Zac Hutchinson is a 10-year old boy growing up in a small town in England with single mom Juliet and his nearby grandparents, Lynda and Mick. He’s a lovely young boy who is fascinated with facts. After a particularly troublesome night where he hears his mother admit she still loves his father who disappeared when he was born, Zac embarks on a mission to find his “dad” with the help of his best friend Teagan. Unfortunately, he’s facing some serious challenges as his family is just as determined to keep secret the reasons behind his disappearance.
First of all, Zac is just a lovely, wonderful little boy. He has a big heart and is kind to a fault. He’s the center of mom Juliet’s world but not always in a good way, especially when it comes to their eating habits. The story is told from Zac, Juliet and Mick’s perspectives, which often sheds much needed light on the others’ points of view. The quest to find Liam Jones, Zac’s father, unraveled so many issues within each of them and the family, making this a layered and emotional journey. This family broke almost eleven years ago and never really recovered. Zac is the key to them finding their way to recovery, no matter how painful.
This book was a slow burn for me. I struggled through the first half, taking days to get there. But something miraculous happened at the halfway point. It all began to gel and I literally could not let the story go and finished it in one day. You absolutely must push through the initial malaise because the payoff is extraordinary. The scene in the restaurant? I’ll never, ever get over that. Cried like a baby. This story will stick with me forever. It’s not all sweetness and light but what is makes it a must read.
(I received an advance copy from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review)