How Far Will You Go To Protect Your Family Will You Keep Their Secrets Ignore Their Lies In A Small Town In Virginia, A Group Of People Know Each Other Because They Re Part Of A Special Treatment Center, A Hyperbaric Chamber That May Cure A Range Of Conditions From Infertility To Autism But Then The Chamber Explodes, Two People Die, And It S Clear The Explosion Wasn T An AccidentA Showdown Unfolds As The Story Moves Across Characters Who Are All Maybe Keeping Secrets, Hiding Betrayals Was It The Careless Mother Of A Patient Was It The Owners, Hoping To Cash In On A Big Insurance Payment And Send Their Daughter To College Could It Have Been A Protester, Trying To Prove The Treatment Isn T Safe FIVE MIC DROP, WALK AWAY STARSAngie Kim has done the impossible In one book, she offers something for EVERYONE If you love to read literary fiction, mystery, women s issues, immigrant stories, or courtroom dramas please, do yourself a favor and read MIRACLE CREEK I will be thinking about this one for a long time There are so many themes in this sparkling novel, I don t know where to begin If you ve read Big Little Lies or Everything I Never Told You then you know what I m talking about The family relationships, the secrets and betrayalsmothers and children, guilt, love and sense of duty..all these things are explored in MIRACLE CREEK.I love the compelling and clever way in which the story is told from an unfolding trial BRILLIANT I wonder why mysteries aren t told in this manner The constant thought running in my head my gosh, this will make a terrific movie I also listened to the audio book as I read along with my Kindle My favorite, lazy way to read anything The narrator is absolutely amazing I highly recommend the audio if you are looking for a juicy one to sink in your ears Thanks as always to Netgalley and the author for allowing me to read and review the advanced galley All opinions are strictly mine. Where this book lands, it will doubtless leave a bruise After I finished, I sat there a long time, like a bolt struck tree seared to its roots My thoughts would not settle on the well worn words I felt as if I needed to do something, but I didn t know what A tight, reluctant ache might have eased about my heart ever since, but the impression of the event of Miracle Creek is burned indelibly upon it So, whats about The Yoos, an immigrant family from Korea, conduct hyperbaric oxygen therapy HBOT sessions or dives in a pressurized, submarine like chamber that is believed to be effective in remediating a wide range of conditions, including autism, cerebral palsy, and infertility When a fire breaks out near the oxygen tanks during a treatment session, leaving two patients dead, and others paralyzed or permanently scarred, everyone s grief is inarticulate, still entangled in their shock It was like a nightmare and they expected, each moment, to wake to a fierce and flooding relief, but there was no waking The Yoo family sink to the darkest depths of their horror when, a year later, they must testify against Elizabeth Ward who is accused of orchestrating the fatal explosion to kill her son, Henry, who d been undergoing HBOT to treat his autism But things are seldom what they seem Elizabeth s trial throws all antecedent events into a kind of glaring Technicolor Speculation and rumor race down every corridor, and soon, secrets fill the courtroom, thinning the air until nobody can breathe.Did Elizabeth s puppeteer parenting of Henry sheathe a keen and very pointed streak of malice toward her 8 year old son Do Pak s incessant lies and the regrets he would not utter conceal insidious designs to latch onto an insurance money Were the protestors who had threatened Elizabeth of this very fate finally willing to see it through Or was there another murderer nesting in the rural Virginia town of Miracle Creek like a poisonous spider Secrets hung from everyone s necks like a yoke and it ll come a point where they are simply too hefty to bear.Miracle Creek is bracingly original, unrelentingly erudite and outstandingly addictive this novel is undoubtedly a welcome rescue in a sea of murder mysteries.There are a staggering number of elements to this story that the author must juggle, and Angie Kim practically levitates them She paces her narrative like a pro, and she does so in a richly textured prose that is also sharp and vivid Kim s storytelling is taut and lean and the plot speeds by, brisk and uncluttered but it yields no simplicity Plot twists abound, even to the last page, hurling at the reader s head like stones It was like assembling a long line of dominoes one event inevitably leads to the next and the ending is less an ah ha moment and like a relief valve being released, my mind feeling almost hollow in its relief, as if a storm had gone through.The deftness with which Angie Kim manipulates our sympathies and anticipation is also remarkable She clasps the reader s mind and spins it around her fingers, weightless as a magic trick Kim gives just enough light through the window of her story to lend depth to the darkness, defying me each time I thought I knew what was coming Time went undetected, unmeasured, as I moved relentlessly over the story, an undertow of dread tugging at my thoughts, feeling my way through the minefield of secrets like it might explode at any given moment A dozen different thoughts crowded through the small fragment of time I had left for thinking, my mind straining to remember any telling inflection or subtle information that I might ve missed but understanding always slipped away before I could seize it.Miracle Creek s biggest triumph, however, is the succinctness and precision with which the author navigates an enormously complicated emotional territory, cradling each of her characters in a haunting story that pulls the readers feelings in different directions.The story is told by eyewitnesses whose reliability is, to be charitable, problematic First person narration alternates seamlessly between seven characters, all of whom were present the night the explosion happened, including the Yoo family Pak and Young Yoo and their teenage daughter, Mary , Elizabeth, Matt a doctor who was undergoing HBOT for infertility and his Korean American wife, Janine, and finally, Teresa, who survived the explosion with her daughter Rosa.Angie Kim assembles their stories into a beguilingly intricate portrait of loss as well as a