Little Big Love

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 17 Jan 2020

Member Reviews

Oh, dear sweet Zach! A boy with a big heart and loads of faith that everything will turn out just fine. One tragic night and too many secrets changes the trajectory of the entire family in different ways. A bittersweet story of love that comes in all shapes and sizes.
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This was a cute, cheesy story. Not my overall favourite though. The book had a great pace, and quirky characters, but it was a bit too cheesy.
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A heavy read about family, loss and forgiveness. 10 year old Zac wants to know more about his father that he never met.
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Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for an eARC of this book. 
3.5 stars rounded to 4. 

Told mostly from the POV of a 10 year old boy who is on a mission to find his father. I don't typically enjoy stories written in the first person by a child. I mostly don't find them realistic because so often the child does not perceive the world as a child would IRL. In this case Zac was wonderfully believable.
He is bright and driven and just wonderful kid. 

While the book did drag on, I wanted to keep reading and found the plot believable and characters likable.
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Little Big Love is one of those books that’s both heartwarming and heartbreaking. It falls into that category of charming books and has depth from long-held secrets that have the power to devastate. I received this book as an ARC last year and somehow with the plethora of books I have in my TBR, I never found my way to it. With the all new paperback release, I pushed it up and dug in during this cold front in Chicago.

This book was written in three different POVs, one from a young boy, the second from his mother, and finally from his grandfather. These characters combined allowed for many issues and themes to run through the book: secrets, bullying, friendship, love, illness, childhood obesity, mystery, single parenting, fathers and loss. Zac was by far my favorite character. Although he suffered the most, his intentions were pure and seeing the world through his lens gave the reader the blunt truth of his life.  His friendship with sweet Teagan was just a bucket full of warmth. I liked her a lot but not sure her musings on the world were normal for such a young mind.

The book was predictable as many are, but I’m used to that. I liked that this author wrote loosely about what she knows, an “oops” pregnancy and single mom parenting. This is her fourth book, which landed as a debut in the states.
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Katy Regan, Author of "Little Big Love" has written a charming, delightful, heartwarming novel. The Genres for this novel are Fiction, and Women's Fiction.  

The author describes the characters  complicated and mostly likable. The story is told through the eyes of ten year old Zac, Juliet and Mick, the grandfather.  This is a novel about family, betrayal, love, forgiveness and hope. 

Zac was too young to be aware of what happened ten years earlier, but is obsessed and fixated on the fact that he wants to know about his biological father. There are deep secrets if revealed can provide the information, but can destroy the family.

My favorite character is Zac. I love his innocence, his determination, his persistence, and his loyalty to his friend. In some ways Zac seems more mature than the rest of his family. I would recommend this enjoyable and intriguing novel for those readers who enjoy fiction.
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There was a lot going on in this novel. And there was a lot to like and really get excited about, but there were also a lot of lulls in the story. I really wanted to love this novel and I think it had some wonderful qualities to it, but it fell a little flat for me. It was touching and heartwarming at times and then my heart would be ripped out with the sad portions of the novel, but for some reason I just couldn't ever get really into it. I don't even know how to explain it because on paper, this novel is everything I love in a book. But somehow it just didn't work for me. It may have been that I just wasn't in the right state of mind for this read at the time. I would definitely recommend readers to pick up this book because even though it wasn't a favorite for me, I can see others really enjoying it. 

Thank you to Berkley and NetGalley for sending this novel in exchange for an honest review.
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If you've been following my blog for a while, then you know the type of books I tend to gravitate towards. But in the past few years, I've been making a point to seek out books I normally don't pick up and for the most part, it's paid off! Little Big Love is one of them. It's told in alternating points-of-view from: Zac, a young 10-year-old boy wanting to know who his father is; Juliet, his mother struggling with the past and the present; and grandfather Mick, who's got secrets of his own. Together, they paint a picture of a complex family who love each other but who have each made decisions that had ripple effects and Zac is the one feeling those effects. He's never met his father and was told that he did a "runner" on him and his mom before he was born. But he's determined to find him and both his mom and grandparents have to decide if they'll help Zac or not. The book is just so heartwarming and even though there are multiple perspectives, it's ultimately Zac's story. He's a good kid with a big heart and there were so many times I wanted to reach into the book to give him a hug and tell him everything would be okay. Like Zac, the writing makes the reader want to find out the truth too and every chapter leads up to this final reveal. And this is where the author lost me. The reveal itself was good but the execution was not. The end felt so rushed and as a result, missed out on giving the reader (me!) the necessary catharsis after investing time in the story.

