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Karen Kingsbury
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4.31  ·  Rating Details ·  8,148 Ratings  ·  660 Reviews
Holden Harris is an autistic 18-year-old who is bullied at school. Laura Reynolds, the head cheerleader who befriends Holden, has problems of her own at home. In her trademark way, Kingsbury tackles real-life issues of high school bullying, autism, adultery, and ultimately acceptance.
Paperback, Large Print, 501 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Large Print Press (first published 2009)
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Barbara Diane is right. It is not a NEW new book, just a re-release by Zondervan. It was first released in September of 2010. If you haven't read it already,…moreDiane is right. It is not a NEW new book, just a re-release by Zondervan. It was first released in September of 2010. If you haven't read it already, you can't go wrong.(less)
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Community Reviews

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I am almost afraid to comment, I am obviously in the minority here. I'm a Christian, I pray, I truly and deeply believe in miracles but this book was just to cheesy much for me. A friend at work recommended it, knowing of our autistic son and wondering what I would think. I actually found the first bit, where Holden's mom is at work, comparing her life to the lady in the check out line, pretty spot on. And she is an awesome mother, doing her level best to fight the good autism fight. And Kingsbu ...more
Aug 11, 2011 Becki rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, 2011
So, just after reading chapter one, I already have a prejudice against this book. I really feel for people who have autistic children, but WHY do they insist on blaming it on vaccinations?? There is NO PROOF that vaccinations cause autism. In fact, they've proven that there is NO LINK between vaccinations and autism. It just makes me mad when parents of autistic children want there to be some outside reason for their child being the way they are. Why can't they just accept that this is who God m ...more
Sep 30, 2013 Heather rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A lot of these reviews are so negative. Yes, the book was neatly resolved & tied up with a now by the end. Honestly, I don't understand why this is a bad thing. Real life is so hard & trying & when I read I love the escape of going into someone else's world where problems do get solved & miracles happen flawlessly. I believe miracles still happen & thank you to Karen Kingsbury for demonstrating such a strong faith in a miracle working God. In a world where bad prevails most o ...more
Amy Dunn
Jun 14, 2011 Amy Dunn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I feel rude writing this review but i have to be honest... I really didn't like this book. I finished it easily enough but I found it really cheesy (and this is coming from someone who has grown up living and breathing Christian, romance novels!!)

The reason I feel especially terrible writing this is due to the author's comments at the end. I was going to rate this book 1 STAR until i read it was based on a true story... in which case praise the Lord.

I just feel that from my experiences with auti
Sep 28, 2010 Michelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Unlocked is an engrossing story and had so many emotionally evocative moments that I couldn't help getting teary eyed a few times. The author made an amazing statement at the end of the book in the form of a letter to readers that garnered a lot of respect from me, mainly because I'm a social worker.

The author made a point of explaining that no two diagnoses of autism are exactly alike. People are different and their symptoms are different. Levels of autism vary from mild (also known as high-fun
Nov 01, 2010 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is Karen Kingsbury's best book. In this book, Karen delves into the world of autism. Instead of focusing on the debate on whether or not autism is a result of too many vaccinations (although Holden's mom believes that is the cause of Holden's withdrawal), she focuses on the family and relationship dynamics that are affected by autism.

Holden, the protagonist, is locked inside of himself. Through his thoughts, the reader gets a glimpse of the struggle between what he feels and what he can ex
Nov 09, 2010 Jenna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I should rate this book higher, because it is such a touching and faith-promoting story. It's well written and all the emotion feels true as you read it. But, as the parent of an autistic child, I found several aspects of the story a bit grating. Kingsbury romanticizes autism so much in this book that it is obvious that she has not had direct, long-term contact with a person with autism. I also didn't like the mother in the book. Sure, she supported her son, but she could not get over what she h ...more
Oct 22, 2010 Alice rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this inspirational story about Holden and Ella, very close childhood friends who were forced apart when they were three years old and their families went different ways. When Holden was three he started withdrawing into his own world; he was diagnosed autistic. It changes the lives of these two families--Ella's family moving away. Then when Ella's family moves back to town Ella and Holden both end up going to Fulton High School. At the beginning Ella is dating Jake, the football quarterb ...more
Oct 30, 2010 Brenda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Unlocked by Karen Kingsbury is a touching story about a young man with autism that will grab your heart and not let go!

