"...A rewarding page-turner..." --FOREWORD CLARION REVIEWS
"...A truly original cast of characters..." --BLUE INK REVIEWS
"...Sensitive...Engaging...Grounded exploration of recovery, resentment, and redemption..." --BOOKLIFE REVIEWS
Ollie Buckmeyer is funny, popular, and lives an idyllic life with his family on one of the last cattle ranches in Southern California. But when he suffers a devastating brain injury, his wonderful world is shattered. Even though he still looks like the same old Ollie, his family mourns as if he had died, his friends don’t know him, and the girl he loves is gone. Everything that matters is taken from him…but something is also given: Ollie has an amazing new talent that might be powerful enough to rebuild his life.
OLLIE COME FREE is a sweeping family saga that explores love, betrayal, and the resilience of the human spirit. Plots and subplots abound—including a buried treasure that has confounded fortune hunters for 120 years—and are brought to life by a full cast of complex and fascinating characters. As FOREWORD CLARION says in their five star review, “OLLIE COME FREE is a meticulous novel about a family forever changed by one unexpected day."
When white goofball Ollie Buckmeyer, 11, is struck by lightning at a Little League game in 1991, what ensues is a series of fast-paced, heart-rending vignettes about a family trying to hold itself together despite complicated circumstances. Left with a traumatic brain injury and acquired savantism, Ollie returns from the hospital a completely different person, and must cope with losing the girl he loved and the life he once led. Ollie pours his soul into his drawings but there are those who would take advantage of him, like his impulsive, ill-intentioned brother Cody. Shahid's b&w illustrations, representing Ollie's art, add an immersive quality, but readers never get to hear from the titular character himself. Varied, shifting perspectives center mostly adult characters, except for Cody, with the most riveting point-of-view being his mother Cathy's emotional story line, as she witnesses the changes in her son and others' treatment of him. Interweaving muddled dreams, flashbacks, speculations, and musings, Patrick features bonds broken, reformed, and healed, as each of the characters searches for a support system in the wake of this tragedy, and looks for the good in the person Ollie has now become. Ages 14 up. (Self-published)