Do I recommend? It's tough because it was a slow starter but once I was in, I was all in! But then that ending knocked a whole star off my rating (FYI, I gave it 3.5). I still enjoyed it though and I stand by that. So if you're curious, check it out!
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What a beautiful, novel. I really enjoyed Little Big Love. There was excellent character development, particularly of Zac. I thought the plot moved well, albeit a little slow at the beginning. But I was already emotionally invested in the story and finding out what happened to Liam, so I kept reading and am so glad I did. Regan does a great job of weaving and balancing lightness and darkness into the story. This was a delightful read and I am looking forward to more from the author in the future.
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Zac Hutchinson is a 10-year-old with a big heart. He loves to collect facts, he enjoys spending time with his grandparents and most of all he knows his mom works hard to provide as best as she can for them. One evening though when his mom returns home from a disastrous date, he overhears her say that his dad was her great love.

Juliet and Liam were young and in love but soon after Zac’s birth a terrible moment puts Liam at odds with Juliet’s family. He tries to make amends but the pain is too much for the family and he leaves.

Zac doesn’t know much about his dad or why he left but now he is determined to find him. With the help of his best friend, Teagan, they try to find as many clues as possible that will lead them to Liam. All the while, Zac is trying to be strong and not let some of the bullies in his school get to him and most importantly, not tell his mom about any of this so she won’t worry.

This was such a sweet and tender book. I found Zac delightful and I felt sorry for Juliet who was really was trying to do the best thing for her son but missed a lot of big clues about how Zac was being treated at school. There are other important people in Zac’s life and we get a glimpse at their stories too but the one that I especially liked was Teagan’s story. She has her own complicated life and you can’t help but wonder how everything will turn out for her.

Will Zac find Liam and will the family be able to finally come together? This is one book where I would love to see a sequel featuring Zac and Teagan as young adults. I want to know that they have found many happy moments in their lives and that their adventurous spirits will lead them to even greater things.
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A charming and emotional story about love and family.  Main character Zac is bullied fairly mercilessly at school, and it's hard to stomach sometimes... especially because he is just the sweetest thing. We also get perspectives from his mother, and some from his grandfather. I enjoyed getting everyone's version of the story. It made their motivations easy to understand. This is a lovely and sweet read with a lot of humor mixed in, and I'm so glad I got the opportunity to review it.
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Little Big Love—a debut novel in the US by UK author Katy Regan— was a powerful read.  It was a roller coaster ride of emotions; it was sometimes blunt language that I did not always appreciate; it dealt with tough subjects like bullying, alcoholism, mental health/low self esteem, and loss and betrayal;  it was a book full of hope despite those tough subjects; it was a book that I did not want to stop reading because some of its characters stole my heart.

The book is set in a small seaside town in the north of England that has seen more prosperous days and is told in alternating chapters through the eyes of three characters:  Zach, Juliet, and Mick.  

Zach was my favorite character hands down.  He is ten years old and has the kindest gentlest heart in the world.  He has an upbeat positive personality despite the fact that he is overweight and bullied, and has never known his father who he longs to meet.  This quote from the book gives insight into his character:  “[Other kids] don’t like anyone who stands out, basically. I don’t think any of these things matter – it’s the person inside that counts. But not everyone thinks like that, do they? That’s just not real life. . . . .You can’t see the truth, just by looking on the surface. That’s something else I’d worked out.”

His best friend, Teagan, who has problems of her own, but is a little firecracker despite all of that, is also endearing.

