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Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
Not My Ruckus by Chad Musick is a tragic tale of an autistic child growing up under harrowing circumstances in the early 80s. Fourteen-year-old Clare has a deep crush on her neighbor Esther, but she has only dared talk to her since two weeks past. In addition to an ultra-conservative mother and a seemingly negligent father, Clare's life is further complicated by epileptic episodes and recurring nightmares. When Esther's mother dies, Clare soon discovers a larger conspiracy that will change her life forever. After suffering assault by Esther's father, Gunnar, Clare's life increasingly spins into turmoil as the love of her life marries her brother. Moreover, her mother continues to be a meek spectator to her father's heinous crimes. Will she be able to find salvation for herself and Esther?
A powerful and poignant coming-of-age story involving some serious issues such as child abuse and domestic violence, Chad Musick's gripping narrative keeps your eyes glued to the pages from start to finish. Not My Ruckus follows Clare, a fourteen-year-old autistic and epileptic teen who navigates first love and friendship while growing up in an abusive home with horrendous parents. Musick hits the mark spot-on with the portrayal of child abuse and domestic violence perpetrated by those in positions of power. The subject matter is handled with the necessary nuances and thoughtfulness needed while dealing with these issues. There is a sense of authenticity to the narrative that makes the tale all the more hard-hitting. Not My Ruckus is one of those books that occupy your mind long after you've finished reading it. Highly recommended.