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An Unusual Boy by Fiona Higgins - Book Tour & Review

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An Unusual Boy

Meet Jackson - a very unusual boy in a world that prefers 'normal'...

Julia Curtis is a busy mother of three, with a husband often away for work, an ever-present mother-in-law, a career, and a house that needs doing up. Her fourteen-year-old daughter, Milla, has fallen in love for the first time, and her youngest, Ruby, is a nine-year-old fashionista who can out-negotiate anyone.

But Julia’s eleven-year-old son, Jackson, is different. Different to his sisters. Different to his classmates. In fact, Jackson is different from everyone. And bringing up a child who is different isn’t always easy.

Then, one Monday morning, Jackson follows his new friend Digby into the school toilets. What happens inside changes everything; not only for Jackson, but for every member of his family. Julia faces the fight of her life to save her unusual boy from a world set up for ‘normal’.

An extraordinary boy. The mother who loves him. The fight of their lives.

Bestselling novelist Fiona Higgins returns with a heart-stopping, devastating, but ultimately uplifting story about loyalty, love and forgiveness.

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My Review
An Unusual Boy is a very heavy story, but with a feel-good, heartwarming happiness to it. 
The story is told from dual-POVs -- Jackson, the titular 11 year old unusual boy, and his mom Julia. What seems like a relatively normal story following a semi-dysfunctional family as they live their day-to-day life turns into something awful after one fateful day at school. 
Jackson isn't quite like other kids. He's undiagnosed and unlabeled, but his brain definitely doesn't function the way most brains do. Jackson can remember things from when he was really super little, he needs to stand on his head to calm his racing mind, and he speaks to his dead grandmother through his shoe-phone. Yes, he's unusual, but he's also sweet, innocent, and easy to like.
His mom and sisters occasionally struggle with him, and his dad is barely in the picture (he's away for work a lot), but they make things work to the best of their ability. 
When Jackson starts spending time with his friend Rigby, things go downhill from there very quickly.
Jackson gets in trouble one day in class and is sent to the bathroom. Rigby sees him and convinces Jackson to follow him into the girl's bathroom to "play a trick" on a little 9 year old girl. This event is what sets off the rest of the book, and things are not easy or pretty.
It's tough to get through, and I found myself having to put the book down a few times to go discuss the events of the story with my husband. As a parent to a special needs son, my heart hurt for both Jackson and Julia. I can't even imagine the pain, frustration, and anger Julia had to work through while dealing with everyone. From the police to the school to everyone in-between. And Jackson didn't quite understand what was going on, and his inability to verbalize things properly made things even more difficult for him and his family. 
There is a bit of a twist near the end that I suppose I should have seen coming, as the signs were there, but it definitely took me by surprise.
I have to say, I really liked most of the characters in the story. Riley, Miss Marion, even Pamela, as well as the Curtis family. They were all great characters who really made the heavy stuff a little lighter. I definitely didn't like Rigby or his parents. There was another character I was iffy about at first, started to like, and then hated by the end. I won't spoil that, though.
If you're looking for an interesting story about an unusual little boy who will make your heart smile, and if you can tough it out with the taboo subject matter, definitely give An Unusual Boy a read.
4.5 stars from me.

Author Bio –
Fiona Higgins is the Australian writer of several bestselling contemporary novels including The Mothers’ Group and Wife on the Run. Her work has been widely reviewed, translated internationally, and described as ‘page-turning domestic melodrama for the social media age’. She lives with her family in Sydney and her first book for Boldwood will be published in October 2020.


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  1. Thank you so much for this thoughtful review! Best wishes, Fiona Higgins


Please try not to spam posts with the same comments over and over again. Authors like seeing thoughtful comments about their books, not the same old, "I like the cover" or "sounds good" comments. While that is nice, putting some real thought and effort in is appreciated. Thank you.