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Only Child

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  12,019 ratings  ·  2,042 reviews
We went to school that Tuesday like normal.

Not all of us came home . . .

Huddled in a cloakroom with his classmates and teacher, six-year-old Zach can hear shots ringing through the corridors of his school. A gunman has entered the building and, in a matter of minutes, will have taken nineteen lives.

In the aftermath of the shooting, the close knit community and its families
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published March 8th 2018 by Mantle
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Carol Navin It is written using the voice of a first grader named Zach who along with his teacher and classmates are hiding in a closet while the gunman goes on a…moreIt is written using the voice of a first grader named Zach who along with his teacher and classmates are hiding in a closet while the gunman goes on a shooting rampage, killing nineteen persons. The author weaves a story around how these shootings affect the lives of Zach’s family as well as others who lose children that fateful day. (less)

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Average rating 4.22  · 
Rating details
 ·  12,019 ratings  ·  2,042 reviews

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Elyse  Walters
Feb 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition by a very talented child with a growing resume by the name of Kivlighan de Montebello.

Kivlighan has appeared in 11 films, 1 theater production, 2 television shows, and 5 voice overs. I was so impressed by the presence of this child’s voice - ( honestly one of the very best VOICE OVERS I’ve listened to in my entire history of audio-listening.
I HAD TO LOOK THIS KID UP. WHO WAS HE? Pretty amazing - that’s for sure!!!
His talent ( for what his job was to do) impressed me - - differe
May 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs, 2018
My reviews can also be seen at: https://deesradreadsandreviews.wordpr...

“Zach’s story starts on the worst day of his life, and takes him on a journey no-one could have expected”

The book opens with six-year-old Zach, his teacher, and his classmates hiding in a closet. A gunman has entered the school and they can hear shots being fired. It was extremely intense; I could feel the anxiety of the characters. Zach tells us how they had just come in from recess and they were about to start math les
Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finished this book about the effects on one family in the aftermath of a school shooting just days before the horrific school shooting in Florida. What a powerful and remarkable novel! The author’s decision to write from the point of view of a first grader who survived provides a brilliant and welcome perspective; one I’ve not seen in other “school shooting” fiction. I’ll step onto my soapbox now and say that instead of once again just offering “thoughts and prayers,” every politician should r ...more
Diane S ☔
Once again fiction takes us into reality, a reality that I wish wasn't true. A school shooting, taken out of our recent headlines, a six year old boy named Zach survives, his ten year old brother does not. Our narrator is Zach, his voice as he takes us into not only his feelings but those of his parents. Heartbreaking for sure.

Am somewhat of an outlier with my rating. Seems like because of the subject, the young narrator that this book should garner a higher rating but..I had trouble believing
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
4 timely and emotional stars to Only Child ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Review of the audio! 🎧

Only Child was released eight days before the school shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School. I wasn’t sure if I was ready for this one, but it came highly recommended by my friend, Elyse, especially the audio version, which is narrated by a child, a child prodigy, really, speaking in first person.

Zach becomes an “only child” when his sibling, his brother Andy, was killed during a school shooting. Zach’s-eye view is p
This is heartbreaking material, so timely and so relevant given the continuing horrors of school shootings. An amazing read that will stay in my mind for a long time to come. There are many reviews on this book, but I would like to recommend my good friend Elyse's review which had me bypass so many other books that I pushed this one up the pile.

Cannot recommend this highly enough!
☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~  ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣
A very strong book striving to give a very private view into a child's perseption of the world. Of couse, I wouldn't really say that the writer got it too good, how children think, there are many different things that stick out. Still, the emotions and the family are very well written and well accentuated.

The small details worked great: the angel charm, the mother's psychological developments, synestetics, the books as a way to cope with the tragedy. Lovely.

Medicating an ODD
Meredith B.  (readingwithmere)
5 STARS...I'd give it 10 if i could

I think sometimes you can make other people happy by letting them take care of you.

I. Am. Emotionally. Destroyed. I started this book and finished it within 3 hours and I couldn't stop reading it! It was so much more than what I was expecting and for being a debut novel this was incredible. I read this for my book club and I'm so glad we chose to read it.

The opening scene in this book will hit you hard. Imagine: An elementary school and kids are shuffled in
Feb 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A remarkable debut novel ripped from the much to common school shooting headlines but brilliantly told through a different perspective.