weary pursuit for justice The author s experience as a formal trial lawyer shines through the courtroom scenes like a beacon, and I was held firmly captivated Kim s choice to immerse her readers in one character s thoughts and opinions before expanding or completely refuting them with those of another also carries its own fascination My allegiance kept shifting too quickly to track, and it often felt like my mind was being pulled into a hundred pieces and then flung out into the world.Miracle Creek is, over, starkly profound, and it s not just the heady revelations that leave readers devastated The notion of choices and consequences underpins all of Miracle Creek, but the book is just as much about identity, family and the sprawling lengths a parent is willing to go in order to protect their child.Kim s exploration of immigrant identity and belonging is deeply resonant Young Yoo left the last tatters of their lives in Korea for a daughter she wanted to grow up a stranger to sorrow and loneliness For years, Young worked excruciating hours, slept little and ate less, the promise of a better tomorrow pinning her to a low paid job like an anchor, but reminding her how far she and her daughter have traveled away from each other, while Pak is oceans away, settling into the role of a wild goose father which is, according to the novel, a term Koreans use to describe a man who remains in Korea to work while his wife and children moved abroad for better education The hope, that had leapt so easily in Young s breast when, after four years, the family is reunited again, crashes when the trials and tribulations of living as an immigrant come barreling through the door The novel also shows how men are educated into their gender, as portrayed in Young s quick acquiescence and Pak s tendency to talk down at her with the condescension of an old papa towards a dimwit child, and offers up myriad means of understanding the complicated relationships in the book.Miracle Creek also devotes ample page time to reflect upon the challenges and rewards of caring for a special needs child with the kind of soul baring honesty that snags at you My capacity for feeling was particularly unwieldly when it came to Elizabeth s chapters, as the mother who, despite genuinely loving her child, refused to see anything about him beyond her own misplaced attempts to cure him of autism Reading some of those chapters was deeply unsettling My heart seriously ached for Henry, and my hatred for Elizabeth s choices was sometimes so intense it seemed a physical thing, pressing on me, both burning and icy at the same time Kim fields the torn open stomach of parenthood lucidly, and at times harrowingly, without offering any easy answers and that s one of the many ways in which this book succeeds.In addition to all of that, Miracle Creek examines, at great length, the fetishizaton of Asian women Who decided it was normal to be attracted to blondes and Jews and Republicans, but not to Asian women writes Kim, Why was fetish, with its connotation of sexual deviance, reserved for Asian women At this point, I think my taste in books ranges from everyone needs to read this 5 stars to if the technology from Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind existed, I would use it to wipe every trace of this book from my consciousnessanyway, 5 stars Now that you ve read this review, you understand why my feelings for this book are a pendulum still swinging between the two With that being said, I d still recommend you pick it up BLOG TWITTER INSTAGRAM TUMBLR Or perhaps the newspapers were right Perhaps Elizabeth had been desperate to get rid of her son, and now that he was dead, she finally had a measure of peace Perhaps she had been a monster all along. I had to take some time away to really process this book It wasn t easy Miracle Creek absolutely ripped my heart out It s a fantastic, utterly thrilling courtroom drama it s a mystery, perhaps a murder mystery and alongside these things, it s also a powerful character study that examines immigration, parenthood, grief, disability and caregiving.The trial and the mystery are the compelling backdrop here, but this book explores so many things that it s hard to know where to begin describing it.It s now a year since the night that took two lives and injured several others Elizabeth, the single mother of one of the victims, is on trial for murder On the night in question, she dropped her son off for his HBOT treatment and purportedly left to drink wine and smoke cigarettes nearby the same cigarettes responsible for the blast that killed her son while she was absent HBOT was new to me It s a kind of oxygen treatment said to improve everything from male infertility to autism, and the author has personal experience with it Elizabeth s son was on the autism spectrum and, as we soon see, the pressure of looking after him was pushing her to the edge Whether it was enough for her to murder her son, though, is the real question The we learn, the less implausible it sounds Having a special needs child didn t just change you it transmuted you, transported you to a parallel world with an altered gravitational axis. But there are many other characters in this book and they all play an important role The third person narration moves through each of their perspectives, filling in the night in question, piece by piece Each person is fleshed out and flawed Kim explores them all in depth, creating so many intimate portraits that all come together to form a bigger picture.The HBOT facility was started by Pak and Young Yoo As Korean immigrants, they have had to struggle with the dismissal of their business as silly Eastern medicine , and with being forced apart when Young and their daughter first came to the United States without Pak I was especially moved by the discussions about language barriers Pak is a smart and eloquent man in his native language, but he suffers the indignity of appearing unintelligent in his broken, accented English Pak Yoo was a different person in English than in Korean In a way, he supposed, it was inevitable for immigrants to become child versions of themselves, stripped of their verbal fluency and, with it, a layer of their competence and maturity. Another interesting discussion was that about the fetishization of Asian women Janine really struggles with her feelings about it On the one hand, she thinks it is a potential