This was a quick and easy read, but it was engaging.
Kingsbury, as usual, draws you into the characters and makes you feel invested in their lives.
What I appreciated about this book is that it is one I can give to people who maybe don't know a lot about what life with autism can be like for individuals or their families (though it varies for everyone!). While they might not read a book that's more detailed or 'technical,' Kingsbury's fiction presentation in 'Unlocked' is a great introduction.
Be warned, while I'm not typically a crier in public, this one had me doing so on an airplane! I do have loved ones with autism, though!
Holden Harris is an autistic, high school senior whose father has given up on his ever being normal again, leaving his mother to deal with the day-to-day struggles of parenting a special-needs child. While Holden's mom Tracy holds on to hope and prays for a miracle to release her son from the prison of his autism, he is reunited with his childhood best friend Ella Reynolds, the popular daughter of Tracy's one-time closest friend, who abandoned Tracy shortly after Holden's diagnosis. Through Ella's friendship and Holden's love for music, miracles begin to happen not only for Holden, but also for his parents, his high school, and Ella's family as well.
So many topics that hit close to home for me were touched on in this riveting story. Karen Kingsbury demonstrates so clearly how those of us with chronic illness and our caretakers are often abandoned by our loved ones -often out of fear or not knowing how to deal with the situation- both physically and emotionally, just when we need them most. And the way people ignore, tease, and treat Holden differently because of his illness is sadly typical of how our culture regards those of us with disabilities. But Tracy Harris' strength in the midst of adversity and her fragile faith and hope in God is nothing short of inspiring. Likewise, the courage and compassion of young Ella to reach out to Holden is a testament to the power of one to make a difference. Unlocked is truly another in a long list of Kingsbury's "Life-Changing Fiction."
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Zondervan as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Having children in our family who are handicapped, I was eager to read this book by Karen Kingsbury. Had I been able to do so, I would have read it in one sitting - with the box of tissues close at hand. The characters were wonderfully drawn. The bullying aspects could have come from straight from today's headlines. Lauren is the kind of friend every developmentally challenged young person - boy or girl - needs. Ms. Kingsbury has done it again. Now, I'm going to loan Unlocked it to other family members and friends.