Until the age of three Holden Harris and Ella Reynolds had been inseparable, their families were the best of friends. When Holden is diagnosed with Autism, the Reynolds family decides they don't want their daughter playing with him anymore, but for Holden he never forgot Ella, part of his daily routine is watching home movies of him and Ella before he got sick.
Fast forward Hol
Jun 22, 2011 Jennybug rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a book that I read for book club. The only Karen Kingsbury book that I have read is "Let Me Hold You Longer", a children's book and one of my most favorite. I wasn't even aware that she wrote other books. Parts of this book were predictable and sometimes Christian authors are a little hard to read, because everything turns out. I find myself looking at other children I know with disabilities big and small and thinking where is their miracle? Although, I do have faith and know that mira ...more
Jun 16, 2014 Amytiger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The only reason I got into this book is because it was listed on my recommendations. I didn’t check why it was there, probably because I loved the books Rules and Out of my Mind. I just saw the cover, read the summary, looked over one or two of the reviews, and clicked the “Want to Read” button. So, as you could tell, I had no experience with this book. No friends to tell me their opinions or anything like that.
That’s why I knew this book was genuinely good: I liked it without any influence.
Savanah Nazimek
Feb 05, 2014 Savanah Nazimek rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book “unlocked” by Karen Kingsbury is a story about a boy named Holden who has autism. In this book, he discovers his best friend through a song. Throughout the book, people discover that although Holden has autism, he is capable of anything.
I personally enjoyed reading this book considering the fact that I have a cousin with autism. It was nice to see things from that perspective. From the first few pages I was completely sucked in. I liked how easy it was to foreshadow what would take pla
Mar 02, 2012 Jerry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Karen Kingsbury is a wonderful author, and Unlocked is second to, if not tied with, Like Dandelion Dust as the best novel of hers that I've ever read. I'm mildly autistic myself, and I found Mrs. Kingsbury's portrayal of the severly autistic Holden to be very sensitive and well-done. Ella was a likable character; I've known many women (young AND old) who were much like her, and I really don't know where I'd be without them. Unlocked moved me in a way few stories--literary, cinematic, or otherwis ...more
Gina Denny
Feb 18, 2011 Gina Denny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anybody. It's fast, easy, and sweet.
Recommended to Gina by: Suzanne
I debated for quite awhile about how many stars to give this book. If you had asked me after the first fifty pages, I would have said it was a one-star read. The central character, Holden, "catches" autism as a child as a result of vaccinations. Not only has this conspiracy theory been all but completed obliterated by science, but also so have the "therapies" that Holden's mother enrolls him in, particularly the nutrition therapy.

However, there were brief, shining moments where I might have rat
Oct 28, 2010 Elysa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Elysa by: Kendra Young
I love this book. Maybe it's my perspective, but as a mother of two children on the autism spectrum and a woman of faith, I think it's absolutely a must-read.

I found myself treading lightly through the first half, saddened by the first chapters and the pangs of hurt I feel myself when those who don't know my children underestimate them or worse---make fun of them and see no potential for relationship when they look at them. I stood in the hallway with Holden Harris...soaking it up...praying thr
Jun 07, 2011 Joan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Kingsbury fans
Recommended to Joan by: Book Club
Karen Kingsbury is a Christian writer who speaks with a Christian perspective to a number of concerns. Our book club has read a book of hers which discussed the issue of young people going to war. The most recent one was this, "Unlocked," the story of a thoughtful high school girl, a teenager who is autistic (severely so) and a high school boy who plays the flute. KIngsbury's major issue is bullying (you can see the scenario in the character descriptions above) but the minor issue--that Kingsbur ...more
Oct 29, 2015 Faye rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
So if one will pray hard enough, the sick will be healed, marriages will be healed, and all goes "normal". As the auntie of a young man with autism, I thought the book was unkind to those remarkable caregivers who do pray, and worry and cry and yet their child is not healed. Don't get me wrong here. It is good to believe in miracles, they happen every day, butsometimes the biggest miracle comes in a package that is not neatly wrapped up in a bow like the end of this book. Sometimes the miracle i ...more
Feb 25, 2013 Marisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Karen Kingsbury's "Unlocked" captures your heart with its story of a young eighteen year old named Holden Harris. Sadly, he suffers from autism and is attending a high school where the teenagers don't fully understand anything about what he goes through each day. Holden is very happy with himself on the inside but he gets bullied terribly at school. This was an amazing book that illustrates the life changing story of a family in need of a miracle.
This story talks about how the Harris family hav
M. Ables
Mar 28, 2011 M. Ables rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I usually have a hard time reading Christian novels. They tend to follow the same pattern....a sad situation or dilemma is proposed, the obvious characters are played- with the "good" near perfect and the "bad" somehow morally corrupt. The issue at hand is glazed over as lightly as possible, and there is ALWAYS an obvious resolution where everyone lives a fairytale after a boosting sermon & hearty slap on the back. More often than not they are contrived stories nothing short of self-indulgen ...more
Mar 27, 2013 Jodi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a book about a boy,Holden who was a normal boy at age three. He had a best friend, Ella. They use to play together and sing. He had 9 immunizations at one doctor visit and then he started to change. His mother was best friends with Ella's mother. Once Holden started to change the mothers had a hard time being around each other. They had been friends since high school. They stopped seeing each other and both families lost out. Holden's father went to Alaska and started fishing there most ...more
Nina Donkin
Jul 21, 2013 Nina Donkin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Karen Kingsbury's "Unlocked" is one of the best books I have ever read by her. It tells the story of Holden Harris, and eighteen year old high school student. Sadly, he suffers from autism. Deep within himself, Holden is very happy, but the students from his school don't understand him, and he is often bullied. But things begin to change.

