Before You Take a Stand ... You Got to Take a Chance. Holden Harris is an eighteen-year-old locked in a prison of autism. Despite his quiet ways and quirky behaviors, Holden is very happy and socially normal---on the inside, in a private world all his own. In reality, he is bullied at school by kids who only see that he is very different. Ella Reynolds is part of the 'in' crowd. A cheerleader and star of the high school drama production, her life seems perfect. When she catches Holden listening to her rehearse for the school play, she is drawn to him ... the way he is drawn to the music. Then, Ella makes a dramatic discovery---she and Holden were best friends as children. Frustrated by the way Holden is bullied, and horrified at the indifference of her peers, Ella decides to take a stand against the most privileged and popular kids at school. Including her boyfriend, Jake. Ella believes miracles can happen in the unlikeliest places, and that just maybe an entire community might celebrate from the sidelines. But will Holden's praying mother and the efforts of Ella and a cast of theater kids be enough to unlock the prison that contains Holden? This time, friendship, faith, and the power of a song must be strong enough to open the doors to the miracle Holden needs.
My take on this book:
Unlocked by Karen Kingsbury is a touching story about a young man with autism that will grab your heart and not let go!
Until the age of three Holden Harris and Ella Reynolds had been inseparable, their families were the best of friends. When Holden is diagnosed with Autism, the Reynolds family decides they don't want their daughter playing with him anymore, but for Holden he never forgot Ella, part of his daily routine is watching home movies of him and Ella before he got sick.
Fast forward Holden is 18, he is basically uncommunicative,the only thing he really responds to is music.His mother Tracy struggles daily with the challenges of taking care of an Autistic child, you can feel her pain and longing as she talks about never being able to touch or hold her son, of how she holds out hope that some day he will respond to her! Holden's dad basically ran away from the problems at home by taking a job that keeps him away from home most of the year.
Ella Reynolds seemed to have the perfect life, she was a cheerleader, and dating one of the most popular boys in school, and she has just landed the lead in the school musical,but things aren't good at home, since the family moved back to town, her mom and dad seem to be having major problems!
When Ella sees her boyfriend bullying a special needs student, she realizes he isn't who she thought he was and breaks up with him, she soon realizes the boy is Holden her old childhood friend.
Can faith, music, and finding his friend Ella, help Holden unlock the stranglehold that autism has on him?
This was one of the best Karen Kingsbury books I have ever read! The characters came alive, and the emotions literally surround you as you read. I believe that Karen is certainly guided by God when she writes her stories, because you come away uplifted, and your faith is renewed. With this book she taught me about Autism, something I knew nothing about. She also deals with some very timely issues such as bullying, suicide and peer pressure, which makes me think that this book should be mandatory reading for every high school student.
I highly recommend this book, but be prepared to laugh and cry, and see the world thru Holden's eyes just for a bit. This is a faith building life changing book you wont be able to put down. On a scale of 1 to 5 this book deserves a 10!
Even though I was provided a copy of this book by Zondervan for review it in no way alters my opinion of this book!