Book Review: Only Child by Rhiannon Navin

I read Rhiannon Navin’s debut Only Child last month but when news of the terrible news of the shooting in Florida came in as I was about to press publish I postponed it. As arguments rage on both sides about gun control in America, it is apt that Zach’s voice is waiting to be heard.


Only Child by Rhiannon Navin cover

Title: Only Child

Author: Rhiannon Navin

Publisher: Pan MacMillan Mantle

Release date: 8th March 2018


Rhiannon Navin’s Only Child is the most powerful book you’ll read this year . . .

“We went to school that Tuesday like normal. Not all of us came home . . .” Huddled in a cloakroom with his classmates and teacher, six-year-old Zach can hear shots ringing through the corridors of his school. A gunman has entered the building and, in a matter of minutes, will have taken nineteen lives. In the aftermath of the shooting, the close-knit community and its families are devastated.

Everyone deals with the tragedy differently. Zach’s father absents himself; his mother pursues a quest for justice — while Zach retreats into his super-secret hideout and loses himself in a world of books and drawing. Ultimately though, it is Zach who will show the adults in his life the way forward — as, sometimes, only a child can

My Thoughts

I read this book in a night,and sleep was put on hold until I reached the end. Rhiannon Navin has taken a difficult subject of the grief, anger, and consequences of a school shooting in America with sensitivity and care. Told through the eyes of 7-year-old Zach, his innocence, and black and white view of the disintegrating world are heartbreaking to read. If I could have reached inside the story to hug him I would have.

It is a book that pulls at the heartstrings and makes you appreciate every moment you have with loved ones. The devastating news from Florida makes this book topical and adds a viewpoint to the important discussions gripping America.

Would I recommend?

Yes but make sure you have hankies with you and be prepared to want to hold those you love tight.

Thank you, NetGalley and Pan MacMillan Mantle for giving me the opportunity to read this debut in exchange for an honest review.