Read Unlocked by Karen Kingsbury Online


Before You Take a Stand ... You Got to Take a Chance. Holden Harris is an eighteen-year-old locked in a prison of autism. Despite his quiet ways and quirky behaviors, Holden is very happy and socially normal---on the inside, in a private world all his own. In reality, he is bullied at school by kids who only see that he is very different. Ella Reynolds is part of the 'in'Before You Take a Stand ... You Got to Take a Chance. Holden Harris is an eighteen-year-old locked in a prison of autism. Despite his quiet ways and quirky behaviors, Holden is very happy and socially normal---on the inside, in a private world all his own. In reality, he is bullied at school by kids who only see that he is very different. Ella Reynolds is part of the 'in' crowd. A cheerleader and star of the high school drama production, her life seems perfect. When she catches Holden listening to her rehearse for the school play, she is drawn to him ... the way he is drawn to the music. Then, Ella makes a dramatic discovery---she and Holden were best friends as children. Frustrated by the way Holden is bullied, and horrified at the indifference of her peers, Ella decides to take a stand against the most privileged and popular kids at school. Including her boyfriend, Jake. Ella believes miracles can happen in the unlikeliest places, and that just maybe an entire community might celebrate from the sidelines. But will Holden's praying mother and the efforts of Ella and a cast of theater kids be enough to unlock the prison that contains Holden? This time, friendship, faith, and the power of a song must be strong enough to open the doors to the miracle Holden needs....

Title : Unlocked
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9266059
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 337 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Unlocked Reviews

    2019-05-12 11:58

    I am almost afraid to comment, I am obviously in the minority here. I'm a Christian, I pray, I truly and deeply believe in miracles but this book was just to cheesy much for me. A friend at work recommended it, knowing of our autistic son and wondering what I would think. I actually found the first bit, where Holden's mom is at work, comparing her life to the lady in the check out line, pretty spot on. And she is an awesome mother, doing her level best to fight the good autism fight. And Kingsbury covers some of the loss, isolation and aggravation parents of disabled children face accurately. And it is hard on marriages and friendship (the divorce rate for parents of disabled children is higher than that for parents whose children die and much as you might wish to continue to do all the things with your friends you did before autism, it's just not possible for a number of reasons). But here's the thing, Holden and what's her name (Ella? Bella's her Beauty and Beast bit right?) rekindle their childhood friendship, father's life saved at sea, autism is overcome through a musical miracle which changes the hearts of pretty much everyone in the vicinity, bullies reformed, the adult friendships rekindle, dysfunctional marriages are saved and people are brought to Jesus all in one short little book that spans the length of a drama production rehearsal. Just too too too much for me. I confess that it took me almost three weeks to read this and then I skimmed the end because it was time to take it back to the library. Really, I wanted to be inspired, really I did but I just found myself annoyed. Call me a cynic and then go ahead, let the rotten vegetable throwing begin. As one who has endured the glares of at least 20 or 30 Costco customers as your 10 year old child walked in sock feet through 6 inches of slushy snow because he had taken off his shoes in the store and lost them (and not for the first time, for awhile there we were good friends with the lost and found desk) and he was just too big to carry, well, I can take it:-)

  • Becki
    2019-05-16 05:22

    So, just after reading chapter one, I already have a prejudice against this book. I really feel for people who have autistic children, but WHY do they insist on blaming it on vaccinations?? There is NO PROOF that vaccinations cause autism. In fact, they've proven that there is NO LINK between vaccinations and autism. It just makes me mad when parents of autistic children want there to be some outside reason for their child being the way they are. Why can't they just accept that this is who God made these children to be? If the book continue this way, it may very well be the only Karen Kingsbury book I don't finish. That would make me sad.*******************************************************************I finally finished this book (after mourning the loss of my Kindle). I'm really disappointed that throughout the book she kept insinuating that vaccinations caused Holden's autism. *sigh* If I take out that part, I really liked the story. It was sweet and it ended right.

  • Heather
    2019-05-17 13:13

    A lot of these reviews are so negative. Yes, the book was neatly resolved & tied up with a now by the end. Honestly, I don't understand why this is a bad thing. Real life is so hard & trying & when I read I love the escape of going into someone else's world where problems do get solved & miracles happen flawlessly. I believe miracles still happen & thank you to Karen Kingsbury for demonstrating such a strong faith in a miracle working God. In a world where bad prevails most of the time & evil seems to rule; unwavering & strong faith produces hope. Leaning into God above ANY circumstance & really believing for His presence to show up is a major part of what being a Christian means. To the reviewer who stated the prayers & scripture use was irreverent or not sacred; I have to disagree. The word of God is our weapon against anything we face. It's our means of hearing from God. We are to pray continually & without ceasing which is what the characters do in the book. I cannot imagine that people who complain of a happy ending live very joyful lives. Would you rather read tragedy? Look up some different authors whose goal isn't to encourage & share the wonderful gospel of Jesus Christ. His ending is happy.

