Meredith B. (readingwithmere)'s Reviews > Only Child

Only Child by Rhiannon Navin
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it was amazing

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 into a closet. The teacher has to lock the door and tell them to continually quiet down. All the kids can hear are "Pop. Pop. Pop." Some scream, some get sick and some are in total shock about what's happening. They've done lockdown drills before but nothing quite compares to having to do the real thing.

A knock on the door and it's the police, they usher the kids out and into a safe place - the church. Zach, the 6 year old that this book is narrated by, is trying to take it all in as he passes people on the floor. Dead. Covered in Blood. He just wants his Mom & Dad. Eventually his mom gets through to the church and gets him. His Dad shows up and they start to look for Zach's brother, Andy.

The story goes on to take us through the grieving process of a school shooting, how to deal with the shooters family and how mental illness can effect even the smallest in our community - our children. We watch Melissa, Zach's mom, turn into someone completely different, we watch the family start to tear apart and we watch Zach start to blame himself and take on the burden of trying to fix everything that's gone wrong. He reads and comes across four secrets to happiness and he tries to use them to heal everyone. Can you imagine, a six year old trying to fix this truly horrific disaster? What a miraculous child.

There's so much more to this story than what I just wrote but I can't because I don't want to spoil anything. I cried no less than 5 times while reading this book. As a disclaimer: I don't have kids. but this devastated me and I can only imagine if you have kids this book would effect you in an even deeper way. I could literally feel the emotion coming off the page through each and every character. Clearly, this is an emotional book so brace yourself before you read it.

This book is told in the narrative voice of Zach, the six year old boy, and how he views all of the decisions and conversations that his family and people around him are going through. I think sometimes we forget how smart children are and how their perspective of things can sometimes be the best. They can help us heal and they tend to see the best in situations. Does Zach go through some serious emotions? Of course. He just lost his brother and his parents are fighting. However, he is still able to see perspective when it comes to the situation and tries to bring everyone together to "make it good again."

If or when I ever have kids I hope to God that I have a kid like Zach. He is the kind of kid you want to raise and the kind of kid you would want when a tragedy occurs in your life.

As I was reading this I also kept thinking about the kids at Sandy Hook and their families. I can't imagine what that day was like and I now have a tiny bit of insight and emotional empathy towards the parents who had to go through this devastation. Unfortunately, this book is so relevant in our society today and I hope that people read it and take action. There are things we can do and we need to keep fighting.

Which brings me to my last topic that was important in this novel: Mental Health. Again, most of the school shootings happening in today's day in age are done by individuals who are getting guns in their hands who may not be mentally fit to have them. We need to keep talking about this and continue to protect our children. Remember: School should always be a safe place for your kids. Always. So in remembrance of those beautiful Sandy Hook soles we lost, I will continue to keep talking about this and fighting to keep our schools, children, etc. safe.

Everyone should pick up this novel. I think it's powerful, amazing, fantastic, beautiful, emotional, relatable and strong. Hats off to the author for her debut novel. I will be a fan for life.
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Reading Progress

February 8, 2018 – Shelved
February 8, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
August 4, 2018 – Started Reading
August 4, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-26 of 26 (26 new)

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message 1: by KAS (new)

KAS Wow, Meredith! I just can’t even imagine what those children went through, are still going through. Awesome review! xoxo


Dorie  - Cats&Books :) wonderful review, sounds like an amazing book :)


Brandice Wonderful review, Meredith. I can’t imagine having to go through this situation in any capacity -as a student, parent or administrator -and reading reviews for the book also made me think of the tragedy at Sandy Hook- It’s terrifying that schools aren’t always safe anymore. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one.


Christine This sounds sooooo good, excellent review!


message 5: by Nicola (new)

Nicola Wonderful thoughtful review Meredith! Sounds like such an emotional read.


Erin Clemence Meredith this sounds like an incredible and powerful novel. I immediately added it to my TBR list! Wow.


message 7: by Jaline (new) - added it

Jaline Beautiful and thoughtful review, Meredith - and the passion you feel for this came through with such strength. I have this one and will make a point of finding a spot for it on my reading list as soon as I can.


message 8: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Excellent review Meredith.


message 9: by Taryn (new) - added it

Taryn Lovely, heartfelt review! I want to read this book someday. It sounds like such a meaningful read.


Norma * Traveling Sister * On hiatus due to health Wonderful review, Meredith! :-)


Meredith B.  (readingwithmere) KAS wrote: "Wow, Meredith! I just can’t even imagine what those children went through, are still going through. Awesome review! xoxo"

Thank you, KAS!


Meredith B.  (readingwithmere) Dorie wrote: "wonderful review, sounds like an amazing book :)"

Thanks, Dorie! It really was.


Meredith B.  (readingwithmere) Brandice wrote: "Wonderful review, Meredith. I can’t imagine having to go through this situation in any capacity -as a student, parent or administrator -and reading reviews for the book also made me think of the tr..."

Thank you, Brandice! Appreciate hearing your thoughts too!


Meredith B.  (readingwithmere) Christine wrote: "This sounds sooooo good, excellent review!"

Thanks, Christine! It really is!


Meredith B.  (readingwithmere) Nicola wrote: "Wonderful thoughtful review Meredith! Sounds like such an emotional read."

Thanks, Nicola! It definitely is very emotional but so important!


Meredith B.  (readingwithmere) Erin wrote: "Meredith this sounds like an incredible and powerful novel. I immediately added it to my TBR list! Wow."

Thank you, Erin! So glad you added to your TBR. This is an important one!


Meredith B.  (readingwithmere) Jaline wrote: "Beautiful and thoughtful review, Meredith - and the passion you feel for this came through with such strength. I have this one and will make a point of finding a spot for it on my reading list as s..."

Thanks, Jaline! I'm glad you could feel my passion because it is very strong for this! I hope you do get to read this soon!


Meredith B.  (readingwithmere) Barbara wrote: "Excellent review Meredith."

Thanks, Barbara!


Meredith B.  (readingwithmere) Taryn wrote: "Lovely, heartfelt review! I want to read this book someday. It sounds like such a meaningful read."

Thank you, Taryn! I felt like I had sooo many thoughts and needed to get them out to do this book justice!


Meredith B.  (readingwithmere) Norma * Traveling Sister wrote: "Wonderful review, Meredith! :-)"

Thank you, Norma!


message 21: by Kristy (new) - added it

Kristy Wonderful review, Meredith! Definitely cements its place on my TBR list.


message 22: by JanB (new)

JanB Terrific review Meredith! This sounds like such a powerful read.


Michelle That's a terrific review! I agree wholeheartedly with everything you wrote. Again great review!


Carol Vincenty To Meredith, I just finished this book & I couldn't agree with you more or say it better than you did. It' hard to believe that this is the author's first book. I have 2 children & also one 7 year old grandchild & I cried many times as I read the book. Carol


Jodell getting ready to read this


Jodell when I was on the last few pages a funny feeling came over me, I felt my get warm and I felt like something had moved me in my heart. and then I realized I had a river running down my face.


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