Only Child: Book summary and reviews of Only Child by Rhiannon Navin

Only Child

A novel

by Rhiannon Navin

Only Child by Rhiannon Navin X
Only Child by Rhiannon Navin
  • Readers' rating:

  • Publishes in USA 
    Feb 6, 2018
    304 pages
    Genre: Novels

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About this book

Book Summary

For fans of Room and the novels of Jodi Picoult, a dazzling, tenderhearted debut about healing, family, and the exquisite wisdom of children, narrated by a six-year-old boy who reminds us that sometimes the littlest bodies hold the biggest hearts, and the quietest voices speak the loudest.

Squeezed into a coat closet with his classmates and teacher, first grader Zach Taylor can hear gunshots ringing through the halls of his school. A gunman has entered the building, taking nineteen lives and irrevocably changing the very fabric of this close-knit community.

While Zach's mother pursues a quest for justice against the shooter's parents, holding them responsible for their son's actions, Zach retreats into his super-secret hideout and loses himself in a world of books and art. Armed with his newfound understanding, and with the optimism and stubbornness only a child could have, Zach sets out on a captivating journey towards healing and forgiveness, determined to help the adults in his life rediscover the universal truths of love and compassion needed to pull them through their darkest hours.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Congrats to Rhiannon Navin--this is an outstanding debut." - Harlan Coben

"An astonishing debut novel." - Louisa Ermelino, Publishers Weekly

"A powerful exercise in empathy and perspective." - Kirkus Reviews

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Reader Reviews

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Jennifer Z. (Hilliard, OH)

Gripping from the beginning
As a teacher and a mother, this book had me hooked from the get-go and reflecting on how I would react in a similar situation. At times it felt like I was experiencing the events myself. It was emotional, thought-provoking, and a true drama. I wish there was a sequel!

Maureen R. (Alamo, CA)

Only Child: A child shall teach us.
In Only Child by Rhiannon Navin, I was not expecting a page turner, but a page turner I found. Narrated by Zach, a six year caught in the crossfire of violence in an elementary school shooting, Only Child takes the reader on a journey most are afraid to contemplate and have no way of navigating. Zach's innocence proves to be both a safeguard and guiding light; and because he is able to find his way through the complexities of this tragedy, so are we. I found Only Child riveting and enlightening. From first page to last, Zack is our champion, and we are his.

Carol S. (Mt. Juliet, TN)

The wisdom of the very young
I enjoyed this book, a debut novel of Ms. Navin, which tells the story of a school shooting and the devastating impact this tragedy has on a family and the entire community.

A six year old boy, who survives the shooting but loses his brother that day, tells about his life and his feelings, watching thoughtfully while those around him attempt and fail to cope with the unimaginable. His innocent but wise perspective brought me to tears, to laughter and to a host of other emotions in between. I found myself pulling for him to show those much older and presumably wiser how to go on after such a loss.

This is a great book club selection. It is easy, interesting and compelling reading with an uplifting ending.

Elaine

Only Child by Rhiannon Navin
Only Child is a great book to read. I was hooked from the first page. The book flows very well. It is a hard subject matter to read about, but written through the eyes of a child is very interesting. You will truely think a child has written this, not because of the writing but because of his views and how he tried to handle a school shooting and the lost of his brother. The author did a wonderful job of giving us his view. I would recommend this book for all book clubs.

Terrie J. (Eagan, MN)

A Great Read
I really enjoyed this book. The book starts with a school shooting and the rest of the story deals with family strife and healing. The concept of writing this book through the eyes of a 6 year old was brilliant. I felt it truly captured a child's view of the events - his fears, guilt and loss. It was a good reminder to us that a child can see clearly right from wrong and the importance of love over hate - they don't get caught up in the outside opinions that can influence adults.

The author wrote this book beautifully. I read it in 3 days and couldn't wait to pick it up the next day to see what happened.

I have already recommended this book to others and will be recommending it to my book group.

Monica P. (Cleves, OH)

Only Child
This a very well written book told from the perspective of a six year old who not only survived a school shooting, but lost his ten year old brother in the tragedy. The way the chapters are arranged makes for a compelling story and I was very glad I read it. The characters are very real and the little boy manages to wade through some pretty deep emotions on his own. It would make an excellent movie.

...9 more reader reviews

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More Information

More Information

Rhiannon Navin grew up in Bremen, Germany, in a family of book-crazy women. Her career in advertising brought her to New York City, where she worked for several large agencies before becoming a full-time mother and writer. She now lives outside of New York City with her husband, three children, and two cats. This is her first novel.

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