An epic fail requires atonement. Even when done with the best intentions.
One Most Important Thing is a contemporary YA mystery of 72,000 words. Like Stand by Me, it is a coming-of-age story of friendship and how relationships change. Like The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, the protagonist is on the autism spectrum and seeking to find a pathway toward a fulfilling life. Like Thirteen Reasons Why, a mystery surrounds a crime compounded by secrets and lies that bind every character.
Ninth-grader Joey Davidson fears abandonment because his father left the family when Joey was placed on the autism spectrum at age four. Now, his mother is dying of cancer. The summer before ninth-grade, Joey makes his first friends—the Desert Rats, a diverse gang of latch-key, trailer-park boys, each uniquely broken. The lives of Joey and the Desert Rats are complicated by secrets and lies. When elderly drifter Bud moves into the neighborhood, relationships change. One night, Bud's trailer bursts into flames and detectives conclude it's arson and homicide. The investigation compels the boys into life-altering decisions for which they are unprepared.
The novel puts the reader into Joey's autistic mind and replicates its workings through epistolary short stories, told non-linearly, that date and relate to the fire—Day 0. It includes dark themes of teenage drinking and smoking, sex, and attempted suicide. Joey is in the driver's seat, not a passive participant. The story has elements of magical realism as Joey believes he has a fairy godmother and a super power. The novel has an unexpected and uplifting ending.
Read the sample chapters.