  • Amy Dunn
    2019-05-06 10:06

    I feel rude writing this review but i have to be honest... I really didn't like this book. I finished it easily enough but I found it really cheesy (and this is coming from someone who has grown up living and breathing Christian, romance novels!!)The reason I feel especially terrible writing this is due to the author's comments at the end. I was going to rate this book 1 STAR until i read it was based on a true story... in which case praise the Lord.I just feel that from my experiences with autistic children, stories like this aren't reality. I don't like reading books that can give false hope to people and although I believe God does miracles everyday, the book almost implied that prayer will release any autistic child from the grasps of the disease. I have seen some strong Christian parents pray day in and day out for their son/daughter but their child wasn't healed by prayer.I guess I'm being very downbeat because this book isn't really that different from books with other types of miracles but I really struggle to believe this story and knew where it was headed from the beginning...

  • Michelle
    2019-05-15 07:06

    Unlocked is an engrossing story and had so many emotionally evocative moments that I couldn't help getting teary eyed a few times. The author made an amazing statement at the end of the book in the form of a letter to readers that garnered a lot of respect from me, mainly because I'm a social worker.The author made a point of explaining that no two diagnoses of autism are exactly alike. People are different and their symptoms are different. Levels of autism vary from mild (also known as high-functioning) to severe. She went into describing what autism can be like for the individuals who have it, and how it influences behavior because it is a neurological disorder. I appreciated that a lot. You see, I understand people like Holden and what the families go through. I've worked closely with children and adults who have a diagnosis of autism and have for over a decade now. I also work closely with their families to provide support for them.Kingsbury captured the emotional journeys of people touched by autism in a profound and believable fashion. She showed that autism effects everyone. Stories like Holden's gives people hope and the desire to press on. Autism is exhausting to deal with and most children can't be left unsupervised for even five minutes. The sad thing is so few people truly understand the disorder. They often treat young men and women with the diagnosis like they are still children even though they are adults. The author showed this well. She also showed how jaded people can be about the symptoms of autism that they don't even try to reach the person inside (even though they are supposed to be educators.)I would recommend this book to anyone who has difficulty understanding autism or the struggles people go through who love individuals with that diagnosis. As readers can see by Kingsbury's story, Holden was not an autistic person in the sense that it had to define who he was (which is one reason why I dislike that label). She showed that he was a real person with feelings, ideas, and a personality who just happened to have autism. It's such an unfair thing for a parent to watch their child slowly slipping away. I've had parents describe to me with tears in their eyes how their child used to talk to them and make eye contact, then start to lose their personality and ability to communicate and connect with people. It's heartbreaking and there is no worse feeling for parents than to see their child slowly slipping away. Like Tracy said, she felt like someone had kidnapped their child, yet he was still with them, but only in a physical sense.On the bright side, I have seen children completely locked out of the real world and virtually non-verbal change through music therapy and different methodologies because their loved ones kept trying to reach them. For some it took five or more years, but I have seen parents blown away the first time they discovered that their non-verbal child had feelings and thoughts like anyone else. Their child just couldn't express it before they received the intervention that made a difference. So they were silent or did quirky things to show their emotion (like pacing, flapping, screeching, spinning, etc.) There are amazing people hidden inside and while not everyone experiences a miracle like in Holden's case, people need to see that there is a person "locked" inside. For some individuals, music is a very effective way to break through the locked persona and reach the person inside. Kingsbury does an incredible job of showing this.I have to say I was skeptical of some things at first. One, because in the community where I live the way things are set up promotes interaction with children who have disabilities, so the teasing and bullying is not like it is in other cities. That just shows that mainstreaming kids with disabilities into classrooms with kids who don't have disabilities is essential to this type of positive influence. Anyway, that was just an aside.The bottom line was that I loved the heart of this story. It touched me deeply because the author was spot on about so many things. I see this as a true ministry tool for families and I believe every high school should carry this book. The writing was excellent, too. But even though that is a given, I wanted to mention that the author made me forget I was reader numerous times. You may not want to read this book in public though, because you may need to explain why you are crying to onlookers. It's impossible to not feel some joy and pain while reading this book. The most intense emotion for me as I read Unlocked was the feeling of hope because I know this is true. It just reminded me of the reason I do my job. I think this is probably Kingsbury's best book yet, though I still have several titles she has written that I haven't gotten to read yet. Unlocked is making my best fiction of 2010 list.

