Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Karen Kingsbury's Unlocked ~ Reviewed
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Zondervan (October 12, 2010)
Before You Take a Stand ... You Got to Take a Chance. Holden Harris is an eighteen-year-old locked in a prison of autism. Despite his quiet ways and quirky behaviors, Holden is very happy and socially normal---on the inside, in a private world all his own. In reality, he is bullied at school by kids who only see that he is very different. Ella Reynolds is part of the 'in' crowd. A cheerleader and star of the high school drama production, her life seems perfect. When she catches Holden listening to her rehearse for the school play, she is drawn to him ... the way he is drawn to the music. Then, Ella makes a dramatic discovery---she and Holden were best friends as children. Frustrated by the way Holden is bullied, and horrified at the indifference of her peers, Ella decides to take a stand against the most privileged and popular kids at school. Including her boyfriend, Jake. Ella believes miracles can happen in the unlikeliest places, and that just maybe an entire community might celebrate from the sidelines. But will Holden's praying mother and the efforts of Ella and a cast of theater kids be enough to unlock the prison that contains Holden? This time, friendship, faith, and the power of a song must be strong enough to open the doors to the miracle Holden needs.
Unlocked is the story of an 18 year old autistic boy, Holden, who is lost in his own world. A childhood friend, Ella, whom he has not seen since he was three, gets to know him and decides to befriend and help him.
Having worked with autistic children for a short time, this book really hit home for me. Once you pick it up, you will find it difficult to put it down. An aspect of the book that I loved is how Karen Kingsbury got inside of Holden’s head, so you could see what he is thinking. So many times with autistic children, they are unable to communicate verbally, and one thinks that they have no idea what is going on around them. In Holden’s case, the reader learns that he is very much aware of his surroundings and what’s going on, maybe more so than the average person.
Holden’s friend, Ella, uses music to reach him. Being a music person myself, I love how this book shows how powerful music is. Through music, Holden was able to open up and express himself as he had never been able to do before.
I suppose the best part of this book for me is the fact that Holden was diagnosed with autism at age 3, but still remembered going to church and praying as a child. He loved Jesus and prayed constantly for those around him. I think it serves as a good reminder that through the help of our Lord Jesus Christ, child or adult, autistic or mentally challenged, people can be reached and lives can be changed.
This is one of the best Christian fiction books I have ever read and I highly recommend it.
Reviewed by: Sarah Porter