Zach writes a letter to his dad Liam to invite Liam to his eleventh birthday party. In the letter he confesses his anger that his dad left and he never knew him, “So I am giving you the opportunity to come to my party when I’m eleven.”

Unfortunately, Zac doesn’t know where to mail the letter; his dad “did a runner” when he was born, and neither his mom nor his Nan and Grandad want to talk about him.

Thus, Zac starts the secret Find Dad Mission. Teagan agrees to help him and becomes his Official Deputy.  

One thing you should know about Zach is that he loves facts and reading about them so each of his chapters begins with a fact he has collected like:  : octopuses have three hearts, Usain Bolt is the fastest man on earth, etc.  So the following quote from the book where he lists “facts” isn’t surprising :

“But then, after about four days, it was mad, but I had an epiphany. An epiphany is when you have a big realization. It’s also when you have to take your Christmas tree down. You can’t believe that one word can mean something so exciting and something so disappointing all at the same time. 

My epiphany came when I did something really simple—I wrote down all the facts I still had and realized none of them had actually changed. I even had some extra ones. 

1. Fact: Even though Mum said she doesn’t love Dad anymore, she did love him once, so definitely could again. 

2. Fact: What I wrote in my letter is still true: okay, my dad did abandon us, but how can he know he doesn’t want to be my dad if he’s never met me? And how could he and my mum stay in love if they never saw each other? 

3. Fact: It is up to me to reunite them—because who else is going to do it? 

4. Fact: Mum has always told me my dad never wanted to know—but it isn’t like she did either, is it? Not really. She’s never gone looking for him or given him a second chance.”

The second narrator in the book, Juliet, is Zach’s Mom.  As the book opens, she has been called to the school to talk about Zac’s weight. They tell her Zac has been the victim of bullying because of it, so it would help if he could lose weight.  But when Zac asks more and more questions about his dad, and indicates how upset he is, Juliet has an epiphany of her own and decides she owes it to Zac to help him get in shape so he will be happier, and starts to turn her own life around too.

The third narrator is Mick, Juliet’s dad. He is a former fisherman and a former alcoholic, and it is his chapters that gradually bring to light why Zach’s Dad left, why Zach’s Uncle Jamie died at a young age not long after he was born and why Zach’s Nan (Grandmother) hates his father.

With problems as gritty as these and some characters that are very much selfish and imperfect, you would think this would be a depressing read.  But it was not.  It was empowering and even hopeful, which I credit to a large part the portions of the story told through Zach’s chapters.  I also loved the ending and was glad I kept reading—but I won’t give that away!