  • Laura
    2019-04-30 12:21

    This is Karen Kingsbury's best book. In this book, Karen delves into the world of autism. Instead of focusing on the debate on whether or not autism is a result of too many vaccinations (although Holden's mom believes that is the cause of Holden's withdrawal), she focuses on the family and relationship dynamics that are affected by autism. Holden, the protagonist, is locked inside of himself. Through his thoughts, the reader gets a glimpse of the struggle between what he feels and what he can express. When he "meets" Ella, who is really his childhood friend, Holden begins to find a way to express himself: music. Their relationship develops despite educators who don't believe Holden can break out of his autism and bullies who prey on anyone who is different.The novel also takes the reader into the strain stereotypes of autism put on families and even friendships. Ella's parents fear their daughter may "catch" the autistic traits Holden displays and therefore distance themselves from Holden's family. Holden's mother and father struggle to deal with the change in their son and drift apart from one another.Music, the universal language, draws all of the characters together. Music often speaks for us when we can't find the words, and it is through music that Holden finds his voice.

  • Jenna
    2019-05-23 08:10

    I should rate this book higher, because it is such a touching and faith-promoting story. It's well written and all the emotion feels true as you read it. But, as the parent of an autistic child, I found several aspects of the story a bit grating. Kingsbury romanticizes autism so much in this book that it is obvious that she has not had direct, long-term contact with a person with autism. I also didn't like the mother in the book. Sure, she supported her son, but she could not get over what she had lost when her son slipped into autism. When she looked at her son, she couldn't appreciate him for what he was in the present. If I was constantly mourning what I had lost because my son has autism, my life would be a mess! And I think I would resent my son. Instead, I look at what my son has to offer now and that is more than enough. He is who he was supposed to be. All in all, this book is a good, emotional and touching book, but it does not paint a realistic picture of autism. At least, not how I am living with autism.

  • Alice
    2019-05-14 08:19

    I loved this inspirational story about Holden and Ella, very close childhood friends who were forced apart when they were three years old and their families went different ways. When Holden was three he started withdrawing into his own world; he was diagnosed autistic. It changes the lives of these two families--Ella's family moving away. Then when Ella's family moves back to town Ella and Holden both end up going to Fulton High School. At the beginning Ella is dating Jake, the football quarterback and trying out for the spring musical, Beauty and the Beast. When Jake starts bullying the autistic boy, Ella is struck by Holden's eyes. Then she discovers scrapbooks and realizes why Holden seems familiar. The book does a wonderful job portraying autism as well as bullying. It is not only about "unlocking" the world of an autistic child but also about unlocking the prison bullies make for their victims and for themselves. A great book for adults and for young adults, too.

  • Brenda
    2019-04-26 05:17

    Unlocked by Karen Kingsbury is a touching story about a young man with autism that will grab your heart and not let go! Until the age of three Holden Harris and Ella Reynolds had been inseparable, their families were the best of friends. When Holden is diagnosed with Autism, the Reynolds family decides they don't want their daughter playing with him anymore, but for Holden he never forgot Ella, part of his daily routine is watching home movies of him and Ella before he got sick. Fast forward Holden is 18, he is basically uncommunicative,the only thing he really responds to is music.His mother Tracy struggles daily with the challenges of taking care of an Autistic child, you can feel her pain and longing as she talks about never being able to touch or hold her son, of how she holds out hope that some day he will respond to her! Holden's dad basically ran away from the problems at home by taking a job that keeps him away from home most of the year. Ella Reynolds seemed to have the perfect life, she was a cheerleader, and dating one of the most popular boys in school, and she has just landed the lead in the school musical,but things aren't good at home, since the family moved back to town, her mom and dad seem to be having major problems! When Ella sees her boyfriend bullying a special needs student, she realizes he isn't who she thought he was and breaks up with him, she soon realizes the boy is Holden her old childhood friend. Can faith, music, and finding his friend Ella, help Holden unlock the stranglehold that autism has on him? This was one of the best Karen Kingsbury books I have ever read! The characters came alive, and the emotions literally surround you as you read. I believe that Karen is certainly guided by God when she writes her stories, because you come away uplifted, and your faith is renewed. With this book she taught me about Autism, something I knew nothing about. She also deals with some very timely issues such as bullying, suicide and peer pressure, which makes me think that this book should be mandatory reading for every high school student. I highly recommend this book, but be prepared to laugh and cry, and see the world thru Holden's eyes just for a bit. This is a faith building life changing book you wont be able to put down. On a scale of 1 to 5 this book deserves a 10! Even though I was provided a copy of this book by Zondervan for review it in no way alters my opinion of this book!

