Ginny Moon, who has autism, needs to get back to her birth mother by any means necessary. That’s a problem, because that mother, Gloria, abused her.
The narrator of Ludwig’s debut novel, Ginny was taken from Gloria when she was 9 years old. Three adoptive homes later, Ginny is 14, and her Forever Parents, Maura and Brian, are expecting their first biological child. But just when they most need Ginny to be dependably gentle, she begins manifesting increasingly difficult behavior. It all stems from Ginny’s desperate need to take care of her Baby Doll, whom she promised to protect and whom she hid in a suitcase just as the police arrived to rescue her from Gloria five years ago. Using a classmate’s computer and various people’s cellphones, Ginny begins to communicate with Gloria, hoping to reunite with Baby Doll but inadvertently putting herself and the Moon family in danger by revealing her home address. Tensions escalate as Ginny arranges her own kidnapping, forcing the Moons to decide whether to give up and send Ginny to St. Genevieve’s Facility for Girls Who Aren’t Safe or to continue Ginny’s therapy sessions in the hope that she will gain some emotional attachment skills before the baby arrives. Along the way, surprising truths about Baby Doll emerge. In telling the tale from Ginny’s perspective, Ludwig captures the carefully constructed, sometimes-claustrophobic world Ginny inhabits. Ginny protects herself from a confusing world by going down deep into her brain, closing her mouth so no one can see the ideas in her head. While it’s an interesting perspective to inhabit, the staccato rhythm of the sentences can get a little tedious, as Ginny would say.
By turns heartwarming and heartbreaking, Ginny’s quest for a safe home leads her to discover her own strong voice.