Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig [in Library Journal]
Narrator Em Eldridge is undoubtedly convincing – and her range here impressive. She’s youthful and innocent as almost-14-year-old Ginny, gently gruff but patient as Ginny’s Forever Dad, and alternately understanding and stressed as Ginny’s Forever Mom. Eldridge also moves seamlessly among the other characters who circumscribe Ginny’s world – carefully controlled not only because Ginny is autistic but because she must be protected from her abusive birth mother Gloria, from whom she was rescued five years ago.
She’s recently been adopted, and her Forever Mom is pregnant, so Ginny’s practicing to be a big sister with a plastic electronic baby, but that also triggers her to ask repeatedly for her Baby Doll left behind in Gloria’s apartment. Once upon a time, Ginny promised to care for Baby Doll always, and suddenly she’s lying, stealing, and even contacting Gloria to get Baby Doll back.
Ginny’s dangerous actions generate concern, tension, and even the threat of permanent separation – her Forever Mom’s reactions are especially troubling – until the adults start hearing exactly what Ginny’s been saying all along.
Verdict: That Benjamin Ludwig himself is the adoptive parent of a daughter with autism surely lends his debut novel authenticity; Ginny’s voice gets further validation though Eldridge’s affecting recitation.