Ginny Moon
by Ludwig, Benjamin

Despite being placed in the ideal foster home, autistic fourteen-year-old Ginny Moon is intent on running back to her abusive, drug-addict birth mother, Gloria.

*Starred Review* Ludwig's enlightening debut novel reflects the overwhelming lifestyle change he and his wife experienced when they adopted a teenager with autism. Unlike other books exploring the manifestations of this condition, Ludwig's compelling tale is written in the voice of an autistic girl, Ginny Moon, who is 13 when the novel opens, four years after she was taken away from her birth mother, an addict. Ginny has been in three other homes before her adoption by her "forever parents," and all seems to be going smoothly until their own baby girl is born. Ginny plays the flute in the school band, attends weekly Special Olympics basketball practices, and has good friends in room 5, where she goes each day with the other "special kids." But she can't forget the baby sister she helped raise before she was adopted, and she will try anything to find her and her birth mother again. Ginny is remarkably engaging, and Ludwig has surrounded her with other strong characters, each of whom navigates her compulsive behavior and unpredictability in their own ways. A heartwarming and unforgettable page-turner about autism, family, and how special-needs children are treated. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Ginny Moon, who has autism, needs to get back to her birth mother by any means necessary. That's a problem, because that mother, Gloria, abused her.The narrator of Ludwig's debut novel, Ginny was taken from Gloria when she was 9 years old. Three adoptive homes later, Ginny is 14, and her Forever Parents, Maura and Brian, are expecting their first biological child. But just when they most need Ginny to be dependably gentle, she begins manifesting increasingly difficult behavior. It all stems from Ginny's desperate need to take care of her Baby Doll, whom she promised to protect and whom she hid in a suitcase just as the police arrived to rescue her from Gloria five years ago. Using a classmate's computer and various people's cellphones, Ginny begins to communicate with Gloria, hoping to reunite with Baby Doll but inadvertently putting herself and the Moon family in danger by revealing her home address. Tensions escalate as Ginny arranges her own kidnapping, forcing the Moons t o decide whether to give up and send Ginny to St. Genevieve's Facility for Girls Who Aren't Safe or to continue Ginny's therapy sessions in the hope that she will gain some emotional attachment skills before the baby arrives. Along the way, surprising truths about Baby Doll emerge. In telling the tale from Ginny's perspective, Ludwig captures the carefully constructed, sometimes-claustrophobic world Ginny inhabits. Ginny protects herself from a confusing world by going down deep into her brain, closing her mouth so no one can see the ideas in her head. While it's an interesting perspective to inhabit, the staccato rhythm of the sentences can get a little tedious, as Ginny would say. By turns heartwarming and heartbreaking, Ginny's quest for a safe home leads her to discover her own strong voice. Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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