My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Completely original, compelling and a little bit heartbreaking this is an incredible debut novel from Benjamin Ludwig. It’s not my usual type of read and I didn’t expect to love it but I totally did.
Definitely not tedious.
Meet Ginny. She’s fourteen, autistic, and has a heart-breaking secret…
‘Brilliant’ – Graeme Simison, author of The Rosie Project
Ginny Moon is trying to make sense of a world that just doesn’t seem to add up….
After years in foster care, Ginny is in her fourth forever family, finally with parents who will love her.
Everyone tells her that she should feel happy, but she has never stopped crafting her Big Secret Plan of Escape.
Because something happened, a long time ago – something that only Ginny knows – and nothing will stop her going back to put it right…
A fiercely poignant and inspirational story a lost girl searching for a place to call home. Ginny Moon will change everyone who spends time with her.
They like you, Ginny, and believe me, it’s hard to find people like that. It’s much easier to love someone than it is to like them.
Let me just start by saying that I’m completely in awe of anyone who cares for an autistic child and having read Ginny Moon I’m now even more in awe. I have to admit that it’s not something I know a lot about as I don’t really have anyone in my life who’s autistic but this definitely opened my eyes. The whole story is told from inside Ginny’s head giving a completely unique and fascinating view of what it’s like to have a brain that just doesn’t quite work the same way as everyone else’s. It’s compelling, frustrating, amusing, touching and emotional. Once I started reading I literally couldn’t stop.
Ginny is an absolutely fabulous character and I couldn’t help but love her, even though she drove me and everyone around her crazy at times. She is completely single minded and once she’s on a path there is absolutely no way you’ll change her mind. She takes everything literally and picks up the most bizarre words and phrases from those around her. I found myself laughing at some of the things that come out of her mouth one minute and being so incredibly frustrated the next that I wanted to shake her.
Ginny was brought up in an abusive home (trigger warning: there are some disturbing scenes) but despite being in her newest forever home she can’t let go of the past and is determined to escape and find her birth mother Gloria who she hopes has her baby doll. I felt so sorry for her adopted parents Brian and Maura and I could feel their frustrations that they want to give her a stable and loving home but she seems determined to leave. While Ginny is unable to interpret their emotions and reactions the author still managed to transfer them to the reader through her observations, something I thought was incredibly well done.
There were more than a few occasions where I felt like crying or shouting because Ginny just doesn’t see what she’s doing to those around her. Her aunt “Crystal with a C” in particular really got to me. Her guilt, frustration and just desperation to do the right thing was a little bit heartbreaking.
I have to confess that I was surprised the story held my attention the way that it did. It’s not my usual type of read and I would stop every so often and think “I don’t know where this can possibly go” and “I’m not sure how the author can keep this level of engagement and intensity for the remaining x number of pages” but somehow he did. I found myself unable to put it down and even when I wasn’t reading it I was thinking about it or talking about it.
It’s not a perfect book, there are elements that are a little unbelievable, but I definitely think it’s a worthwhile read for everyone. There aren’t anywhere near enough characters like Ginny in books and it gives a real insight and unique perspective to their everyday lives and thoughts as well as those around them.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review and apologies for taking so long to read it.