problem, but she also wonders why men who have a preference for blondes do not get accused of having a fetish Why, she wonders, are Asian women portrayed as something perverse I think I could write my own book about all the avenues this fascinating book goes down I haven t even said anything about the in depth look at parenting and parental sacrifice But I should stop before this review becomes ridiculously long.The final way I will summarize Miracle Creek is that it s a book about so many interesting characters who all want the best for their family, but grind themselves into the ground in the process Elizabeth driven to the edge by parenting an autistic child, Pak the lonely goose father who wants the best for his family, Young who worked such long hours that she alienated her daughter, and there are others too.I found it such a beautiful and sad literary mystery.Blog Facebook Twitter Instagram Youtube But that was the way life worked Every human being was the result of a million different factors mixing together Good things and bad every friendship and romance formed, every accident, every illness resulted from the conspiracy of hundreds of little things, in and of themselves inconsequential Oh boy Where do I begin It s quite possible that this book means so much to me because it s my unicorn the perfect fit for this reader and that may make my review a bit biased, so please keep that in mind as you delve into my thoughts below Miracle Creek is a novel so precisely tailored to my wants and needs as a reader, I was left pondering just how the author crawled into my brain and extracted such specific thoughts and needs before placing them in her tale Full disclosure I almost missed this book, and likely wouldn t have picked it up if it hadn t been for Emily May s recommendation I was worried it would be too difficult for me to read, but I m glad I tossed those notions aside, because feeling this wide spectrum of emotion was a needed exercise in facing some of my own issues and embarking on a journey of healing and acceptance.Please know going in that this is not an easy read It is disturbing at times, but in a natural way and not done for shock value Miracle Creek is an emotional rollercoaster, and I cannot imagine you, reader, not being moved by this story if you are indeed a human being There are some timely topics discussed that are difficult to read, but Ms Kim has touched on these in such a delicate, respectful, and honorable way that it takes some of the sting away and replaces it with a softer approach I really don t want to discuss the plot in deep detail here, as this is a literary courtroom novel and you ll want to find out all the juicy details on your own, but this is just as much a profound study on grief and the ripple effects of a few rash choices that spiral out of controlIt was ironic of all the parents of their patients, Elizabeth had been the most disheveled, and yet she d had by far the most manageable child Henry, her only child, had been a well mannered boy who, unlike many other patients, could walk, talk, was toilet trained, and didn t have tantrums During orientation, when the mother of twins with autism and epilepsy asked Elizabeth, Sorry, but what s Henry here for He seems so normal, she d frowned as if offended She recited a list OCD, ADHD, sensory and autism spectrum disorders, anxiety then said how hard it was, spending all her days researching experimental treatments She seemed to have no clue how she sounded complaining while surrounded by kids with wheelchairs and feeding tubes And, cue the sobbing once again This won t likely be a popular opinion, and for those of you who have already read the book, I hope you don t think less of me, but I related to Elizabeth so much and felt a deep sorrow well up inside of me for who she could have been, and for how her story played out You see, I have been almost precisely in her shoes My 6 year old daughter was diagnosed with autism spectrum and sensory disorders, OCD, and generalized anxiety at the age of 3 The doctors have been preparing us for years for the likelihood of an ADHD diagnosis in a few years, as it goes hand in hand with her particular side of the spectrum She has asthma, moderate stomach issues, and I ll be damned if I haven t spent years of my life trying to find ways to alleviate those symptoms for her Please do not misunderstand, the idea behind this book and my own thoughts are not to cure autism the point here is that the pressurized dives were a means of treatment of unwanted symptoms, not unlike any other form of therapy I m ashamed to admit that, in the darkest of days, I have thought and spoken things into the empty void that I would never truly mean, but fortunately for me, I have a strong, loving, and caring support system that holds me together when I cannot hold myself up I wanted to dip into this book, reach out, and hold Elizabeth I wanted to comfort her and tell her that her child s needs were valid, even when other parents told her that her child was too normal and undeserving of receiving the therapies I wanted her to know that it was ok to have those dark moments, because we are all human But this was also a beautiful wake up call, reminding me to live in the moment and appreciate all that my beautiful McKenna brings to our family It was an endearing and heart wrenching reminder that, if I ever lost our joy baby, that my life would essentially cease to exist I could never survive if that bright light was extinguished from my life, and it hit me like a ton of bricks at how desperately we need to live each day to the fullest, and how grateful and privileged I am to be entrusted as a care giver to this incredibly gifted, loving, and special child I could go on and on about this book, but I won t Between the setting, although containing a fictional town in Virginia was set geographically within miles of my home, the deep, relatable characters, and a riveting plot that kept me glued from beginning to end, I cannot recommend Miracle Creek highly enough I m going ahead and calling it now this will be THE debut novel of 2019, and I m not just saying that because it was tailored so perfectly to my every whim Do yourself a favor and pick this one up the moment you can get your hands on it If you re a BOTM member, make this your April selectionMany thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy via NetGalley.