Thank you Berkley and NetGalley for the Advanced Reader’s Copy of this novel and for allowing me to review it.
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I love this story about a boy, Zac, who tries to find his dad because his mom tells him he was the only man she ever loved.  Unfortunately, it doesn't prove that easy for Zac.  Not only do I love the way Katy spelled his name (my son's name is spelled like that), I love the heart warming story told from 3 different points of view.
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I thought this book was a good combo of super cute and also pretty deep. which definitely impressed me. I loved Zac and his big heart, and loved how the perspectives switched each chapter.
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Must-read women’s fiction: Books by Molly Harper, Karen White, Emily Giffin, Karma Brown and more
By: Leigh Davis | July 26, 2018 12:00 am 
So little time — so many books! This month we have double coverage of women’s fiction recommendations with both June and July books. So let’s dive in!
Little Big Love by Katy Regan
What it’s about:
Ten-year-old Zac Hutchinson collects facts: Octopuses have three hearts, Usain Bolt is the fastest man on earth.But no one will tell him the one thing he wants to know most: who his father is and where he went. 
When Zac’s mother, Juliet, inadvertently admits that his dad is the only man she’s ever loved, Zac decides he is going to find him and deliver his mom the happily ever after she deserves.
But Liam Jones left for a reason, and as Zac searches for clues of his father, Juliet begins to rebuild what shattered on the day that was at once the happiest and most heartbreaking of her life. 
Told through the eyes of Zac, Juliet, and grandfather Mick, Little Big Love is a layered, heartfelt, utterly satisfying story about family, love, and the secrets that can define who we are.
The right stuff: Zac is adorable! Complex family relationship is compelling, and point of view creates an ideal story. A winner!
The Lost for Words Bookshop by Stephanie Butland
What it’s about:
Loveday Cardew prefers books to people. If you look carefully, you might glimpse the first lines of the novels she loves most tattooed on her skin. But there are some things Loveday will never, ever show you.
Into her hiding place – the bookstore where she works — come a poet, a lover, and three suspicious deliveries.
Someone has found out about her mysterious past. Will Loveday survive her own heartbreaking secrets?
The right stuff: Marketed as a bibliophile delight, and it is true! Loveday will capture your heart as you become engrossed in the story of her guarding her own heart — from disappointment and betrayal. Wonderful backdrop romance as her Prince Charming helps break down the walls.
The Lido by Libby Page
What it’s about:
Rosemary Peterson has lived in Brixton, London, all her life but everything is changing.
The library where she used to work has closed. The family grocery store has become a trendy bar. And now the lido, an outdoor pool where she’s swum daily since its opening, is threatened with closure by a local housing developer. It was at the lido that Rosemary escaped the devastation of World War II; here she fell in love with her husband, George; here she found community during her marriage and since George’s death.
Twentysomething Kate Matthews has moved to Brixton and feels desperately alone. A once promising writer, she now covers forgettable stories for her local paper. That is, until she’s assigned to write about the lido’s closing. Soon Kate’s portrait of the pool focuses on a singular woman: Rosemary. And as Rosemary slowly opens up to Kate, both women are nourished and transformed in ways they never thought possible.
The right stuff: This book has been compared to Fredrik Backman’s A Man Called Ove because of its heartwarming theme of multigenerational relationships. It’s a marvelous flashback romance and features a developing one. There’s also a Goliath theme — a little guy against big business.
Ain’t She a Peach by Molly Harper
What it’s about:
An Atlanta ex-cop comes to sleepy Lake Sackett, Georgia, seeking peace and quiet—but he hasn’t bargained on falling for Frankie, the cutest coroner he’s ever met.
Frankie McCready talks to dead people. Not like a ghost whisperer or anything—but it seems rude to embalm them and not at least say hello.
Fortunately, at the McCready Family Funeral Home & Bait Shop, Frankie’s eccentricities fit right in. Lake Sackett’s embalmer and county coroner, Frankie’s goth styling and passion for nerd culture mean she’s not your typical Southern girl, but the McCreadys are hardly your typical Southern family.
The right stuff: The funeral home and bait shop combo is pure quirkiness, and it works! Frankie’s eccentricity is too droll. Plenty of romance. Southern idiosyncrasies at their most amusing.
The Late Bloomers’ Club by Louise Miller
What it’s about:
Nora, the owner of the Miss Guthrie Diner, is perfectly happy serving up apple cider donuts, coffee, and eggs-any-way-you-like-em to her regulars, and she takes great pleasure in knowing exactly what’s “the usual.” But her life is soon shaken when she discovers she and her free-spirited, younger sister Kit stand to inherit the home and land of the town’s beloved cake lady, Peggy Johnson. 
Kit, an aspiring—and broke—filmmaker thinks her problems are solved when she and Nora find out Peggy was in the process of selling the land to a big-box developer before her death. The people of Guthrie are divided—some want the opportunities the development will bring, while others are staunchly against any change—and they aren’t afraid to leave their opinions with their tips.
Time is running out, and the sisters need to make a decision soon. But Nora isn’t quite ready to let go of the land, complete with a charming farmhouse, an ancient apple orchard and the clues to a secret life that no one knew Peggy had. Troubled by the conflicting needs of the town, and confused by her growing feelings towards Elliot, the big-box developer’s rep, Nora throws herself into solving the one problem that everyone in town can agree on—finding Peggy’s missing dog, Freckles.
The right stuff: Miller does a wonderful job of showcasing the complex relationships we have with our siblings and how to lose the judgment and accept differences. Great sense of community, too!
The Lost Queen of Crocker County by Elizabeth Leiknes
What it’s about:
Crocker County crowns a new Corn Queen every year, but Jane Willow’s the one you would remember. She can’t forget Iowa, either. Even though she fled to LA to become a film critic years ago, home was always there behind her.
But when a family tragedy happens, she’s forced to drive back to Crocker County. The rolling farmlands can’t much hide the things she left behind: the best friend she abandoned who now runs a meatloaf hotline, the childhood front porch that sits hauntingly empty, and that fiasco of a Corn Fest that spun her life in a different direction. 
Before Jane can escape her past a second time, disaster strikes, and she will have to find a way to right her mistakes and save herself from her regrets. An unflinchingly love letter to the Midwest that unfolds through a celebration of movies, this ferociously endearing novel brings home the saving grace of second chances. 
