Thanks to NetGalley and Park Row Books for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: Available Now
Synopsis: For the first time in her life, Ginny Moon has found her “forever home”–a place where she’ll be safe and protected, with a family that will love and nurture her. It’s exactly the kind of home that all foster kids are hoping for. So why is this 14-year-old so desperate to to get kidnapped by her abusive, drug-addict birth mother, Gloria, and return to a grim existence of hiding under the kitchen sink to avoid authorities and her mother’s violent boyfriends?
While Ginny is pretty much your average teenager–she plays flute in the band, has weekly basketball practice and studies Robert Frost poems for English class–she is autistic. And so what’s important to Ginny includes starting every day with exactly nine grapes for breakfast, Michael Jackson, bacon-pineapple pizza and, most of all, getting back to Gloria so she can take care of her baby doll.
Ginny Moon is a compulsively readable and touching novel about being an outsider trying to find a place to belong and making sense of a world that just doesn’t seem to add up.
Ginny Moon has been receiving a lot of rave reviews, and for the most part I completely concur.
The story is told from Ginny’s first person POV, which sets a personal tone from the first page. It took me a few chapters to get used to her voice, as she is autistic. Benjamin Ludwig has experience working with special needs children and it’s obvious that he put a lot of additional research into this topic. I have to give him kudos, for being able to climb into the mind of a young teenage girl who’s autistic. This is no mean feat by any stretch of the imagination! Ginny’s voice is so authentic, honest, and raw, that well before the halfway point, I absolutely loved her. While there’s quite a bit of sadness in both her past and current situations, there’s also a fair bit of humor as well.
The main reason why this isn’t receiving 5 stars from me, is because of what has become one of my biggest pet peeves. Unlikable, one dimensional adult characters. I honestly couldn’t stand any of them, but thankfully Ginny is such a strong protagonist that she pretty much carries the entire story on her young shoulders.
The only other issue I have is that I think the book could have used a little more editing. There were parts of the story that got repetitious at times, and this somewhat slowed down the pace. There were also certain aspects of the storyline that were a bit crazy and unbelievable.
Overall though, Ginny Moon is a suspenseful story featuring an unforgettable new literary heroine, and I was loathe to say goodbye. Ginny is someone I believe everyone should have in their life to remind them of what’s important. While this excellent debut is definitely a standalone, I can’t help hoping that Benjamin Ludwig revisits this amazing young girl!