  • Jennybug
    2019-05-15 10:59

    This was a book that I read for book club. The only Karen Kingsbury book that I have read is "Let Me Hold You Longer", a children's book and one of my most favorite. I wasn't even aware that she wrote other books. Parts of this book were predictable and sometimes Christian authors are a little hard to read, because everything turns out. I find myself looking at other children I know with disabilities big and small and thinking where is their miracle? Although, I do have faith and know that miracles do happen. What really made this book enjoyable and believable for me is reading it from cover to cover. I liked reading about the authors dedications to her children, reading about her charity work, reading the story itself with the characters strong connections to God, and then I liked reading about how she got the idea for this story. I am anxious to read another one of her books. It made me think about some of the fantasy books that I read and love, I don't critique them as harshly. Yet, when someone shares stories about miracles why am I so sceptic? And I am a Believer. So in the end I came away really liking this book and all the ways that it made me think about my relationship with God. It also made me grateful for this author who is willing to share her faith and testimony of God through writing novels.

  • Amytiger
    2019-05-02 09:54

    The only reason I got into this book is because it was listed on my recommendations. I didn’t check why it was there, probably because I loved the books Rules and Out of my Mind. I just saw the cover, read the summary, looked over one or two of the reviews, and clicked the “Want to Read” button. So, as you could tell, I had no experience with this book. No friends to tell me their opinions or anything like that. That’s why I knew this book was genuinely good: I liked it without any influence. It wasn’t like the Harry Potter series, where every single one of my friends told me it was amazing. When I eventually read the series, it was okay. But since every one of my friends loves the books, I have a certain fondness towards the books that is not my own. Same with some of the Rick Riordan books; same with some of the Mortal Instruments; same with the Hunger Games. Without any influence, without any sort of expectations, I plunged through this book and like it for it. The message was clear and inspiring. The characters were sometimes good, sometimes bad, always understandable. The hardships weren’t typical or unreal. And, even though it was all in third person, the point of view in Holden’s autistic mind was interesting… something that at first made me feel uncomfortable, but in the end made me like the book all the more.

  • Savanah Nazimek
    2019-05-06 11:22

    The book “unlocked” by Karen Kingsbury is a story about a boy named Holden who has autism. In this book, he discovers his best friend through a song. Throughout the book, people discover that although Holden has autism, he is capable of anything. I personally enjoyed reading this book considering the fact that I have a cousin with autism. It was nice to see things from that perspective. From the first few pages I was completely sucked in. I liked how easy it was to foreshadow what would take place. I also like how descriptive Kingsbury was when she wrote this. I wouldn’t change anything about this book.“The Prince looked on the outside the way the Beast was on the inside. Sometimes people couldn't see the inside of the person unless they like the outside of a person.” (Pg. 148)I like this quote because it’s a metaphor of how life was for Holden. Nobody treated him like a human being, simply because he was different.

  • Jerry
    2019-05-01 13:04

    Karen Kingsbury is a wonderful author, and Unlocked is second to, if not tied with, Like Dandelion Dust as the best novel of hers that I've ever read. I'm mildly autistic myself, and I found Mrs. Kingsbury's portrayal of the severly autistic Holden to be very sensitive and well-done. Ella was a likable character; I've known many women (young AND old) who were much like her, and I really don't know where I'd be without them. Unlocked moved me in a way few stories--literary, cinematic, or otherwise--have ever done. If you've never read any of Karen Kingsbury's novels before, Unlocked is a great place to start. Just be sure you have plenty of time to finish it; the book won't let you go until the last page.

  • Rosalie
    2019-05-19 08:07

    Very informative on autism. Good story.

