Book Review | Saving Max
Title: Saving Max
Author: Antoinette van Heugten
Max is an intelligent teen who happens to have been diagnosed with Asperger’s Disorder. What starts as seemingly normal teenage-boy behavior, such as withdrawing from his mother and experimenting with drugs, begins to elevate into violence. His mother, Danielle, a lawyer, knows it is time she seeks a higher level of care for Max, and is stunned when the psychiatric facility she enrolls him in diagnoses him with the severe and rare schizo affective disorder, and Max begins to decompensate. He seems to be worse in treatment, and the staff attributes behaviors to Max that Danielle knows are just not her son.
When a boy on Max’s floor is murdered and Danielle finds Max at the murder scene, she is desperate to find justice for her son. She knows he could not have commited the crime, but all evidence points to him. She takes it upon herself to get his named cleared against all odds.
I have read a lot of mysteries lately focusing on children diagnosed with Asperger’s disorder, and it is a diagnoses I have seen more lately in my field (mental health) and in the media. Rather than exploit this disorder or sensationalize it, the author, Antoinette von Heugten, uses her knowledge as a parent of children on the autistic spectrum to supplement the story and Max’s character. The characters are believable and well-developed, and the suspense builds steadily throughout the novel. This is a well-written and well though out effort. I am looking forward to reading more from this author!
*I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this novel.*