Saving Max by Antoinette van Heugten
Publication Date: September, 2010
Format: Paperback, 376 pp
(Received for review from Phenix & Phenix Publicity)
Synopsis (Courtesy of Barnes & Noble):
Max Parkman - autistic and whip-smart, emotionally fragile and aggressive - is perfect in his mother's eyes. Until he's accused of murder.
Attorney Danielle Parkman knows her teenage son Max's behavior has been getting worse - using drugs and lashing out. But she can't accept the diagnosis she receives at a top-notch adolescent psychiatric facility that her son is deeply disturbed. Dangerous.
Until she finds Max, unconscious and bloodied, beside a patient that has been brutally stabbed to death.
Trapped in a world of doubt and fear, barred from contacting Max, Danielle clings to the belief that her son is innocent. But has she, too, lost touch with reality? Is her son really a killer?
With the justice system bearing down on them, Danielle steels herself to discover the truth, no matter what it is. She'll do whatever it takes to find the killer and to save her son from being destroyed by a system that's all too eager to convict him.
This is a book that every parent needs to read. Van Heugten's debut effort is full of inspiration and shows the depths of a mother's love for her son. How far would you go to protect your child? Van Heugten gives a haunting portrayal of a young boy with Asperger's disease, a form of autism.
When Max becomes increasingly hard to control his mother, Danielle becomes concerned. Then she finds a diary in which Max has planned his own suicide. It's so chilling and he has become so violent towards her, she decides to take him to Maitland, a premier adolescent psychiatric facility. The answers she receives there are not what any parent wants to hear. A deeply disturbed Max is found next to another patient, Jonas who has been murdered. Danielle's struggle to prove his innocence goes beyond what anyone would expect, even landing herself charged as well.
Van Heugten uses raw emotion and sheer suspense to weave a complicated story that will chill readers. Danielle's love for Max is so evident in this story. She would stop at nothing to prove Max is not a killer, but she sometimes steps outside the law to try to do it. Some scenes in the book were very graphic and it probably not appropriate for young readers due to the violent content, but it's definitely a book that will leave adult readers in awe. It's a parent's worst nightmare, but yet it shows the strength and bond between a mother and a child, even when the rest of the world seems to be against them.
I liked the book a lot and I feel that it is one that will captivate the reader and one they will remember long after putting the book down. It's a fast paced read, with all the suspense of a dramatic thriller.
Saving Max is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!