In ONLY CHILD six-year-old Zack Taylor tells us a story. It’s the story of how he survives a deadly shooting at his school by hiding in his classroom closet with his teacher. But one of the 19 casualties was his 10-year-old brother, Andy. Zach’s mother is utterly shocked and devastated. She is on a desperate quest for justice against the shooter’s parents
Apr 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Let me just start by saying my only regret is not listening to the audiobook version of this because I’ve seen so many people rave about how incredible the young boy who narrates does. I read a physical copy and still was floored with emotion while reading. This is not an exaggeration. I was fully holding back tears and in need of tissues the entire time I read this book. And it hit me quite early on. Of course, right from the start we are in the closet with Zach and his class while a shooter is ...more
Jul 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary-fiction
Only Child is a book I was hesitant to read, because it is told from the perspective of a young child, however, any concerns I had on this front were for nothing. The book has something of "Room" by Emma Donoghue, which is also narrated by a child, and both offer an interesting perspective in looking at a situation that, when described by an adult, might be just too awful to contemplate. In Only Child, a family is forced to deal with the aftermath of a school shooting and the way Zach, the young ...more
Feb 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways
This is a heartbreaking tale about the aftermath of a school shooting. Zak Taylor is six years old when a gunman comes into his school and kills nineteen people. Zak and his classmates have survived because their teacher locks the classroom door and they all hide in a cupboard out of sight. Later they find out that Zak's ten year old brother is one of the victims. This story is told from six year old Zak's point of view. Emotions run high in this book as the families try to come to terms with th ...more
Louise Wilson
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
A tenderhearted debut novel about healing and family narrated by an unforgettable six year old boy who reminds us that sometimes the littlest bodies holds the biggest hearts and the quiet pics speak the loudest.

This book is about the effect on a family in the aftermath of a school shooting. We get told the story of events fron a first grader called Zach. Zach survives but his 10 year old brother does not. This story is heartbreaking but it's also beautifully written. A poignant and heartbreaking
Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This novel deals with the aftermath of a school shooting from the point of view of young Zach Taylor. His teacher, Miss Russell, hides her class successfully while a shooter prowls the corridors of McKinley Elementary School, but, when Zach is reunited with his mother, Melissa, and dad, Jim, they find that his older brother, Andy, is nowhere to be found. Later, it is discovered that Andy was one of a number of children who were killed by the adult son of the school security guard, Charles Ranale ...more
A terrible thing has happened. A sick man has gotten into McKinley School. He killed a bunch of people with his gun. One of these is Andy Taylor. His younger brother, Zach, also in the school at the time of the shooting, has survived.
The entire story is told from the point of view of six year old Zach. He sees his parents arguing and drawing away from each other. He feels very lonely and neglected.
I don’t mind dysfunctional people, but when its parents of a small child, it is hard for me to tak
Apr 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing

I found Only Child a raw heartbreaking story, but so extremely well written that I couldn’t stop turning the pages. It brings it home to me all the real-life shooting in schools that we see on the news and in the papers. The Only Child is narrated by six-year old Zac. Miss Russell did what most teachers would do she hid all of the class from a crazy gun man shooting children at the school. Zac had lost his brother Andy in the shooting. To make this tragedy more heartbreaking it was someone that
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: release-2018
“The thing I later remembered the most about the day the gunman came was my teacher Miss Russell’s breath.”

An endearing story about a 6yr old struggling with grief after a traumatic shooting in his school causes the loss of his brother.
Rhiannon Navin wrote an amazing first novel on experiencing grief and that dislocated feeling as only a child would feel, and as a parent struggling with loss.
This had me in tears - recommend with caution.
5 ☆

(I’ve had this book but with the subject matter I kept
Jennifer Blankfein
Review and Q & A with Rhiannon Navin...
First I would like to say I loved Only Child. Your writing pulled me in so I couldn’t put down the book until I finished; I think about the characters and how they dealt with tragedy and loss everyday, and I see the value of empathy now more than ever. I felt hesitant when I was ready to pick up my copy – we as a country are experiencing the aftermath of a school shooting once again and emotions are difficult to keep in check when thinking about the minute
Mariah Roze
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5- the only reason that it wasn't 5 stars was because I had some questions at the end that were not answered.

I read this book for my hometown book club. When reading the back I knew instantly that this would be a book that would break my heart, yet I'd still love it.

