We all went to school that Tuesday like normal. Not all of us came home.
When the unthinkable happens, six-year-old Zach is at school. Huddled in a cloakroom with his classmates and teacher, he is too young to understand that life will never be the same again.
Afterwards, the once close-knit community is left reeling. Zach’s dad retreats. His mum sets out to seek revenge. Zach, scared, lost and confused, disappears into his super-secret hideout to try to make sense of things. Nothing feels right – until he listens to his heart . . .
But can he remind the grown-ups how to love again?
Narrated by Zach, Only Child is full of heart; a real rollercoaster of a read that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the final page.
This is a brilliantly written debut focusing on a horrific school shooting and the rippling aftermath that the event has on the local community. It is powerful, heartbreaking and incredibly relevant given the current news and media. The book really hones in on the community and the lasting effects that this single event can have.
The book is told from the perspective of young Zach, who is a powerful and fascinating protagonist. Navin does a fantastic job of bringing him to life, Zach along with the rest of the characters feel very realistic and complex, each dealing with their own complex emotions and grief as they deal with all that has happened. I definitely felt myself becoming attached to Zach, you feel for this clever young boy as he retreats into his books and drawings, while his parents attempt to cope with their grief.
I also found it fascinating that Zach chose to represent his emotions with colours. He’s a bright and fascinating character and seeing him bring people together was part of the reason I loved this book so much. It is excellently paced and the writing style definitely hooks you in from the get go. It might be a difficult topic but it is absolutely worth while.
This book is by no means an easy read. It is hard hitting and emotional, but it is one that you have to read. It stayed with me long after I finished reading it and I found myself thinking about it throughout the day afterwards. As a debut it is stunning and I am eagerly looking forward to seeing what Rhiannon Navin has in store next.