Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Saving Max” as Want to Read:
Saving Max
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Saving Max

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  10,534 ratings  ·  1,089 reviews
Max Parkman—autistic and whip-smart, emotionally fragile and aggressive—is perfect in his mother's eyes. Until he's accused of murder.

Attorney Danielle Parkman knows her teenage son Max's behavior has been getting worse—using drugs and lashing out. But she can't accept the diagnosis she receives at a top-notch adolescent psychiatric facility that her son is deeply disturbe
Paperback, 376 pages
Published September 28th 2010 by Mira
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Saving Max, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Andrew Campbell I thought this book was interesting, definitely worth the read!

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  10,534 ratings  ·  1,089 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Saving Max
May 15, 2011 rated it did not like it
I will not even give this book one star as it is one of the worst books Ive ever read. The storyline is very similar in many ways to Jodi Picoults latest book. The writing is amateurish, boring, and worse than the simplistic Danielle Steele type books I use to read when I was a teen.In fact the one love scene I read before I quit reminded me of those romance novels. The most annoying and I think dangerous thing about books like this, even though they are fiction, is the false impressions they gi ...more
Dec 07, 2010 rated it it was ok
I finished this in about 2 days, so I guess you would say that it engaged me,,,,but it was not as good as I had hoped. Interesting premise, but....poor execution. Character development was not well done at all.

I had several other problems with the book. I think it is overwritten (some of the writing is so dramatic and lots of unnecessary similes) and somewhat repetitive. The shift from past to present tense is awkward and unnecessary. Anyone looking for a novel about autism will be disappointed
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This book was recommended to me by a friend. She spoke so highly of it, and all the emotions she felt while she read it. She is the only reason I stuck it out to the end.

This book was horrible! I don't even know where to start! The writing was very elementary. It reminded me of when I was in the seventh grade, and a few friends of mine and I tried our hand at writing stories with adult characters. It was what we perceived adults to be--not what they truly were. That is how this book is. The aut
Mar 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, reviewed
Okay now I need to write a review about this book even though I decided not to finish reading it. Danielle has a high function autistic son who has asperger's. Now autism is a disorder that is not contagious and it affects 1 out of 110 children born today. I have a handsome 9 year old with autism he has PDD (Pervasive Developmental Disorder). Like Danielle's son my son is extremely high functioning as well.
Danielle explains how her son was a sweet boy. How he was lovable and sweet. She explained
Aug 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Reading other reviews, people seem to either love or hate this book. I am one of the ones who loved it! It's a quick read because I just couldn't put it down. Now there are a few bits that are rough around the edges, but in the main it's an unusual psychological thriller. Danielle is a single parent to Max, who has Asperger's Syndrome. At sixteen he is getting worse, and she checks him into a renowned psychiatric unit for short term assessment. However, within a few days he is accused of the bru ...more
Apr 27, 2012 rated it did not like it

When I first got into this book, I thought I was going to end up with a three-halfer or four star. The story captured my attention from the very beginning. A single mom is raising a special needs child who is autistic with other non specified mental health issues. The mom makes a fateful decision to take her son to a special psychiatric hospital for treatment. But treatment doesn't help and the son is accused of murdering another patient. The mom, a lawyer herself, faces criminal charges of her
Nov 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime, legal-thriller
I have very mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I read it very quickly and easily. I really couldn't pull myself away from it once I started it. On the other hand, there are many things that usually annoy me in my books and this one was no exception.

It's always easier for me to say what I don't like than what I like. Therefore, let's start with good things. Although the beginning is rather slow and not much happens, you read this story really fast. The chapters are short, there are
Jun 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This book was recommended to me by a friend...I had read about the book, but due to the number of lousy reviews it had received, I had never picked it up to read myself. That said...

it really isn't as bad as people say it is. Simplistic? Pretty much. Far fetched? Quite. Derogatory towards the mental health field? Absolutely. Entertaining? You betcha. I don't know about you, but sometimes I want to be flat out entertained...and this book did the trick.

I was hooked from the get go. While this book
Nicola Mansfield
Jul 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Reason for Reading: One of the book's main characters is described as having Asperger's and since I, myself have Asperger's I was immediately interested. But the book's plot and setting of a psychiatric hospital also had me eager to read the book.

The book opens with Danielle, the mother of Max, entering a patient's room and finding him brutally murdered while huddled on the floor nearby, unconscious, is her son, Max, with the murder weapon in his hand. Danielle is a lawyer and her son, Max, has
Sep 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Why I read this: I was asked by the publicist if I would like to read it and I really like the titles put out by Mira Books. I read the description and I knew I was hooked and had to read this one.

