Monday, February 8, 2021


by David Levithan
Publication: February 2, 2021
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genre: Middle-Grade Fiction
Rating: ★★★★

Aidan disappeared for six days. Six agonizing days of searches, and police, and questions, and constant vigils. Then, just as suddenly as he vanished, Aidan reappears. Where has he been? The story he tells is simply. . . impossible. But it's the story Aidan is sticking to.

His brother, Lucas, wants to believe him. But Lucas is aware of what other people, including their parents, are saying: that Aidan is making it all up to disguise the fact that he ran away.

When the kids in school hear Aidan's story, they taunt him. But still Aidan clings to his story. And as he becomes more of an outcast, Lucas becomes more and more concerned. Being on Aidan's side would mean believing in the impossible. But how can you believe in the impossible when everything and everybody is telling you not to?

I look forward to reading Middle-Grade books the same way I anticipate an actively participated lecture. Learning from the students -bringing out their expectations and takeaways- is a constant gratification. This book is not different from that.

Aidan went missing for six days. The whole town went looking for him. They scoured the woods, asked people, and even the police were baffled. Until one day, his brother Lucas found him in the attic, wearing the same pajamas.

At the onset, this book may seem about Aidan and his Narnia-like adventure –the place, the people, and the creatures. Looking deeply, this is about a family moving on from a tragedy. As a mother myself, I understand his parent’s fear. The possibility of losing a child is a nightmare no parent would choose to go through. And more often than not, fear leads to anger and impatience. (Thanks, Yoda.) Similar to any post-tragic events, support is vital. I respect how flawed and honest Aidan’s parents are. And I admire their humility to seek help from others and see the importance of working as a team. I appreciate Aunt Brandi and Officer Pinkus for letting Aidan be true to himself. Above all, I love Lucas’ composure in all these, his understanding that Aidan needed a sympathetic listener more than anything.

This book is also about community and our level of tolerance for one another. Moreover, this is about feigned benevolence -on how we can hold a prayer vigil for a lost boy today and then viciously demand the truth the next day.

It was a bittersweet ending, but overall, I believe the takeaway is more than an engaging read. It was enlightening.


About the Author:

David Levithan is an American children's book editor and award-winning author. He published his first YA book, Boy Meets Boy, in 2003. Levithan is also the founding editor of PUSH, a Young Adult imprint of Scholastic Press.

*Thanks to Knopf Books for Young Readers​ and Netgalley for the egalley in exchange for this unbiased review.
*This post is a part of the monthly linkups organized by Lovely Audiobooks! You can click here to check it out and be a part of it.


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