The change begins in the form of a girl from school called Ella, who reaches out to Holden. And slowly, Holden starts to come out from within his inner self. T
Lee Fleming
My account had this in my library one day and I don't even know if I paid for it or what, but it was strangely there. Looked like teenage fiction/romance so I gave it a listen and, well... not bad!

If you like very religious themes, give it a whirl (they refer to prayer or church about every 20 minutes or so.) The story is a very uplifting tale of a teenage boy who has autism and how a sweet little girl in his class takes an interest in him.

Totally predicable, utterly schmaltzy, and
Nov 28, 2016 Veda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read this book before; and will read it again; as I get a little something different each time I read it. This book deals with autistic, bullying, and several other issues; that I won't say because I don't wan to ruin the story.
It is the story of an 18 year old boy named Holden Harris who has been locked in an autistic world since he was 3 years old. It is the story of Ella Reynolds, who at the beginning of the story is a part of the "in" crowd in high school. Ella is a cheerleader and th
Rabi Ekore
Dec 14, 2016 Rabi Ekore rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love the realistic portrayal of a boy suffering from autism. The story makes it possible to clearly understand this common mental health issue. Most importantly it gives hope to readers as they are made to realise that an autistic person can learn to live normally and be fully integrated into the society.
In my opinion, this is one of Karen Kingsbury's best books. It is not an easy one to read at times; your emotions will feel like they are on a roller coaster, but you will be inspired and uplifted in the end. Many topics important in the lives of high school students and their families are dealt with such as bullying, suicide, autism and other special needs, following or going against the crowd, the effects our choices have on other people, and how we tend to judge others by what we see on the o ...more
Mar 26, 2012 Carolyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My friend suggested Karen Kingsbury to me, that was the best suggestion i ever took!!! This book is awesome. totally. i know it sounds a little cliche but its something you need to read! The characters were well developed and i loved how Karen Kingsbury tackled the issue of bullying and autism. I didnt know much about autism until i read this book and it helped me understand the autistic people in my life a little more. I got to the climax of this book and i literally started crying! That doesn' ...more
Mary Dulaney
Mar 01, 2015 Mary Dulaney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such a great read!!! Told mostly from Holden's viewpoint, you are drawn into his thoughts & emotions locked behind the wall of autism. One person cares enough to try to unlock and free him from this prison.
Laura Mooneyhan
Mar 25, 2016 Laura Mooneyhan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutley loved this book! I loved the visible signs of God's work and the continuing faith of the characters. I loved that there wasn't an instant miracle, but a gradual progression, just luke when we pray and listen to God. This book left me feeling up lifted and inspired!
Kathryn Zook
Jul 02, 2012 Kathryn Zook rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such a good book and definitely made me cry more than once. Is not the greatest piece of literature, but is a very cute story. Would be great for disabilities awareness or a study on autism.
L Brownton
This story had deep meaning about relationships. I was very moved with compassion because I read this story, which very well could have been true. It dealt with the real issues of young adults today!
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what did the people who read this book like it? 4 32 Mar 12, 2016 07:49AM  
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Karen Kingsbury, #1 New York Times bestselling novelist, is America’s favorite inspirational storyteller, with more than twenty-five million copies of her award-winning books in print. Her last dozen titles have topped bestseller lists and many of her novels are under development with Hallmark Films and as major motion pictures. In addition, it was recently announced that Roma Downey and MGM Studi ...more
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“But the Beast was a good person...the Prince looked on the outside the way the Beast was on the inside. Sometimes people couldn't see the inside of the person unless they like the outside of a person. Because they hadn't learned to hear the music yet.” 47 likes
“Life is too short to be anything but real with the cast of characters God has placed in the story of your life. Love well, laugh often, and find your life in Christ. Don't hide away or be a follower. Be the wonderful unique person God made you to be, and know that your purpose will always be best when defined by your faith in him” 27 likes
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