  • Gina Denny
    2019-04-26 08:59

    I debated for quite awhile about how many stars to give this book. If you had asked me after the first fifty pages, I would have said it was a one-star read. The central character, Holden, "catches" autism as a child as a result of vaccinations. Not only has this conspiracy theory been all but completed obliterated by science, but also so have the "therapies" that Holden's mother enrolls him in, particularly the nutrition therapy. However, there were brief, shining moments where I might have rated this a five star read. Unfortunately, Kingsbury would then annihilate the beautiful moments with an out-of-place reference or over-the-top-cheesy line. One beautiful moment includes a couple singing a poignant duet, but Kingsbury then ruins it by making a crack about American Idol judges. So, I settled on three stars. Good but not great. It's a sweet, if cliché, story with an uplifting message. Holden is autistic, and is tormented by kids at school as a result. The same tormentors, naturally, torment other kids: band nerds, drama dorks, etc. until (surprise, surprise) one of the popular girls breaks away from the group, realizes what they were doing is wrong and starts to get to know these misfits and help them break out of their shells. Ella, the popular girl, connects with Holden, the autistic boy, for a number of reasons, some more complicated than others. They connect, and a genuine friendship blooms, despite his communication problems. In fact, when Ella reaches out to him, his communication problems all but disappear. It’s the far-fetched dream of every mother with an autistic child: they could somehow, miraculously, come completely out of their shell someday. It’s far fetched, yes, but Kingsbury explains away the difficulties by making it a Divine Miracle. God is working in Holden’s life. As I said, it’s a sweet story, and if you don’t mind casual, almost disrespectfully so, use of prayers and sacred moments, then you’ll probably like this book. Some of the moments between Holden and his mother are incredibly touching, and the growth of Ella's character, as well as one of her friends is very sweet. It pretty Disney-esque, with a big, beautiful, happy ending. It's a feel-good read :)It’s not terribly well written; again, there are great pieces, and not-so-great pieces. Kingsbury does well at weaving together a dozen or so individual plot lines into one cohesive story. At first you don’t see what these things all have to do with each other, but in the end, she ties them together very neatly. However, the metaphor of “Beauty and the Beast” was clumsy at best, annoying at worst, and cheesy the whole way through. The novel is riddled with grammatical errors: misused punctuation, missing punctuation, misused conjunctions, juvenile vocabulary and some weird anachronisms (a character does something just like a celebrity “once did,” making it seem as though this celebrity was long dead… he was doing this thing during the writing of the manuscript, and still does today. Weird, right?)Like I said, good, but not great. Worth reading if you are looking for something sweet and uplifting. Parental advisories: Language 0/5: Nothing. Some “cool” kids call other kids names such as “freak” and “loser,” and use “gay” in a derogatory manner, though. Sex 1/5: Ella’s virginity is discussed, briefly. A bet is made between two football players to “nail her no matter what” (of course… what kind of fake high school book would this be, without the obligatory sex-bet, right?), one woman wonders if her husband is faithful. Violence 1/5: Bullies kick and push some kids around. A boy hangs himself, though the text just “fades out” instead of giving us the gory details. Substance Abuses 1/5: Some teen girls are drunk during one scene, and other girls talk about how they don’t want to drink alcohol.

  • Paul
    2019-05-07 09:11

    We're given a look at the ravaging effects of autism. One in particular, Holden Harris, an eighteen-year-old high school student suffers from the disease. He endures his share of never ending bullying. Surprisingly, he makes an unexpected connection with the school's most popular cheerleader, Laura. She had been the first one who had broken through to him. It gave meaning to the word hope.Holden lives in his own world. He always will. Is Holden even aware that he has a disease? There's no way of knowing. Even though he was mainstreamed in a regular High School, he attends special ed classes. I believe the author sees this interaction with others at school as a way of improving his condition through use of socialization skills with others. Unfortunately, his condition will not improve. In fact, it will deteriorate. It's sad.

  • Elysa
    2019-05-02 08:00

    I love this book. Maybe it's my perspective, but as a mother of two children on the autism spectrum and a woman of faith, I think it's absolutely a must-read. I found myself treading lightly through the first half, saddened by the first chapters and the pangs of hurt I feel myself when those who don't know my children underestimate them or worse---make fun of them and see no potential for relationship when they look at them. I stood in the hallway with Holden Harris...soaking it up...praying through my own worse nightmares when I think about what middle school and high school could be like for my own. I cried with his mother, Tracy, over the losses she'd suffered, over her anxieties, her frustration, her confusion, and her prayers. This book begins with a lot of listening on the part of the reader...a lot of seeing. And then, just as I began to pick up the tune and pull the music out of the quagmire of feelings and thoughts I'd been brewing, everything swelled to an almost deafening crescendo, and I the afterward, Karen Kingsbury explains that, "when I was finished, I had the sudden, certain feeling that I was on holy ground, that God had met me in that crowded plane and given me this story as a very special gift." All I can say is that the Holy Spirit's fingerprints are all over this story. It's a novel based on the true story of a boy with autism who found his way out of the prison of sensory integration and communication disorder, past his social challenges and fear, out of the back row of a theater onto the stage. The book is fiction inspired by truth, and I can tell you this: I see the truth born on the pages of this book every day of my life. I literally ask God daily (sometimes multiple times a day) to free my children from the things that hold them captive. In Holden, I see my son, who has always loved music and seems most able to communicate when he hears it. My son also loves to perform, and I absolutely believe he could one day stand on a stage and melt an entire auditorium to tears. I see my children constantly teaching other people that different does not equal less. I see them loving others freely and purely, loving God fiercely (oh, how they can worship!), and I see them opening eyes and showing others that they are more---so much more---than the surface evidences of the challenges they face and bravely---even miraculously---overcome on a continual basis.To Karen Kingsbury, I say thank you for allowing God to use you to write this book. You cannot imagine the ways that God is already using it to touch lives, but somehow, by the evidence of your faith, I know this is a fact that you embrace.Bottom line: This is a beautiful novel about love and how much we all need it poured out and running over. It's about the deep blessing of real friendship, the Power of a loving, almighty, glorious God, and the truth that we are all so much more than what can be seen by looking at us only from the outside. We all need to seen----really seen. Oh how we cherish those who can look into our eyes and see to our hearts and souls, those who will stand patiently with us as we confront life's challenges, those who will hear us when no one else appears to be listening. You need to read this book.