How is the novel driven: Action and character, since this is a suspense/thriller novel, action is the dominant driving force, but character development is key as well.

My thoughts: I have read mixed reviews so I wasn't sure what I was going to think about this one before I started. But as I started read
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
Grade: F+

SAVING MAX started off as a 5 star masterpiece, but quickly descended into a 0 star joke. The blurb left me hopeful for a DEFENDING JACOB-like story of a mother blind to the behavior of her son and in the first chapters I saw glimpses of brilliance. I didn't care that Danielle seemed overbearing and without insight into her son's problems. Parents are sometimes in denial of their kids' issues and they don't always have the life experience to distinguish the ranges of typical behaviors f
Apr 04, 2011 rated it liked it
This book was not unlike the fastest rinky-dink roller coaster ride at a local carnival: high drama, fast pace, occasional highlights, but alas, not particularly memorable when recalled the next day. I read this in about four hours on a Sunday afternoon, a strong testament, I suppose, to its suspenseful narrative. Although the two main characters, Danielle and her son Max, are disappointingly one-dimensional, theirs is a predicament that demands a resolution. I felt the need to know what happene ...more
Mar 20, 2011 rated it did not like it
i read this book quickly (in a day and a half) but that is no indication that it was a good book. this is a book club selection and our meeting it next sunday. i only purchased the book on friday and with current plans for the weekend, i had to cram now.

the characters were so flat. you never really got to know max or danielle or why she was confident, other than being his mother, that he wasn't crazy and did't kill a fellow mental patient. the writing itself was rather tired. if the author used
The writing annoyed me at times and the story was full of convenient coincidences and very improbable actions BUT it still kept me interested until the very end. So for that reason I'll rate it 3 stars.

Side note: The narrator of the audiobook, Therese Plummer, did a good job except for the fact that she was a loud swallower. I hate that.
Harlequin Books
Reading Log - Day 1

Danielle's life seems to be falling apart in every way imaginable. Her job is in danger. Her best friend needs her because her life is falling apart. Most importantly, her son needs her. My heart goes out to her when she finally hears what the doctor diagnose him with. The list seems never-ending and quite hopeless. If it wasn't for the one night she spent talking with a complete stranger, I would say she has nothing positive to hold on to and even that could potentially be fi
Meagen Hudson
May 19, 2014 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own-read
Danielle Park is an attorney and lately her son, Max has been giving her grief as his behaviour has been out of control and she's not certain what's causing him to act like this. In her eyes, Max could never do no wrong and was a joy to be around, so why the sudden change in him.

Then one day tragedy strikes and Danielle doesn't know who to turn to for help. When the unimaginable and unthinkable happens, Danielle's world is turned upside down.

Saving Max was an intriguing read which I enjoyed re
Oct 25, 2010 rated it liked it
I had mixed feelings about this book. It did have its good points: the concept is interesting, and the writing wasn’t bad. I did read to the end, after all, and my patience with books this year is very short. But it definitely had its weak points. We don’t really get to know Max, despite him being at the center of the book. And for being a lawyer, Danielle is awful flippant about jumping bail and breaking the law. I just didn’t find that part of her character believable. Yes, a mother will do wh ...more
Dec 30, 2017 added it
Shelves: bookclubs
Most books I like. This one held me captive and kept me reading, but I'm not sure I liked it. More said on book club day. ;)
Feb 02, 2011 rated it it was ok
Van Heugten’s debut novel, Saving Max, is the story of single mother, Danielle, whose son, Max, is accused of murder while in a psychiatric facility for evaluation. Danielle has taken Max from Manhattan, where she works as a lawyer, to the renowned Maitland clinic in Plano, Iowa, where Max can be assessed. Although he’s already been diagnosed with Asperger's (a mild form of autism), Max’s behaviour has become increasingly more troublesome (so we’re told) and Danielle is out of options.

Once at Ma
Oct 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
This was a really easy book to get hooked on. Within the first chapter I found myself finding it hard to put this book down. I love books that make you bargain with yourself on how many more pages you will allow yourself to read before you get back to the real world, and this was one of those books. I also found myself breaking all those bargains to read just one more chapter.

