An Unusual Boy
183 pages
English

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183 pages
English

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Description

The USA Today and #2 Amazon Bestseller 'The gripping tale of an exceptional, misunderstood child... This book will get people talking for sure' Sally Hepworth 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.

Praise for Fiona Higgins:

'An Unusual Boy is the gripping tale of an exceptional, misunderstood child. I found myself glued to this book from start to finish. While reading it, you can’t help but become Jackson’s mother, and the mother of every child who is misunderstood in our society. This book will get people talking for sure.' Sally Hepworth bestselling author of The Mother-in-Law and The Family Next Door

'An Unusual Boy is a beautifully-written book and a page-turner, but it’s the powerful descriptions of family relationships and friendship, both toxic and supportive, that will stay with me. Ultimately uplifting and hugely emotional, this is a wonderful and unusual book.’ Louise Douglas, bestselling author of The House by the Sea

'A tender-hearted story of loving patience triumphing in the face of impossible odds. Original, engaging and beautifully written.' Amanda Brookfield

'An Unusual Boy' is the unforgettable story of an exceptional child and his flawed but loving family, told with Fiona Higgin's characteristic intelligence, deep empathy and insight.' Virginia Lloyd, author of Girls at the Piano

‘Absorbing, intelligent, moving and real, An Unusual Boy is a novel with both heart and brains... a story tailor-made for our times.’
Kylie Ladd, author of The Way Back

'Oh, how I fell in love with this charming book! Fiona Higgins manages to strike the perfect balance of humour and poignancy to create a heart-warming and insightful novel that oozes humanity. I defy any reader not to fall in love with young Jackson and his idiosyncratic 'super powers'.' Joanna Nell, author of The Single Ladies of the Jacaranda Retirement Village

'An Unusual Boy is not only a compelling read, it’s an important one. This tale of an ordinary family dealing with the complexities of raising an extraordinary child had me gripped from the very first page. Intelligently written, this moving story will have book clubs talking long into the night. Fiona Higgins at her finest!' Lisa Ireland, author of The Shape of Us


Sujets

Informations

Publié par
Date de parution 20 octobre 2020
Nombre de lectures 7
EAN13 9781800482951
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0100€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

Extrait

Praise for An Unusual Boy
‘ An Unusual Boy is the gripping tale of an exceptional, misunderstood child.It highlights the dark underworld of the internet and the way our systems are set up to serve our least vulnerable members, rather than our most. I found myself glued to this book from start to finish. While reading it, you can’t help but become Jackson’s mother, and the mother of every child who is misunderstood in our society. This book will get people talking for sure.’ 


Sally Hepworth, author of  The Mother in Law
' An Unusual Boy is a beautifully-written book about a loving mother doing her best to protect her ‘unusual’ neurodiverse child in the most challenging of circumstances. The story is a page-turner, but it’s the powerful descriptions of family relationships and friendship, both toxic and supportive, that will stay with me. Ultimately uplifting and hugely emotional, this is a wonderful and unusual book.’ 


Louise Douglas, author of  The House by the Sea
‘A tender-hearted story of loving patience triumphing in the face of impossible odds. Original, engaging and beautifully written.’ 


Amanda Brookfield, author of  The Other Woman
' An Unusual Boy  is the unforgettable story of an exceptional child and his flawed but loving family, told with Fiona Higgin's characteristic intelligence, deep empathy and insight.' 


Virginia Lloyd, author of  Girls at the Piano  
‘Absorbing, intelligent, moving and real,  An Unusual Boy  is a novel with both heart and brains... a story tailor-made for our times.’


Kylie Ladd, author of  The Way Back
‘Oh, how I fell in love with this charming book! Fiona Higgins manages to strike the perfect balance of humour and poignancy to create a heart-warming and insightful novel that oozes humanity.  I defy any reader not to fall in love with young Jackson and his idiosyncratic 'super powers'.' 


Joanna Nell, author of  The Single Ladies of the Jacaranda Retirement Village
‘ An Unusual Boy  is not only a compelling read, it’s an important one. This tale of an ordinary family dealing with the complexities of raising an extraordinary child had me gripped from the very first page. Intelligently written, this moving story will have book clubs talking long into the night. Fiona Higgins at her finest!’ 