  • Mackenzie Carol
    2019-05-01 10:16

    Unlocked is one of Karen Kingsbury’s older stand-alone novels, but is one I have loved for years and years. I’ve read it at least three times now, and I have no idea how I’ve gone this long without actually reviewing it. So, since I had a hankering to read it again, I decided this would be the time I would finally get around to reviewing it. Unlocked has been one of my favorite novels of all time ever since I first read it, and even now I cannot make it through even half of the story without bawling. Holden’s story touches me deeply every time I read it, and I cannot even think of this book without exclaiming over how wonderful of a book it is and how much it touches my heart. I don’t know what it is about me that draws this story to me, but I do know what it is about the story. It is a book of compassion, and faith, and miracles, and a boy who is by far the kindest, sweetest person to ever grace the face of the earth—though not everyone realized it—and if I could ever write a book half this touching and meaningful, I would be satisfied. Holden Harris may be locked in a cage of autism, but that doesn’t keep him from being full of love and compassion for others, and being the perfect social butterfly in his own world. There are so many realizations we make about Holden as the book goes on, and each one only shows just how beautiful of a person he is. Just because he is a little different from others, and has trouble openly interacting with people, doesn’t mean he isn’t full of God’s love and compassion for people. Once you get to know Holden, you find that there isn’t a sweeter person on the face of the earth, and you cannot help but want a miracle for him just as badly as his mother and Ella do. Ella Reynolds is another wonderful character. Though she has faced so many struggles since the days when she used to be friends with Holden, when she sees the way the “in” crowd treats people like Holden, she is angered by the injustice of it all, and even longs to help Holden. That chance comes when she discovers he wants to listen to her and the rest of the drama team rehearsing for their play, and she makes it possible for him to listen in. As days go by, Ella begins to realize just how overrated the “in” crowd is, and just how much more meaningful it is to be friends with people who actually truly care about you. And as she goes about trying to help Holden find his miracle, she realizes she just might be the one receiving a miracle as well. All in all, I think it’s pretty clear that I love this novel; if the fact that I’ve already read it multiple times doesn’t make that obvious, this review does. Unlocked has to be, by far, one of my favorite books by Karen, and it definitely has a place on my all-time favorites list. It has earned its ranking of all five bookshelves, that is for sure, and I know that this isn’t the last time that I will be re-reading this novel. I’m not entirely sure how I’ve gone this long without actually having my own copy of the book, but rest assured, it is sitting in my Amazon cart right now, so that will change very soon and then I’ll be able to read it any time I want.(This review is from my blog,

  • Joan
    2019-05-18 05:21

    Karen Kingsbury is a Christian writer who speaks with a Christian perspective to a number of concerns. Our book club has read a book of hers which discussed the issue of young people going to war. The most recent one was this, "Unlocked," the story of a thoughtful high school girl, a teenager who is autistic (severely so) and a high school boy who plays the flute. KIngsbury's major issue is bullying (you can see the scenario in the character descriptions above) but the minor issue--that Kingsbury seems to spend most time on--is that of autism. Kingsbury is a good author; she does her homework and writes with obvious care and concern for each of her characters. And, like all authors, she has an agenda. Although the book is fiction, there is much concern expressed about the apparent (but currently mostly debunked) association of autism with childhood vaccinations. The young autistic man has a history of several such vaccinations given in one sitting. (As a retired health care professional I question the validity of such an experience; certainly no person or agency I have ever worked with would have used such a practice!) The story does involve the issue of bullying--in fact, it is the dilemma that is explored in detail in the book. But autism colors all the bullying experiences: the autistic boy is bullied consistently as is the teen who plays the flute. And autism is the promt that Kingsbury admits moved her to write this novel. Is the book good? Sure. Is it believable? I think sadly it is ALL too believable. I confess I was less than excited as I started the book but as I got into it, I was more involved and intrigued. In the end, I finished the book--and I'm glad I did. And I was able to discuss it but not without some misgivings; I am glad I am in a book club that moves me to read what I would not ordinarily choose. I have heard that Kingsbury is a "lovely woman." I am certain she is; she is highly regarded in both Christian and non-Christian reading circles.I am glad there are books other than Karen Kingsbury's on our reading list!P.S. Next I read "House Rules" by Jodi Picault. See my review on that.

