Ginny Moon is a teenager who’s left foster care and is now in a Forever home with her Forever parents. But Ginny is autistic, which means she takes everything very, very literally, and her parents have to be careful what they say to her, or even how many questions they ask if they want her to be able to answer and not be overwhelmed. Life gets more complicated for Ginny, who was good at running away, when her pregnant Forever Mom brings home her newborn daughter. Ginny would love to help take care of the new baby, like she keeps telling everyone she did with her Baby Doll when she lived with her abusive, drug-addicted Birth Mother. But her Forever Mom is nervous about how unreliable and unpredictable Ginny can be. As Ginny struggles with the reality of what happened to her Baby Doll and reconnecting with her Birth Mom, she will seek her purpose in life and learn to deal with changes that occur in the Aftermath of traumatic events. Ginny Moon is a fascinating window into the mind of an autistic teenage girl, and it will leave you captivated, sympathetic, and hopefully, encourage you to slow down and take life one question at a time, and appreciate those for whom life can sometimes be a little more challenging.
Another book by Benjamin Ludwig is Sourdough, about a baker who inherits the family business and begins a path toward self-discovery. Ginny Moon also mentions the children’s books Julie of the Wolves and Island of the Blue Dolphins.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by is about a woman who suffered a traumatic childhood event as well, with an abusive mother. She is now an independent, though socially inept adult, living in an apartment by herself.
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green is the story of a teenage girl struggling with anxiety and depression disorders, as well as OCD. Her former friend’s father, a multi-billionaire, is missing, and Aza Holmes may be the only person who can work with her odd, wealthy friend to find his father, if she can work past her own personal blockades.
Joe’s Table is the true story of a cafe named after a young man with autism and epilepsy, created by his parents, where he worked during his lifetime. It now continues as a coffee shop that employs people with disabilities. This novel is the true story of Joe’s and his parents journeys into helping him find a purpose and celebrating the things he could do.
Ginny would often have a snack in her therapy sessions, such as Hershey’s Kisses and milk, or brownies. This recipe for brownies includes mini chocolate chips for extra chocolaty goodness. It should be served with a large glass of “human” milk (cow’s milk), as Ginny would drink.
Chocolate Brownie Bites with Chocolate Whipped Cream
- 1/2 cup salted butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, divided into one and two tsp
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder, divided
- 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease each cavity of a mini muffin pan with canola or olive oil spray, then a pinch of cocoa powder (this will help them come out more cleanly and easily). In the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed, combine the melted butter, canola oil, granulated sugar, and one teaspoon of pure vanilla extract. Allow to combine, about two minutes. While those are mixing, sift together the all purpose flour and 1/2 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder.
- Drop the mixing speed to low and add the eggs, one at a time, and allow to combine. Then slowly add the flour mixture in about four to six installments. Stop the mixer to scrape down the insides of the bowl if needed, to make sure everything is combining completely. As soon as all the flour is incorporated, stop the mixer and add the chocolate chips. Fold these in gently with a rubber spatula. Bake 17-19 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean of raw batter. Allow to cool at least fifteen minutes before topping with whipped cream.
- For the chocolate whipped cream topping: in the bowl of a stand mixer, add the heavy cream and whip on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes, allowing peaks to form. Then stop the mixer and add the powdered sugar, two teaspoons of vanilla extract, and the remaining 1/4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder. Mix on medium-low for about one more minute, or less, until all the powders have fully combined. Pipe or spoon onto cooled brownie bites. If you have leftover chocolate whipped cream, it makes an excellent hot cocoa topping!
- Often when Ginny was asked two or more questions in succession, she wouldn’t respond to either. Why was that? Was it difficult for the adults in her life to remember that about her?
- If Gloria was the second-scariest person she knew, why was Ginny still so eager to return to her?
- Why did Ginny like Michael Jackson so much, especially how he was compared to other men she’d known? Was that why she would more often recoil at any touch from a man?
- Why did Patrice, Ginny’s therapist, call Ginny her “adventurous friend”? How important was it that Ginny be in therapy, and how did it help her, especially with her feelings?
- Why does Ginny like cats so much, especially her therapist’s cat, Agamemnon?
- Ginny likes that Patrice always tells her the truth because “a lot of people keep things secret from me.” Why types of things is she referring to, and is that always in her best interests? Why does she not like surprises?
- How did Ginny save her sister’s life? Why was this so difficult for the adults in her life to grasp before she called it Krystal with a K?
- When Gloria told Ginny about Santa Claus, Ginny duct-taped her drugs to the Maine coon cats and let them out of their cages. Then she flushed all her socks down the toilet. Is this why Crystal with a C always told Ginny the truth? Why didn’t Crystal tell Ginny about her Baby Doll?
- How did Ginny become (-Ginny), and why did she think her Forever Mom didn’t like the person she turned into? Was she right or wrong, or both?
- Why did Ginny struggle to see that what she was doing to her Forever Mom was too much for her?
- How did it make Ginny feel calm and safe when her Forever Dad helped her know when they would be doing things? What other things did he do with her that made her like him more than her Forever Mom?
- What happened when Ginny and her Forever Dad went sledding, and why did he get upset when she asked if there was “something more fun we can do”?
- How did Ginny understand both that it was wrong to take things that aren’t yours, but still “know that sometimes you have to”? What things did she have to take?
- Why was it hard for Ginny to understand that her Baby Doll was six, and even worse, that she was too late to stop all the things that happened to her from happening to it? How did this one motivation drive most of her actions?
- Why did Ginny think her Baby Doll needed her, but Brian and Maura and Baby Wendy didn’t? How did a shift in that mentality change her actions?
- Why couldn’t Ginny live with her Birth Dad?
- Why did Ginny finally correct Gloria by yelling “We do not yell or hit! We say I’m too mad to talk! And then we go get some air!”? How did this actually show growth for Ginny?