Lisa Ireland, author of  The Secret Life of Shirley Sullivan
An Unusual Boy


Fiona Higgins
For Michael, who left too early.
Contents



Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27


Jackson’s Jives: The Playlist

Acknowledgments

Book Club Questions

More from Fiona Higgins

About the Author

About Boldwood Books
1

‘Shhh! You’ll wake her up!’
Stifled laughter, the tinkling of a tea bell and the pungent smell of burnt toast drift beneath the bedroom door. Our three children are whispering outside, impatient to sneak in and surprise me. My hand slides across the mattress, reaching for Andy’s, before the crushing realisation swamps me.
He ’s not here. Again .
A cold, hard nub of loneliness lodges in my chest. Andy’s overseas trips are an unavoidable by-product of his smashing career success; New York this quarter, London next, Tokyo in the spring. I should be used to it by now, but the thought of spending Mother’s Day solo makes me want to curl up under the covers and refuse to come out. For the sake of the children, however, I can’t. It’s my job to create magic on Mother’s Day now.
I stare at the paint flaking off the ceiling above our bed. Recalling the early, easy years with Andy, before there were any Mothers’ Days at all. All that spare time spent sleeping and strolling and staring into each other’s eyes. Two languid years of mutual adoration, before my body endured three pregnancies, two breastfed babies and the singular exertions of gravity itself. Back when Andy and I still saw each other, somehow.
Something clatters to the floor beyond the door.
‘Hold the tray steady!’ Milla hisses at her younger siblings. ‘Careful of that teapot, Ruby!’
‘Shut up, Bossy Pants!’ Ruby objects, with the trademark confidence of a third child.
Jackson remains quiet, presumably observing his sisters wage battle, before pointing out in his quiet drawl, ‘She’s woken up for sure.’
I make an exaggerated yawning sound, a sort of sigh and groan combined, then lie perfectly still. The ruse works: the tea bell rings sharply, the door nudges open and Ruby’s stubby fingers curl around its edge.
I hear Jackson counting to three in Mandarin.
‘Yaaah!’ Ruby bursts forth in all her nine-year-old glory, zigzagging across the room in pink sequined pyjamas and purple fluffy slippers.
‘Happy Mother’s Day!’ She launches herself onto my lap and gazes at me with earnest blue eyes. ‘I think I’ve got nits. My head’s itchy.’
‘It’s probably just your eczema, Rubes,’ I say, smoothing down her frizzy mass of golden curls. ‘But I’ll check later, okay?’
It’s only been three weeks since a lice contagion swept through Grade Three. Surely it’s too soon for another?
Milla enters the room, bearing a wooden tray laden with Pamela’s heirloom tea set, a stack of singed pancakes, several bowls of condiments, and a single pink rose in a blue Wedgewood vase. Milla’s blonde mane is always plaited in two long, perfect braids, a carryover from her netball days, while I struggle to manage a blunt-cut bob.
‘Morning, Mum.’ She sets down the tray. ‘Ruby burnt the croissants, sorry.’
‘They’re just well done,’ objects Ruby, crawling off me to admire herself in the full-length mirror.
‘I hope pancakes are okay?’ Milla murmurs.
‘Of course they are.’ I reach out and squeeze her hand. ‘You’re doing a great job, Millsy.’
She smiles. ‘Thanks, Mum.’
I’m gratified to see this compliment still means something to Milla, given most fourteen-year-olds seem far more interested in peers than parents.
Jackson files into the room now, carrying a towering pile of presents, his gangly limbs sprouting from too-small pyjamas. Unlike Ruby and Milla, whose flaxen hair, blue eyes and freckled cheeks resemble my complexion, Jackson’s brown hair, buttery skin and startling green eyes reflect Andy’s genetics.
Jackson whistles through a prominent gap in his front teeth, his head nodding erratically to some internal tune. Setting down the gifts at the foot of the bed, he drops to the floor and rolls into a headstand.
‘Careful, yogi master,’ I warn, watching his neck wobble beneath the weight.
Although Jackson is capable of holding this position much longer than most other eleven-year-olds – until he starts seeing stars – I can’t help but feel concerned. The family therapist we’ve been seeing for almost two years, Dr Louisa Kelleher, points out that ‘children with a low instinct for self-preservation’ tend to cause greater anxiety in their mothers than their fathers. If Andy were here, he’d simply tell me to relax . ‘Mothers minimise hazards and fathers maximise fun,’ he’d remind me. ‘Just let Jackson do his thing, Jules.’
Milla moves to the bedside table and begins pouring out a cup of tea, assuring me that she’s ‘warmed the pot first’. Ruby arranges the stack of gifts from smallest to largest, while Jackson flops out of the headstand and smiles at me from beneath a zany fringe.
‘Hungry, Mum?’ Ruby seizes a singed pancake and thrusts it under my nose.
‘Oh yes,’ I say, visualising a warm croissant. ‘With butter and jam, please.’
Ruby slathers the pancake, passes it to me, then starts on another.
‘Whoa, sweetie. I can’t eat more than one.’
‘But you ate heaps last year!’ Ruby looks crestfallen.
‘That was Dad,’ intones Jackson. ‘He had three pancakes, two fried eggs, a slice of bacon and an apricot pastry.’
‘Really?’ I can’t recall any such detail. ‘That sounds like an awful lot for one father to eat.’ Jackson is presumably exercising creative licence again.
‘You only had one croissant,’ says Jackson, lying down on the carpet. ‘Dad ate everything else.’
‘I miss Dad,’ says Ruby, sniffing. ‘Why does he have to go away for weeks?’ The bereft look on her face t

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