Friday, January 16, 2015

Blog Tour/Review: The Cottage Park Puzzle by Richard M. Siddoway

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The Cottage Park Puzzle, by Richard M. Siddoway
2015, 208p, YA Mystery/Suspense
My Rating=5 Stars
Source: Received a copy from the publisher for an honest review

When two teenagers are found beaten in the quiet town of Cottage Park and another boy is standing over them holding a baseball bat, it seems like a simple task to convict the perpetrator. There’s just one problem: he’s autistic. This poignant tale of one town’s journey to forgiveness and love will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading.

Two boys are found beaten at school and the boy holding the baseball bat with blood all over him is Corky, an autistic boy. 

We quickly learn what different people think about what's happening. Corky's parents are confused at their son's behavior and we learn the struggles they've had with him over the years. Corky was making lots of positive changes and isn't violent but they can't just talk to him about it since he doesn't understand what's going on. Corky's dad goes to the hospital to talk to the parents of the boys who were beaten. Both couples are understandably upset but one mother is determined to do whatever is necessary to make sure Corky pays for what he's done. 

It was interesting to read the viewpoints of the principal, superintendent, police chief and mayor to see what they are willing to do to keep their jobs and try to make everyone happy. We also hear from Corky's teacher who is as confused about what happened as his parents. The school board holds a meeting and are pressured to take immediate action. There was a lot of judgment and finger pointing and several people struggle with what to do. There are also those who reserve judgment until the boys are able to wake up from their medically induced comas and tell everyone what happened. 

Once I started reading this, I could not put it down. I loved getting several different viewpoints and tried to put myself in each position to see what I would do and how I would react. It's hard to truly know but made me stop and think. The scenario felt realistic and I felt disappointed in and/or angry at some of the characters while others surprised me in a good way. It's a great discussion book! I really enjoyed this thought provoking book about forgiveness and compassion and highly recommend it! 

About the author:

Richard M. Siddoway was born in Salt Lake City and reared in Bountiful, Utah. He was a professional educator for over 45 years. In 1994, he was asked by Governor Leavitt to create the nation’s first state-wide virtual high school—the Electronic High School—which served students nation-wide. Richard served three terms in the Utah House of Representatives; the last two years he served as Speaker Pro Tempore of the House. He has served as a Bishop and Stake President in the Bountiful Utah Val Verda Stake. He and his wife, Janice, have served missions in Nauvoo, Illinois, and Taylorsville, Utah. He is the author of ten books including the New York Times best seller—The Christmas Wish which was made into a movie starring Debbie Reynolds, Neil Patrick Harris, and Naomi Watts.


Unknown said...

Great review! It sounds fantastic!!!

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