A friend recently recommended Karen Kingsbury’s Unlocked, and since my local library had it, I decided to give it a try. And while I cannot speak to any of Kingsbury’s other novels, since Unlocked was the first of her books that I have read, I was pleasantly surprised with her storytelling.
The first aspect of Unlocked that I loved was the way that Kingsbury employed different viewpoints to tell her story. Not all authors are able to do this well, but Kingsbury masterfully switched between viewpoints, giving each character their own unique “voice”.
But more than her writing style, the story Unlocked tells is powerful. Inspired by a true story, Unlocked tells the story of Holden Harris, an autistic young man who has not spoken since he was three. Holden’s autism destroyed friendships, and drove a wedge between his parents, but when a girl at school reaches out to Holden through music, Holden’s life is forever changed.
While there is no foul language in the book, I would caution parents due to the mature elements of bullying and suicide in Unlocked. Though handled in a very delicate way, the suicide is a large part of the story in the last third of the book.
I found Unlocked to be an inspiring and tender story that encourages people to speak for the silent, and care for all people, even if they are different. I would not recommend it, however, to young people under the age of 15, though it is a powerful and sweet story that a mature audience will most likely enjoy. I would give Unlocked a “B”.
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