The right stuff: Pure delight for film buffs. Riveting story of small-town girl transformed into mocking, skeptical sophisticate until she returns home and finds the courage to forgive herself and “make it right.” Strong multifaceted heroine. Wonderful “Believe So” theme.
All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin
What it’s about:
Nina Browning is living the good life after marrying into Nashville’s elite. More recently, her husband made a fortune selling his tech business, and their adored son has been accepted to Princeton. 
Yet sometimes the middle-class small-town girl in Nina wonders if she’s strayed from the person she once was.
Tom Volpe is a single dad working multiple jobs while struggling to raise his headstrong daughter, Lyla. His road has been lonely, long, and hard, but he finally starts to relax after Lyla earns a scholarship to Windsor Academy, Nashville’s most prestigious private school.
Amid so much wealth and privilege, Lyla doesn’t always fit in—and her overprotective father doesn’t help—but in most ways, she’s a typical teenaged girl, happy and thriving.
Then, one photograph, snapped in a drunken moment at a party, changes everything. As the image spreads like wildfire, the Windsor community is instantly polarized, buzzing with controversy and assigning blame.
At the heart of the lies and scandal, Tom, Nina, and Lyla are forced together—all questioning their closest relationships, asking themselves who they really are, and searching for the courage to live a life of true meaning.
The right stuff: Giffin combines today’s relevant themes of boys will be boys, the impact of social media and the MeToo movement into a compelling read.
Dreams of Falling by Karen White
What it’s about:
On the banks of the North Santee River stands a moss-draped oak that was once entrusted with the dreams of three young girls. Into the tree’s trunk, they placed their greatest hopes, written on ribbons, for safekeeping—including the most important one: Friends forever, come what may.
But life can waylay the best of intentions….
Nine years ago, a humiliated Larkin Lanier fled Georgetown, South Carolina, knowing she could never go back. But when she finds out that her mother has disappeared, she realizes she has no choice but to return to the place she both loves and dreads—and to the family and friends who never stopped wishing for her to come home.
Ivy, Larkin’s mother, is discovered badly injured and unconscious in the burned-out wreckage of her ancestral plantation home. No one knows why Ivy was there, but as Larkin digs for answers, she uncovers secrets kept for nearly fifty years—whispers of love, sacrifice, and betrayal—that lead back to three girls on the brink of womanhood who found their friendship tested in the most heartbreaking ways.
The right stuff: This one is everything you’ve come to expect from a Karen White book. Strong female friendships, a second chance at love and a great family mystery! (See an excerpt on HEA from Dreams of Falling.)
The Life Lucy Knew by Karma Brown 
What it’s about:
After hitting her head, Lucy Sparks awakens in the hospital to a shocking revelation: the man she’s known and loved for years—the man she recently married—is not actually her husband. In fact, they haven’t even spoken since their breakup four years earlier. The happily-ever-after she remembers in vivid detail—right down to the dress she wore to their wedding—is only one example of what her doctors call a false memory: recollections Lucy’s mind made up to fill in the blanks from the coma.
Her psychologist explains the condition as honest lying, because while Lucy’s memories are false, they still feel incredibly real. Now she has no idea which memories she can trust—a devastating experience not only for Lucy, but also for her family, friends and especially her devoted boyfriend, Matt, whom Lucy remembers merely as a work colleague.
When the life Lucy believes she had slams against the reality she’s been living for the past four years, she must make a difficult choice about which life she wants to lead, and who she really is.
The right stuff: An imaginative (and horrifying) plot of memories that are not truly memories. Strong romance and a true happy ending!
Leigh Davis is a former contributor to Heroes and Heartbreakers. When she is not reading, she’s usually outside throwing balls to her insatiable dogs. She loves hearing and talking about great books. You can connect with her on Twitter and Goodreads.
MORE ON HEA: See more posts by Leigh
Elizabeth Leiknes, Emily Giffin, Karen White, Karma Brown, Kate Regan, Libby Page, Louise Miller, Molly Harper, Stephanie Butland, women's fiction, Recommended reads, Top stories
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I love this story - it was both heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time and a unique view of a family who is stuck from moving on from a terrible loss 10 years earlier. I did feel it was a bit long and parts could have been edited down, hence the 4 over 5!
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10 year old Zac has teamed up with his best friend Teagan on a mission to find his dad. His mum and grandparents have maintained that Zac’s dad Liam “did a runner” before he was born and they have not heard from him since. In truth, Liam was chased out of town after he started a fight that caused the unfortunate, accidental death of Zac’s Uncle Jaimie. I liked that chapters alternate between Zac, his mum Juliet, and grandpa Mick, as the different points of view add depth to the story. While the book tackles tough issues including childhood obesity and bullying, alcoholism, poverty and single parenting, the endearing characters give the story a heartwarming charm. While the ending was predictable, it stayed true to the characters who are like all of us, imperfectly human. Thank you #NetGalley for the ARC, all opinions are my own.
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Little Big Love is exactly what I needed, a story about family, secrets, love and forgiveness. Yes, I cried. Several times. I also laughed out loud.  What a lovely read Katy Regan has provided. I particularly appreciated the appropriateness of the dialogue to the age of the characters,  it never seemed contrived or out of place. Relating the story thru three distinct voices, a ten year old Zac, his mother Juliet and his grandfather Mick was a well used device.  The characters are all truly deep and still easy to connect to and the story itself unfolds slowly but evenly. I will look for more from this talented author.
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Katy Regan's Little Big Love is part coming of age and part women's fiction. Obesity is one of the themes you'll run into. Bullying, family dysfunction, alcoholism, emotion binge-eating, and parenting in today's world are others. Starting with the setting, which I loved, this story takes place on the North Sea coast in England. The main city is just below Hull, so it's an area I have been to several times as I have family in Bridlington.