  • Faye
    2019-05-21 05:05

    So if one will pray hard enough, the sick will be healed, marriages will be healed, and all goes "normal". As the auntie of a young man with autism, I thought the book was unkind to those remarkable caregivers who do pray, and worry and cry and yet their child is not healed. Don't get me wrong here. It is good to believe in miracles, they happen every day, butsometimes the biggest miracle comes in a package that is not neatly wrapped up in a bow like the end of this book. Sometimes the miracle is loving someone for who they are, a not so 'normal' gift from Father who makes each one of us unique. And embracing those differences, not grieving for 15 years that your child is 'lost' even as he eats his dinner. Most of the book is a mother whining about "losing" her child, even though he was still there. Father too. They spent too much time dwelling on what their child was like at age three. Well you know what? No eighteen year old kid is the same as they were at age three, whether autistic or not. The flashbacks got old and tedious. The suicide scene had potential, and would have been great if the author would have written about how the bullies felt. Then poof, the bullies are cured. Poof, the boy with autism speaks, sings and hugs. Poof, the marriage becomes strong, and a mother repents and she and her daughter's relationship is healed. Poof, the divided women become friends and even at their first meeting after 15 years apart, one complains to the other about her marriage, as though they just spoke to each other yesterday.Much of the book is constant repetitive scenes and words. She remembered the same things time and again. She 'suddenly' thought this or that, but she had the same thought seven pages ago. And tears, constant tears by so many characters. And blue eyes way too many times. How many times did the author write about botox and tank tops? We got it already. Like others, I found myself skimming through the long winded repeated parts, wishing the author would finally get to the point. And when she finally did, it was all just too neat and saccharine, and quite unbelievable.

  • Marisa
    2019-05-14 10:54

    Karen Kingsbury's "Unlocked" captures your heart with its story of a young eighteen year old named Holden Harris. Sadly, he suffers from autism and is attending a high school where the teenagers don't fully understand anything about what he goes through each day. Holden is very happy with himself on the inside but he gets bullied terribly at school. This was an amazing book that illustrates the life changing story of a family in need of a miracle. This story talks about how the Harris family have an autistic son and their close friends had a daughter named Ella who was nearly the same age. They grew up as best friends but at the age of three the Reynolds family would not let their daughter hang out anywhere near Holden after finding out he had autism. Later on when Holden is in high school he gets bullied and has some struggles but Ella, who is now Holden's classmate years later, finally finds out that Holden was the kid she once knew and then she made helping him her new priority.Kingsbury captured the emotional journeys of people touched by autism in a profound way. She showed that autism effects everyone and stories like Holden’s give people hope and the desire to push forward. It showed how uninformed people were on autism and how there are all different types of the disease.This book caught my attention most because I do have a younger cousin that suffers from autism and his mother was a single mom taking care of him which was really difficult for her to handle. Autism is exhausting to deal with for parents and most children can’t be left unsupervised for even five minutes. So few people truly understand the disorder and this book really should open your eyes if you are one of those people.I love this book for putting out such a good message and I recommend this book to anyone who has difficulty understanding autism or the struggles people go through who love individuals with that diagnosis. Also I recommend this to anyone that knows anyone with autism and is curious about the life that they truly live. This book had so much heart and I think many people would enjoy it.

  • Becky Seabaugh
    2019-05-11 12:58

    I have several issues with this book.First, I don't want to read the word okay again in a book again for a long time - okay? Talk about overusing a word.Fulton High faculty and staff - how dumb are you? Kids with Autism are intelligent. They should not be kept from the general population at all times. Sorry if their needs are an exasperating inconvenience to you, but isn't teaching them your job?Dan Harris - you prayed that God should save you IF your son was "coming back"? Why don't you love and accept Holden. He would have made progress faster if you had helped get him some early intervention instead of taking off for Alaska.Holden's church - you have a stage? You had to bring in an altar? You say people must sacrifice and DO things to earn God's forgiveness and salvation? Um, no. That's just bad theology (in my opinion, which happens to align with the Bible). God's forgiveness and salvation are a result of Jesus dying on the cross. I could never be able to do anything to earn this forgiveness myself. It is a free gift for you and me - repent and believe.Jake and the rest of the Bullies - what in the world kind of school do you get away with treating people the way you do? Losers.I realize I review as though these people and places are real. Autism is a very real issue for me, as my 7 year old son has an Autism diagnosis. I thank God every day for my precious little boy. Never once have my husband or I thought taking off for Alaska would be the way to deal. I don't sit around pining for the kid that we "lost". He's right in front of us, and he's just the way God intended him to be - caring, smart, silly, and with Jesus in his heart. Our child is a blessing. He's NOT a sad inconvenience. I love him the way he is. Do I sometimes pray that things be easier for him? Sure, but we don't give up on him. He makes progress each and every day, and while he grows he is teaching the rest of us around him. So many times I wanted to stop this book, but I kept plugging away at it. Probably because I was just that disappointed.

