Navin (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

" Only Child realizes every parent's ultimate fear: What if your kid's killer is someone you knew - or thought you knew? Congrats to Rhiannon Navin - this is an outstanding debut." (Harlan Coben)
"An astonishing debut novel." (Louisa Ermelino, Publishers Weekly)

"One of the big debuts of next year." (Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal)

"A powerful exercise in empathy and perspective." ( Kirkus Reviews)
"As I flew through Only Child, I realized that my heart, not my fingers, turned the pages. Rhiannon Navin finds a miraculous way to simplify the unthinkable into a page-turning, emotional awakening. Through the eyes of seven-year-old Zach, we get to see the beauty that can rise up after pain and loss. And we get to see through the noise of our adult lives, back to the undeniable truth of childhood - kindness begets kindness." (Bryan Reardon, author of Finding Jake)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Oh. My. Goodness!

This book is off the charts awesome. I was in tears so much but I also laughed and got angry. So well written. The young narrator was flawless. Believable. I believe every school guidance counselor should read this. Every teacher. Parents. If only we listened to our children more often...

18 of 18 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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This is an important story

As a Mom if a six-year-old boy, I wasn’t sure I could handle this story, but I’m glad I decided to give it a try. It is a beautiful, sensitive, heartbreaking - yet ultimately hopeful - picture of tragedy and compassion told through a child’s eyes.
Although this is fiction, the situation of the impact of a school shooting is all too real and becoming much too common. It had to be a challenge telling this story from the perspective of a first grader, but the author did an amazing job. It reminded me, as a Mom, of all the “big” feelings that my little one faces, and how just listening to him makes such a big difference.
The narration was also perfect.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Narration that makes you unable to stop listening.

Some may think based on the plot summary that this story is a tearjerker just sensationalizing tragedy. Nothing could be further from the truth. Kivlighan de Montebello's narration is so unbelievably natural that it pulls you immediately into the story. I could not stop listening. Just when you think you know all sides of a tragedy - the simplistic viewpoint of a child, can make you see things from the the third side, which is often forgotten.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Out of the mouths of babes!

At this time while still reeling from the Fla tragedy, a bit of compassion for all the survivors including the perpetrator's is in order. We always want to cast blame on someone, something and away from ourselves. So timely, so excellent!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Wendi
  • Houston, TX
  • 02-20-18

Mixed Feelings About This One

Only Child is the story of a family torn apart by an all-too-familiar tragedy, a school shooting. The story is told through the eyes of one of the victims' younger brother. The author attempts to overcome evil with good by using the mind of a child to take in the horrible circumstances and make sense of them.

The child is six years old, the younger brother of the victim. Although the writing and narration is simple, the child's point of view can be considered rather complex. It weaves the obvious questions one would expect in such a horrible scenario with the innocence of someone who hasn't yet learned to hate or be hostile.

The problem with the book is that's it's a bit too neat. The author succeeds in what's attempted but the book should have been less 'young adult' oriented instead of so one-focused. This horrific situation doesn't resonate the seriousness and utter blasphemy of a school shooting when it's told with a voice of a six year old. Nonetheless, I'd recommend it at speed 1.5.

-Wendi

22 of 26 people found this review helpful

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Awesome Narration For Sure!!!

Heart-felt story. Beautifully told with parts that will make you laugh, and parts that will make you cry. A bit drawn out, but still moving, and an important issue to address; guns and kids, and protecting them in our schools. Not sure the age of the performer, but assuming a child, he was pretty darn good! He certainly brought story to life! Ironic that just last week, only one day after I purchased this audiobook, a gunman, a young male of similar age to Charlie’s son, entered a high school in Parkland, Fl, and killed 17 persons. We as Americans need to put aside our politics, and focus upon gun control, and protecting our future generation

15 of 19 people found this review helpful

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  • Rebecca
  • Seattle, WA, United States
  • 06-04-18

Wow.

There were several moments during this novel when I would find myself weeping. Standing at the kitchen sink with tears running down my face.
This is a beautiful novel, so well written; paired with the PERFECT narrator who brought nuance along with the perfect voice to represent our young protagonist.
Writing from the perspective of a six year old a novel of emotional depth and complexity, clearly addressing an adult audience is nearly impossible to do well. Ms. Navin has done an amazing thing here.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Superb

I loved this book. It explores the very real ramifications of school shootings as seen through the eyes and heart of not only a six-year-old, but all families so affected and their communities. Very gut-wrenching, honest, and genuine.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Beautiful

This is the most captivating book I have ever read. Beautiful narration.
Perfectly presents a child’s point of view while still portraying how adults would feel.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Powerful and heartbreaking

I have never read a book like this. I cried from beginning to end. Beautifully written and beautifully narrated. Do yourself a favor and buy this book. It has the secrets to happiness and love

2 of 2 people found this review helpful