Book Review

Blog Tour / Book Review: Only Child by Rhiannon Navin

Today is my stop at the Only Child blog tour and I cannot wait to tell you how I feel about it and how incredible this debut novel is!


Readers of Jodi Picoult and Liane Moriarty will also like this tenderhearted debut about healing and family, narrated by an unforgettable six-year-old boy who reminds us that sometimes the littlest bodies hold the biggest hearts and the quietest voices speak the loudest.

Squeezed into a coat closet with his classmates and teacher, first grader Zach Taylor can hear gunshots ringing through the halls of his school. A gunman has entered the building, taking nineteen lives and irrevocably changing the very fabric of this close-knit community. While Zach’s mother pursues a quest for justice against the shooter’s parents, holding them responsible for their son’s actions, Zach retreats into his super-secret hideout and loses himself in a world of books and art. Armed with his newfound understanding, and with the optimism and stubbornness only a child could have, Zach sets out on a captivating journey towards healing and forgiveness, determined to help the adults in his life rediscover the universal truths of love and compassion needed to pull them through their darkest hours.

My review: 5/5 stunning and moving stars

I finished Only Child last night and I just couldn’t stop my tears. It was such a hard-hitting and devastating story to read. It gripped my heart and squeezed so tight that I had to take some mini breaks in between chapters.

The story starts with Zach, who is 6 years old, during his normal day at school on a Tuesday. You would think it was just like any other Tuesday but in the afternoon a gunman came and killed 19 people including Zach’s older brother Andy, who is only 10. The story follows Zach’s point of view in the aftermath of the shooting, how this event devastated and broke his already broken family, how this event made people turn against each other; and how Zach, through the eyes and heart of a 6 years old tried to heal the unthinkable, tried to find forgiveness from grief and ultimately found happiness in spite of the despair and devastation.

I think to tell such a heavy, sensitive and toxic subject through the eyes of a 6 year old is pure genius. What better way to look at this issue from the eyes of an innocent child? The world has become so polluted and complicated with political correctness, with partisan party preferences, with politicians’ untold moves. Sometimes it is not difficult just to step back and see it through the eyes of a child: what is happening? Why is this happening? What did we do wrong? To tell this story through a child is heart breaking as you can just see the confusion and the questions coming from him. It hits you straight in your heart and you feel like you are never going to be the same again as the sadness will overpower all other emotions you are feeling.

Rhiannon also did an amazing job portraying the mind of a 6 year old. It is just so bittersweet. You can’t help laughing at the silly thoughts from Zach but also crying at the heart hitting points that he makes and the confused journey he is going through. I want to give him hugs and kisses so bad. I want to protect him from this world that seems so far from ideal and so far from being safe to be lived in. Zach by far is the best child narrative that I have ever read.

I started this book and finished it in one sitting. I couldn’t turn the page fast enough to see what was going to happen to Zach and his family next. It is so raw and realistic, it is so sad and devastating but at the end, through the eyes of Zach I see hope and love and how strong a human being really is to keep going, to march on in spite of everything. We should never underestimate a child, sometimes it really does take the innocence of a child to heal a broken heart.

This a very powerful, moving and stunning debut novel. And it is so relevant right now. I am no politician nor policy maker, but it is not hard to see changes are needed and changes will take time. The biggest changes in history came from the worst human suffering and I do think we have suffered enough. Enough is enough. Thank you Rhiannon for writing this impactful and important novel and reminds all of us that we all can do our parts, however small, to make our voices heard and to make changes happen.

Thank you so much for Jess Duffy and Mantle Book for sending me this advanced copy and included me in this blog tour. It’s one of those books that will stay with me for a long, long time.

Only Child comes out on 8 March and you can pre-order it here.

About The Author:

Rhiannon Navin grew up in Germany before a career in advertising took her to America. Now a full-time mother and writer, she lives in New York with her husband, three children and two cats.

ONLY CHILD is her first novel and with this story Rhiannon hopes to help bring about change and contribute to the important conversation about US gun control in a meaningful way.

Please check out other posts in the Only Child blog tour:

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