In Search of Words
Raymond F L Wong , author
Kirkus Book Reviews ISBN: 978-9810908645 A young boy struggles to find healing in the wake of multiple traumas in Wong’s sweet, personable debut novel. Thirteen-year-old Cedric is a budding piano prodigy and athlete who experiences unthinkable tragedy … He struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder and can neither process nor speak of his feelings of grief and anger; in fact, he can’t speak at all. In the wake of his mental turmoil, he must also deal with physical upheaval when he’s sent from his home in Hong Kong to Birmingham, England. There, he lives with his godfather, Stephen, who’s the headmaster at his new boarding school. Dealing with a new environment while surrounded by strangers initially worsens Cedric’s mental withdrawal and bedevils his attempts at speech. But one of his contemporaries quickly befriends him—the “angelic” Allison… As fate would have it, though, she’s a superlative singer, and she and Cedric gradually form a musical bond that enables them to begin the process of recovery while encouraging each other though art. Wong handles the delicate subject of juvenile PTSD with a deft hand, making Cedric’s suffering and recovery entirely believable. Likewise, the boy’s relationship to music also comes across as plausible. The book also sensitively draws a portrait of a resilient mind slowly piecing itself back together in the wake of disruption. “ ‘Hope’ is the key word,” Cedric observes after meeting with one of his doctors, and thanks to Wong’s sincerity and careful plot development, readers will readily believe it. An ultimately uplifting story of one boy’s recovery from the worst that life can throw at him.