Only Child – Rhiannon Navin

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 nineteen 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.

Readers of Jodi Picoult and Liane Moriarty will also like this tenderhearted debut about healing and family, narrated by an unforgettable six-year-old boy who reminds us that sometimes the littlest bodies hold the biggest hearts and the quietest voices speak the loudest.

My Review:  I read this book in the week that there was a real life school shooting in Florida and therefore my emotions were already heightened by yet another senseless tragedy.  What I wasn’t expecting was to fall head over heels in love with Zach, our 7 year old narrator who stole my heart from page 1.

This courageous, brave, sensitive and emotional little boy tells us his horrific story starting with a very fraught and emotional opening chapter.  Whilst this book deals with a horrific and topical subject I felt the author dealt with everything with sympathy and was able to capture everyone’s emotions beautifully.  From the grief and anger to the need for revenge and the utter despair felt by the parents Only Child is a heartbreaking story that needs to be read.  Beautifully written and one that will stay in my thoughts for a very long time.

About the Author: Rhiannon Navin grew up in Bremen, Germany, in a family of book-crazy women. Her career in advertising brought her to New York City, where she worked for several large agencies before becoming a full-time mother and writer. She now lives outside of New York City with her husband, three children, two cats, and one dog. Only Child is her first novel.

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