Six-year-old Zach squeezed into a closet with his classmates on the day a shooter showed up at his school. He survived. His ten-year-old brother, Andy, did not. In the aftermath, Zach is faced with his parents' deep grief and his own complicated feelings about losing a difficult and sometimes cruel brother. Told entirely in Zach's voice, Only Child offers the perspective of the youngest of victims of the mass shooting epidemic.
The book is a reminder of the need to turn away from rage toward compassion and revenge toward forgiveness as we consider the dialogue and our next steps when these horrific tragedies occur. Nonetheless, it suffered a bit from being solely told by Zach and might have benefited from an alternating adult narrator.
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Readers of Jodi Picoult and Liane Moriarty will also like this tenderhearted debut about healing and family, narrated by an unforgettable 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.