ODD CHILD OUT

Gilly Macmillan

How well do you know the people you love…?

Best friends Noah Sadler and Abdi Mahad have always been inseparable.  But when Noah is found floating unconscious in Bristol’s Feeder Canal, Abdi can’t—or won’t—tell anyone what happened.

Just back from a mandatory leave following his last case, Detective Jim Clemo is now assigned to look into this unfortunate accident.  But tragedy strikes and what looked like the simple case of a prank gone wrong soon ignites into a public battle.  Noah is British.  Abdi is a Somali refugee.   And social tensions have been rising rapidly in Bristol. 

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How well do you know the people you love…?

Best friends Noah Sadler and Abdi Mahad have always been inseparable.  But when Noah is found floating unconscious in Bristol’s Feeder Canal, Abdi can’t—or won’t—tell anyone what happened.

Just back from a mandatory leave following his last case, Detective Jim Clemo is now assigned to look into this unfortunate accident.  But tragedy strikes and what looked like the simple case of a prank gone wrong soon ignites into a public battle.  Noah is British.  Abdi is a Somali refugee.   And social tensions have been rising rapidly in Bristol.  Against this background of fear and fury two families fight for their sons and for the truth.  Neither of them know how far they will have to go, what demons they will have to face, what pain they will have to suffer.

Because the truth hurts.

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  • William Morrow Paperback
  • Paperback
  • October 2017
  • 432 Pages
  • 9780062476821

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$15.99

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About Gilly Macmillan

Gilly Macmillan is the Edgar Nominated and New York Times bestselling author of What She Knew. She grew up in Swindon, Wiltshire and lived in Northern California in her late teens. She worked at The Burlington Magazine and the Hayward Gallery before starting a family. Since then she’s worked as a part-time lecturer in photography, and now writes full-time. She resides in Bristol, England.

Author Website

Praise

“A mother and son spend an ordinary Sunday at a park near Londontown. Until the boy goes missing. Cue dramatic music. This read’s basically The Changeling meets an episode of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit but set in the UK.”The Skimm

“Gilly Macmillan introduces some smart variations on the [missing child] theme in her debut mystery…Macmillan enlivens the narrative with emails, newspaper headlines, passages from professional journals, even transcripts from Inspector Clemo’s sessions with a psychotherapist. But her best move is to include vicious blog posts that go viral.”New York Times Book Review

Discussion Questions

1. Odd Child Out paints a picture of the horrors refugees face in their native countries and the challenges they encounter when entering a new community. Has reading this book given you a new perspective on the struggles of refugees?

2. Even though Noah and Abdi came from entirely different worlds, they developed an extremely deep and trusting friendship. What do you think each boy needed from the other that made them so close?

3. Abdi was raised in the UK, yet his Somali heritage plays a strong role in how others perceive him and his actions. Discuss the roles of race, prejudice, and privilege during the investigation.

4. The Mahads and the Sadlers each try to protect their son in their own ways. Do you feel their actions were justified? When, if ever, do you think you should cease protecting someone you love?

5. Noah wanted to explore and experience the world before his sickness took him. If you were ill, what would your bucket list be?

6. Edward Sadler knows he isn’t a perfect person. Did your feelings about him change as the novel progressed?

7. Detective Inspector Jim Clemo is tackling his own personal demons when he is brought onto the Noah Sadler case. How do you think Clemo’s personal and professional lives affected each other?

8. Maryam, Nur, and Sofia each had secrets to keep about their pasts. Do you think they were right to bury their history as they did, or should they have been more open with Abdi? What would you have done in their situation?

9. The man with the cleft palate is a figure of mystery for most of the novel. Did you suspect who he was? Were you satisfied with his fate at the end of the novel?

10. There are several cases of the media presenting partial or skewed narratives throughout the novel, such as Edward Sadler’s exhibition and Emma Zhang’s article. Do you think the media can ever be completely nonpartisan? Do you think the media has any obligations to its subject when exposing a story?