The author gives you a glimpse into the life of a single mother of a special needs child. The struggles she faces with a
Mar 12, 2012 rated it liked it
This book kept my attention, and the plot was fairly interesting, but there were a lot of loose ends. Danielle, a high powered NY attorney, is spending too much time in Iowa, where her autistic teenage son Max is undergoing psychiatric evaluation at Maitland Psychiatric Hospital. Things quickly spiral out of control when Max is diagnosed with psychosis on top of his Asperger's Syndrome. Just before the diagnosis and shortly thereafter, Max is involved in a pattern of violent incidents towards Jo ...more
Tasha enderby
Jul 23, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2011
I found this book at the thrift store, I spied it on the Target shelf of books to read a while ago and thought for a quarter it could be worth trying to read. So I picked it up but it will quickly going to the half price book store because it was a decent read I would not be likely recommend the book or reread it again myself.

This is a story of Mother's, it makes you mad, sad and stricken all at the same time. I will warn you it takes some getting into and for the first 100 or so pages it wasn't
Oct 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
i could not put this book down, in fact i stayed up until 3 am this morning finishing it, because i needed to know how everything panned out. I love books about people dealing with psychological problems and disorders and this was probably the best one i've read yet!!! def. go pick this book up, you won't regret it!!!

This story is about a young teenage boy named max, who has severe or what is thought to be severe psychological problems, when his mother finds out he's been using drugs she decide
Jul 25, 2011 rated it it was ok
The idea of this book was really good but it was executed really poorly. The author does a lot of telling and not showing. We're expected to believe the mother that Max is not violent even though the story opens with Max shoving her. And on and on. The author did not do a good job at all of making me think Max was innocent. Also, parts of this are really forced. The guy she meets and falls in love with immediately turn out to be the lawyer? Bleh. But mostly, I just really hated the mom. She was ...more
Mar 28, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: deleted
This story was just too outlandish for me. When her teenage son is committed to a psychiatric facility this mother, who is a high-powered attorney about to make partner in her prestigious New York firm, is told her son is in the throes of schizophrenia which will become worse, more violent, etc. of course her son is too precious for her to believe that. So she easily steals a key card for the entire psych hospital (yeah like that could happen) and crawls in the dirt peering in windows to see how ...more
Stacy Boyd
As a mother, I empathized with this heroine completely. But my empathy, and her terrible situation, meant I couldn't fully trust her version of the facts. Was she blinded to the truth about her son? This question creates amazing emotional tension in a fast-moving legal plot. ...more
Carli A
Oct 07, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: own
[Review coming when it's not late at night] Now that it's not late, I'm gonna delve into the review! This took me a few months to read because I kept avoiding it buuuut I'm finished now.

*Somewhere between 1.5 and 2 stars*

*Warnings that I don't talk about in the review because they didn't lower my rating but you might want to know about anyways: Some parts in the beginning have quite a bit of language, there's a sex scene between two adults a few chapters in, and there's a part at the end with a
Jan 15, 2021 rated it liked it
The majority of this book was a drag. The first 25-30% and last few chapters were what did it for me. The premise is enticing, the verdict: gut-wrenchingly exhilarating; a huge sigh of relief. Danielle was just soooo annoying! I get what her character represented but goodness gracious the way it was drilled in our heads with every chapter was maddening. A tenacious New York lawyer who will stop at nothing to prove her sons innocence; even if it means getting her license revoked. Not a terrible r ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Every time PureFit Keto low on energy 1 2 Nov 25, 2018 09:49PM  
Max Keto Burn supplement as directed 1 2 Nov 22, 2018 09:48PM  
Discussion with those who have read this book 2 9 Aug 16, 2015 08:18PM  
A variety of new technologies 1 4 May 21, 2015 01:48AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Murderer's Daughters
  • Outside the Lines
  • The Good Sister
  • These Things Hidden
  • Best Kept Secret
  • Little Mercies
  • The Weight of Silence
  • Bonuskind
  • The Friends We Keep
  • The Kindness of Strangers
  • After You
  • Save Me
  • Look Again
  • The Queen of New Beginnings
  • One Breath Away
  • El sanador de caballos
  • La noche soñada
  • Mi color favorito es verte
See similar books…
A former international trial lawyer, van Heugten spent 15 years practicing all over the world, primarily in Scandinavia, Germany and the Netherlands, as well as in Houston, her hometown. She’s a graduate of the University of Texas in Austin, Texas, where she earned her undergraduate and law degrees.

The Tulip Eaters is van Heugten’s second novel. Her debut novel, Saving Max (MIRA Books, October 20

Related Articles

  Die-hard mystery fans are always on the hunt for their next supremely satisfying whodunit. To help you stock that Want to Read shelf, we asked...
37 likes · 21 comments