I had the opportunity to review Unlocked by Karen Kingsbury. It is a fictional book about a boy with autism and how music helped him come out of his shell. I can't remember the last time I sat down to read a novel. Somehow, since this involved autism I felt that I had 'permission' to take the time to read it. I haven't been this riveted to a book in quite some time. Before 'kids' I used to sit and read. I used to travel..and read. As a kid I read every book I could get my hands on and I would get lost in fiction. This book took me back to the joy of that. Even though I still had my autism hat on, it felt good to read something inspiring.
Since this is my first fiction review I want to make sure I don't give too much away. The book is about a high school young man who is 'locked' away in the world of autism. Music is a gift that begins to unlock his world. I truly pictured each scene as it was playing out in the book. That is what I love about books instead of TV; they make you imagine and think. The characters seem very true to life to me and they show the struggles that are real in a life of special needs for the child and the family. The plot includes bullying and school cliques, good guys and bad guys, and as every good book has one, there is a heroine.
I love the way that you could read this book, even if you didn't understand autism, and gain a glimpse into the world. Although the main character in this book was not verbal, the stresses in every day life are the same I think when you have a child with special needs and specifically autism. One particular touching relationship to me was the young man and his young cousin who came to live with them. I have seen that with Andrew. The ages don't matter to him and he can find relationship in young and old people. Other relationships played out very realistically as well. I wonder how many married couples can identify with the couple in this book? I am sure there is a high school student or two that would see themselves and their friends in the book.
The story is very positive but it digs deep on some very difficult topics. There were some parts that were just too much to read closely but I think that is because they were just so real. The end of the book made me want to go out and get Unlocked II to see where life will take this young man.
Karen has written other books and I am going to be sure to look at them now. She has a website with her other books as well as a facebook group. Amazon has the book for $6.57 and I heard that they are potentially selling it at Costco as well.
Zondervan sent me a copy of Unlocked so that I may review it on my blog. I am not paid for reviews and and not obligated to provide a positive review.