Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Ginny Moon- by Benjamin Ludwig - Book Review

Book Review of "Ginny Moon" by Benjamin Ludwig

This book is one that grabbed me right away because of the description and the reviews. "Meet Ginny. She’s fourteen, autistic, and has a heart-breaking secret… Ginny Moon is trying to make sense of a world that just doesn’t seem to add up…." I had to know what Ginny's secret was, and I was really intrigued by the idea of an autistic narrator-  while there have been a couple of well known books from that perspective, I haven't read a book like this before and wanted to see how that might work as a narrative choice. Read more to see my thoughts on "Ginny Moon" by Benjamin Ludwig. 

"Ginny Moon" by Benjamin Ludwig
Ginny Moon 
Benjamin Ludwig

Ginny Moon is exceptional. Everyone knows it—her friends at school, teammates on the basketball team, and especially her new adoptive parents. They all love her, even if they don't quite understand her. They want her to feel like she belongs. What they don't know is that Ginny has no intention of belonging. She's found her birth-mother on Facebook, and is determined to get back to her—even if it means going back to a place that was extremely dangerous. Because Ginny left something behind and she's desperate to get it back, to make things right. But no one listens. No one understands. So Ginny takes matters into her own hands....Benjamin Ludwig's whip-smart, unforgettable novel is an illuminating look at one girl's journey to find her way home and one of the freshest debuts in years.

Book Review of "Ginny Moon" by Benjamin Ludwig

Great perspective

From the start this book's perspective grabbed my attention, Ginny is autistic and it was both refreshing and challenging ( see more about this in the "Things I Struggled With" section) to read a book from such a unique perspective. Generally this is a sub genre that I really enjoy - a child narrator who doesn't quite understand what is going on, such as in "Room "by Emma Donoghue (which I loved!) In a similar way, this story has emotional weight and complexity because it is from a child's perspective.  As intrigued as I was, I was also anxious starting this book. I am not familiar with very many autistic people, and I feared that Ginny's autism would be a poorly used plot device - thankfully that was not my experience with this book *at all*. Ginny's story and the narrative choices of the author were given extra weight, in my opinion, by the fact that in the acknowledgements the author mentions that he and his wife adopted a teenager with autism. Reading this book, it is both clear and important that the author has such a hands on experience with someone experiencing the same symptoms as Ginny.

Heartbreakingly frustrating

The emotion that I couldn't shake after reading when I would step away from this book was complete and total frustration that just made my heart ache. Reading I felt frustration for every character in the story. Of course for Ginny, but also for her adoptive parents, and then for the school workers, and her counselors, her classmates. It is undoubtedly frustrating at times to raise or assist someone with autism, and the author did a good job of showing how and why that happens. But more frequently during this book, that feeling was not directed at Ginny, but towards a system, and our our human nature, that seemed to constantly be working against her. I wanted even more from this part of the book. I wanted more of an understanding of how the adult characters- particularly her adoptive parents who were raising someone with autism that they adopted in a particularly difficult situation, but because the story is told through Ginny's eyes, we only really get the feelings that they openly say aloud.

Things I Struggled With

As I said at the beginning of the post, while I was initially drawn to reading this book because of my interest in an autistic narrator, ultimately it was challenging to read a book from her perspective. I had a hard time getting into "Ginny Moon" because of the narrative voice. I felt this way also with "Room" at times. In both cases, it was a brilliant choice by the author to have the child be the narrator. It certainly makes for a more interesting read and a more challenging book to write as well - but as a reader, it is hard to balance what I can acknowledge as deft choices by the author and my own desires as a reader. I had to work pretty hard sometimes to get into the book at the beginning. However once I was into the story, I would say for the last third of the book, I had a hard time putting it down! Otherwise I really enjoyed "Ginny Moon" and had few moments where reading it felt like a struggle.

I would give this book 3.5/5 stars. So so close to a four, but I was left wanting just a little more. Click the video below for a quick summary of the book and some thoughts!

Have you read "Ginny Moon" by Benjamin Ludwig? 
If so, let me know what you thought of the book below in the comments! Thinking about reading this book? Click here to find a copy at your local library or click below to view the book on Amazon.

Many thanks to Blue Rider Press & Plume and Penguin Random House for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. As a "girl about library", where books are always free, you can be sure that all opinions expressed are my own. Happy reading!


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