The One-in-a-million Boy by Monica Wood is published in hardback by Headline.
Ona Vitkus is a 104-year-old Lithuanian immigrant who has, apart from three blazing months back in the summer of 1914 when she ran away to the circus, lived a staid suburban existence.
But when an 11-year-old boy scout arrives on her doorstep to fulfill a season of community service, she gets more than she bargains for. When the boy dies suddenly, his father, hapless guitarist Quinn, feels obliged to show up in his place.
The two strike up an unlikely friendship which impacts both their lives in unforeseen ways.
This is a novel about many things: isolation, community, music, language and friendship.
Wood’s prose sparkles with lyrical descriptions and sharp observations about people and their motivations.
But the over-arching theme running through it all concerns second chances. Even when you’re older than a century, life still has the capacity to surprise you.