cover image Odd Child Out

Odd Child Out

Gilly Macmillan. Morrow, $15.99 trade paper (432p) ISBN 978-0-06-247682-1

Noah Sadler, a native-born British boy, and Abdi Mahad, a refugee from Somalia, become best friends at Medes College, a prestigious Bristol secondary school, in this engrossing novel from Macmillan (The Perfect Girl). Late one night, Noah and Abdi meet on the bank of the Feeder Canal, into which Noah falls. Det. Insp. Jim Clemo takes charge of the subsequent investigation to ascertain whether Abdi pushed Noah or it was an accident. Neither boy can give a version of what happened: Noah because he’s in an induced coma, and Abdi because he remains mute, either refusing to cooperate or deeply in shock. When crime reporter Emma Zhang, Jim’s former lover, hears of the incident, she seeks out Noah’s parents. Her reporting, however, threatens to inflame anti-immigrant sentiments, particularly by raising the suspicion that the police are holding back so as not to exacerbate racial tensions. Both Noah’s and Abdi’s families are forced to confront emotions and secrets buried over the years. The action builds to a shattering conclusion. Agent: Nelle Andrew, Peters, Fraser and Dunlop (U.K.). (Oct.)