Only Child by Rhiannon Navin – Review.


About the Book

We went to school that Tuesday like normal.
Not all of us came home . . .
Huddled in a cloakroom with his classmates and teacher, six-year-old Zach can hear shots ringing through the corridors of his school. A gunman has entered the building and, in a matter of minutes, will have taken nineteen lives.
In the aftermath of the shooting, the close-knit community and its families are devastated. Everyone deals with the tragedy differently. Zach’s father absents himself; his mother pursues a quest for justice — while Zach retreats into his super-secret hideout and loses himself in a world of books and drawing.
Ultimately though, it is Zach who will show the adults in his life the way forward — as, sometimes, only a child can.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received via JellyBooks.
I was very keen to read this novel because it sounded so original.
All of it is told through the eyes of a six-year-old boy whose family were affected in the worst way possible by the shooting at the school. He survived, without any injuries but there were multiple casualties. Including his older brother.
You see all of his emotions, that range from sadness at his brother’s death to happiness that he is no longer there to bully him. And of course there is the guilt at thinking like this and the terror of that day that is never far away.
As the novel progresses you see how much Andy’s death affects the family in completely different ways. Nobody can judge what is the right or wrong way to grieve. But because Zach is so young, and it his story, you can see how raw the suffering is. When he has to handle his own emotions and try to understand why his parents are coping the way that they do.
At times it made me smile, but it is also heartbreaking the way Zach sees his Mum and Dad change. And how they appear not to see how he is also feeling. He was a little boy who I adored. A caring, brutally honest six-year-old boy whose family went through hell.
If you read this book, pick a day when you won’t get disturbed, have plenty of tissues and can just immerse yourself in Zach’s world. It is an astonishing read.
This was the first book I read in 2018. If all of the other books I read this year are anywhere near as good I am in for a cracking year.

You can buy the book here

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