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Karen Kingsbury, Zondervan, $16.99 trade paper (336p) ISBN 9780310266952
An average of 1 in 110 children has autism spectrum disorder, an astonishing number that also bespeaks sadness and frustration on the part of lots of parents of autistic children. Popular and prolific novelist Kingsbury (Ever After) takes on autism in the story Holden Harris, an 18-year-old high school student with autism and target for high school bullies. Popular Ella Reynolds, star of the high school's musical Beauty and the Beast, sticks up for Holden against her friends who are his tormentors. Added to the complex topics of autism and bullying is a subplot about teen-age suicide, making for far more weight than this story can bear. Her legions of fans may well find this nicey-nicey story resolution inspirational; that is the Kingsbury brand. But given the gravity of the subjects, what one finds inspirational another will likely see a naïve and unpersuasive fantasy that Walt Disney does a whole lot better, with music. Kingsbury is in over her head. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 11/08/2010
Release date: 09/01/2010
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