Wood (Any Bitter Thing
, 2005) tells a simultaneously sad and joyous story of a unique eleven-year-old boy and the legacy he leaves behind. Known only as the boy, he has no friends, and spends his time obsessively compiling mental lists and memorizing countless Guinness world records. As part of his work to earn a Boy Scout badge, the boy does yard work for 104-year-old Ona Vitkus, a Lithuanian immigrant living nearby. They forge a close bond over the course of seven Saturdays, then the boy dies. His mostly absent musician father, Quinn, volunteers to finish the last three of the boy s weekends. Quinn becomes aware of his son s and Ona s plan to get her into a Guinness records book hopefully, as the oldest licensed driver and this leads first to a road trip to find Ona s only living son, now ninety, and eventually to a visit to her homeland at age 109. Wood s portrait of a fractured, grieving family is peopled by endearing characters and should appeal to readers who enjoy the family-centered novels of Jodi Picoult and Kristin Hannah. Booklist
In The One-in-a-Million Boy,
Monica Wood tells a magical, beautifully written story about the healing power of friendship, music, and unexpected, generation-spanning connections. As emotionally resonant as The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime,
this novel hums with energy, warmth, wisdom, humor, and soul.
Christina Baker Kline, author ofOrphan Train
HMH hardcover, 2015, previous ISBN 978-0-544-61707-0