Zac Hutchinson is 10 and considered obese. He's reached an age where he really wants to know his father. Mostly, he wants his mother to be happy. One night after a bit of wine, she blurts out that the only man she'll ever love was his father. Zac decides he's going to reunite them, even if his father's name seems to be forbidden.



While Zac and his best friend try to find where Liam is now, his mom and grandfather each take a look back in time to the events that led to Liam walking away. For Zac to find Liam, they'll all have to face painful events from the past. For Juliet, it involves the lies she's told Zac about his father. For Mick, it involves his role and the things none of his family knows.



Little Big Love is told from Zac, Juliet, and Mick's viewpoints. All of the secrets are revealed slowly and definitely impact each character. Everything did get settled, but there were aspects of the story that I feel were settled a little too easily. 



Mostly, my heart broke for Zac. That poor kid. His bullies were deplorable little cretins. I was rooting for him the entire time, and I'm glad his coming-of-age story was treated to the ending that takes place. He had me in tears, but it was well worth it.
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This was an adorable story of ten year old Zac who is overweight and bullied and just wants to know why his dad left him.

Juliet, his single mother, tries to do her best for her very intelligent and imaginative son. However, the family has secrets that involve Zac's dad and only one person can get to the bottom of that secret.

Mick is the grandfather who sees a whole new world through his grandson's eyes and also holds a terrible secret.

Absolutely delightful read that I thoroughly enjoyed!!

Thanks to Berkley Publishing and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
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