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    An emotional roller-coaster that will haunt me

    Miracle Creek – Come for the tricky mystery and courtroom drama, stay for the characters I’m not sure that any review from me will do this book justice because it absolutely blew me away! I can’t believe this is a debut novel because it’s just so well constructed and written. This is a complicated, detailed story and there is not a thread dropped or an improbable potential suspect in the bunch. The author has done such a great job with the mystery that I was suspicious of everyone at some point and was still surprised by the final reveal. I was sure I knew who set the fire but then changed my mind over and over. The story is revealed piece by piece in courtroom scenes and flashbacks. I don’t know about you but when I see “courtroom scenes” I automatically think “boring.” That is definitely not the case here as the testimony triggers memories and confessions and it is exciting to see the real story through the lies. As the truth comes out we see just how many secrets are held in this small group of seemingly perfectly normal and rather good people. While the story is amazing this book really shines through its characters. They felt like they were real and my heart broke for them so many times. This is not a particularly happy story and a lot of awful stuff happens. These characters and their relationships are the heart of the book and it is an emotional and touching story. The basic premise of treating autistic children in a hyperbaric chamber was something I wasn’t aware of, although I know it is used for many different conditions. I think my exposure to other media has given me the impression that people with autism are often geniuses and can live fairly normal lives, as authors, doctors, detectives. My eyes have been opened to the reality of the condition in children. It is much more difficult than I ever imagined. It is all portrayed so authentically and I see in her bio that the author has a child that undergoes “submarine” treatment. She knows what she is talking about and it shows. There is never any preaching but I sure learned a lot through this story. The caretakers of children with disabilities or autism deserve a medal for their selflessness and seemingly endless patience. This emotional roller-coaster will haunt me for a long time and I think it has ruined oxygen therapy for me forever. Thank you to Farrar, Straus and Giroux for providing an Electronic Advance Reader Copy via NetGalley for review.

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