The book is about a school shooting that happens at an elementary school. The main character is a 1st grader and his 4th grade brother gets killed. This book is about their recovery and their struggles to grasp what happened and h
Jamie Rosenblit
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs
So, I've always been oddly fascinated with school shootings, maybe because I was in middle school during Columbine and I was terrified of going to school every day after, that being a naturally curious person, I sought out books about this subject, whether fiction or non-fiction. Nineteen Minutes is probably my favorite book of all time, We Need to Talk About Kevin horrified me but I devoured every page, Finding Jake, you get where I'm going with this. When I heard there was a book coming out th ...more
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
6-year-old Zach Taylor is hiding in the closet with his teacher and other classmates. They cringe in terror as they listen to the sounds of “pop”, “pop”, “pop” in the hallway of their school. A gunman is loose in the school and they have no idea which room he’ll enter next. After the police come, Zach goes to the hospital with his mother, where they learn that Zach’s 10-year-old brother Andy is one of the 19 victims of the shooting. In the days following Andy’s death, Zach’s mother holds the sho ...more
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The whole story is told through the eyes of Zach, a seven year old little guy and it begins on the day a gunman opens fire at his elementary school. I have three small kids, 9, 6 and 3 and my two oldest have participated in multiple lockdown drills. I remember when my oldest daughter came home from kindergarten talking about what to do if “a bad guy comes to my school mommy, we have to hide in the bathroom and stay super quiet.” That chilled me to my core but unfortunately that’s the world we li ...more
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yesterday we did all the things we did every Tuesday, because we didn't know that today a gunman was going to come.

If you were a fan of Room and A man called Ove I think you will also enjoy Only Child. I've read many books about school shootings, but the opening scene in this book tore my heart to pieces. It must be very difficult to write an authentic sounding 6 year old, especially one going through such a traumatic time with so many events he does not understand. Rhiannon Navin does a stell
Sherri Thacker
Reading this book the day AFTER the real life shooting in Parkland, FL. I debated whether to read it but since it’s here from the library for 2 weeks, I decided to try and see. The story is told by the 7 year old in a school shooting and the author did a great job with it. Very heartbreaking and unfortunately this is happening more and more IRL. When will it stop?
Feb 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I had almost finished reading Only Child when the news broke of yet another senseless and horrific school shooting in the US. Reading a story about a school shooting whilst one was taking place in real life added an extra sadness and poignancy.

The story begins with 6 year old Zach Taylor hiding in a cupboard along with his teacher and classmates during a school lockdown. There is a gunman walking the corridors, shooting children and teachers. In describing the fear and terror that
Dec 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Zach is seven years old when his world collapses. A mentally ill man enters his elementary school with a gun. One of those murdered is Zach's ten year old brother Andy, a bright and vivacious child with Oppositional Defiant Disorder whose management had already stressed their parent's marriage. They are unable to agree on anything now: the mother bent on revenge, the father showing understanding of Zach's regression while he goes to work and carries on. 

Zach is left on his own to deal with the c
Dale Harcombe
Dec 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Zach is shuffled by Miss Russell, his teacher, along with the rest of his class into the cloakroom. The door is held shut. From outside come strange popping noises. By the time Zach and everyone emerge from the confined space nineteen people are dead, fifteen of them children at the school. So many families are affected by the tragedy. Grief affects people in different ways and this community is no different. Zach’s mother is on a vengeful quest for justice. His father withdraws. Zach is left a ...more
Nicole Chinnici
What a way to start out the new year! Only Child was not only the first book I completed in 2018, but it absolutely wrecked me.

“I never knew you could feel more than one feeling inside of you at the same time.
Especially feelings that are opposites. I know you can feel excited, but when you do what made you excited, the excited feeling goes away and you feel happy because it was fun. Or sad because it’s over already, like right after everyone leaves from your birthday party. But more than one fee
Tracy Fenton
Feb 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My Review: I read this book in the week that there was a real life school shooting in Florida and therefore my emotions were already heightened by yet another senseless tragedy. What I wasn’t expecting was to fall head over heels in love with Zach, our 7 year old narrator who stole my heart from page 1.

This courageous, brave, sensitive and emotional little boy tells us his horrific story starting with a very fraught and emotional opening chapter. Whilst this book deals with a horrific and topica
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RHIANNON NAVIN grew up in Bremen, Germany, in a family of book-crazy women. Her career in advertising brought her to New York City, where she worked for several large agencies before becoming a full-time mother and writer. She now lives outside of New York City with her husband, three children, and two cats.

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