Fabulous Fiction Firsts #639


14-year-old Ginny Moon * * * is much like any typical teenager, never mind that she is autistic. She loves Michael Jackson, plays the flute at school, looks forward to her weekly basketball practices, and has good friends in Room 5 where the kids with special needs spend parts of the school day. For the past 4 years, she lives happily with her "forever parents" after unfortunate placements in a string of foster homes.

As the family prepares Ginny for the approaching arrival of her "forever baby sister," something triggers Ginny's memories of her "Baby Doll" and a desperation to return to Gloria, her abusive, drug-addict birth mother, who named her after her favorite cocktail. With great ingenuity and craftiness, Ginny engineers her own kidnapping.

"Ginny is remarkably engaging, and (novelist) Ludwig has surrounded her with other strong characters, each of whom navigates her compulsive behavior and unpredictability in their own ways. A heartwarming and unforgettable page-turner about autism, family, and how special-needs children are treated." (Booklist)

Debut novelist Benjamin Ludwig and his wife are adoptive parents to a teenager with autism. The novel was inspired in part by his conversations with other parents at Special Olympics basketball practices.

Readers who loved Christopher from Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, Jack from Emma Donoghue's Room, and Bee from Maria Semple's Where’d You Go, Bernadette, will find Ginny equally captivating.

* * * = 3 starred reviews

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