  • Jodi
    2019-04-23 11:55

    This was a book about a boy,Holden who was a normal boy at age three. He had a best friend, Ella. They use to play together and sing. He had 9 immunizations at one doctor visit and then he started to change. His mother was best friends with Ella's mother. Once Holden started to change the mothers had a hard time being around each other. They had been friends since high school. They stopped seeing each other and both families lost out. Holden's father went to Alaska and started fishing there most of the year. Holden stopped talking altogether and never looked at anyone. The family was trapped in their private Hell for 15 years. Holden went to school, but went to special classes. He was picked on almost daily. Holden stopped one day at a class that was getting ready to do the play beauty and the beast. Holden stopped and watched a girl singing. The girl turned out to be Ella his long ago friend. Ella started to try to talk to Holden and helped him make amazing progress. It was a great book about autism and that even though kids do things most people don't understand there are ways to reach them. For Holden music was the key. At the end his father came to watch him perform in the muscical and the two mothers started to talk again. Ella and her mother grew closer and everyone was changed by Holden again.

  • Nina Donkin
    2019-05-13 07:54

    Karen Kingsbury's "Unlocked" is one of the best books I have ever read by her. It tells the story of Holden Harris, and eighteen year old high school student. Sadly, he suffers from autism. Deep within himself, Holden is very happy, but the students from his school don't understand him, and he is often bullied. But things begin to change. The change begins in the form of a girl from school called Ella, who reaches out to Holden. And slowly, Holden starts to come out from within his inner self. The journey you go in in this book is so beautiful, and just captures all the different emotions so well, and I ended up in tears at quite a few points (I often do in movies, but very rarely in books). More than anything else, it is a story of looking past our differences, of understanding and accommodating, it is a story of say "enough", of fighting for what is right, but more than anything, it is a story of hope. It is a really eye-opening book, a brilliant read, one which I would highly recommend! I'll keep this review short and sweet so as to avoid any spoilers :)

  • Lee Fleming
    2019-05-03 05:10

    My account had this in my library one day and I don't even know if I paid for it or what, but it was strangely there. Looked like teenage fiction/romance so I gave it a listen and, well... not bad!If you like very religious themes, give it a whirl (they refer to prayer or church about every 20 minutes or so.) The story is a very uplifting tale of a teenage boy who has autism and how a sweet little girl in his class takes an interest in him. Totally predicable, utterly schmaltzy, and a bit Amish romancy (with a southern evangelical twist)yet I liked it. I like hope and the book was totally about hope to the nth degree. Strangely, I would have given it 4 stars if it had ended how I thought it was going to end but since it didn't follow my prediction 100% it kind of bugged me. If a book is going to be so predictable for 90% of the book I want it to be spot on. I know the logic there is a bit unreasonable.Oh, also as a note on audible, I didn't like the narration of Holden.

  • Veda
    2019-05-01 09:22

    I have read this book before; and will read it again; as I get a little something different each time I read it. This book deals with autistic, bullying, and several other issues; that I won't say because I don't wan to ruin the story.It is the story of an 18 year old boy named Holden Harris who has been locked in an autistic world since he was 3 years old. It is the story of Ella Reynolds, who at the beginning of the story is a part of the "in" crowd in high school. Ella is a cheerleader and the star of the drama department. Follow Holden and Ella through school and the drama that comes with being in high school. What works and what doesn't work. How does Holden communicate with the rest of the world and how he is treated? Karen Kingsbury takes us on a journey that will make you smile; then cry; laugh and cry some more. New friends are made; old friend are found and through it all is the common thread of pray by all involved.

  • Barbara
    2019-05-01 07:04

    In my opinion, this is one of Karen Kingsbury's best books. It is not an easy one to read at times; your emotions will feel like they are on a roller coaster, but you will be inspired and uplifted in the end. Many topics important in the lives of high school students and their families are dealt with such as bullying, suicide, autism and other special needs, following or going against the crowd, the effects our choices have on other people, and how we tend to judge others by what we see on the outside instead of who they are on the inside, and once again Karen Kingsbury deals with them artfully and sensitively. I highly recommend this book.

  • Carolyn
    2019-05-11 09:52

    My friend suggested Karen Kingsbury to me, that was the best suggestion i ever took!!! This book is awesome. totally. i know it sounds a little cliche but its something you need to read! The characters were well developed and i loved how Karen Kingsbury tackled the issue of bullying and autism. I didnt know much about autism until i read this book and it helped me understand the autistic people in my life a little more. I got to the climax of this book and i literally started crying! That doesn't happen very often but this book is quite emotional. Overall, this should definitely be the next book you read!

  • Rabi Ekore
    2019-04-25 07:53

    I love the realistic portrayal of a boy suffering from autism. The story makes it possible to clearly understand this common mental health issue. Most importantly it gives hope to readers as they are made to realise that an autistic person can learn to live normally and be fully integrated into the society.

  • Mary
    2019-05-02 05:13

    Such a great read!!! Told mostly from Holden's viewpoint, you are drawn into his thoughts & emotions locked behind the wall of autism. One person cares enough to try to unlock and free him from this prison.