Wordy Wednesday - Ginny Moon - Book Review

This Wordy Wednesday I step away from my usual author interviews and into a book. I was sent an advanced reader copy (ARC) of "Ginny Moon" recently and it it really was a good read - for several reasons (more on that in a moment)

The book itself is a story told from the perspective of an autistic teen girl.

and as the publisher says

"Ginny Moon's painfully honest narrator is Ginny, a girl with autism living in a world that just doesn’t add up.
Five years ago the police forcibly removed her from the home of her abusive mother Gloria. Now fourteen and in her 4th Forever Home, Ginny is hell-bent on returning to her mother's apartment – despite knowing how dangerous that could be – to find something she insists she hid under the bed.
Ginny will steal, lie, plan her own kidnapping and tear apart every shred of the normal, stable life she currently has, just to find what she left at the farthest edge of forever…"

so it sounded like an intriguing read, I enjoyed "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime" and while I've been told that book is not a great portrayal of someone with autism I hoped this one would be even better, especially given the author's credentials.

Benjamin Ludwig is a middle school language arts teacher, who has been teaching both children and adults since 1997. He believes strongly in supporting the voiceless and the displaced, especially their need for attachment. Shortly after he and his wife were married they became foster parents, and adopted their first placement: a teenager with autism and developmental disabilities. Ginny Moon was inspired in part by conversations he had with other parents at Special Olympics basketball practices. He hopes to adopt again after his daughter transitions into adulthood. Benjamin lives in New Hampshire, USA.

So with that background I began reading. The first thing I noticed was that the book was set in America, yes I know that's where Benjamin lives but I had failed to read that bit before I started reading and the first few chapters didn't really give clues,. it was only when social services seemed a bit 'odd' that I realised they were following American laws and not UK ones. Some other things like the school started to make more sense after I began to picture the events happening in the States.

As the story progresses (don't worry, I'll avoid spoilers) there are places where you suddenly think "Oh! I know what is at the old house!" or some other secret, you wonder if you are a genius to have guessed so soon in the story, but then in the next chapter the author reveals the 'secret' and on you go, feeling less clever and wondering what else could be going to happen until another light bulb moment...only to have that explained too...and so on through the book, with secret and surprise, hint and reveal, hidden clue and sudden explanation like a wild roller coaster!

The thing I enjoyed most about the character of Ginny (and we all know that autistic people are as unique as us neurotypicals) was that she wasn't some genius savant or a child who always meant well but struggled, like a tiny saint. She was a real teenage girl, sometimes helpful and friendly, often sulky and rude, sometimes mean and selfish. Her worries felt real and her inability to let the others in her life understand the fears she had, her frustrations,  all felt fresh and raw. All in all it was an entertaining read, tough in places but always taking unexpected turns and keeping the reader (or at least this one!) on their toes. The last chapter or two were real surprises!

Good work. I recommend it as a read for teens, parents or anyone that enjoys a mystery.
You can grab a copy on Amazon.

by Benjamin Ludwig
Published by HQ, 1st June 2017,
Hardback £12.99, eBook, Audio Edition £12.99
Also I absolutely loved the cover art, the swirls felt very much like the story itself.