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Miracle Creek How far will you go to protect your family Will you keep their secrets Ignore their liesIn 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

10 thoughts on “Miracle Creek

  1. chai ♡ chai ♡ says:

    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 breatheDid 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 bearMiracle Creek is bracingly original unrelentingly erudite and outstandingly addictive; this novel is undoubtedly a welcome rescue in a sea of murder mysteriesThere are a staggering number of elements to this story that the author must juggle and Angie Kim 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 throughThe 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 itMiracle 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 directionsThe 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 RosaAngie 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 uickly to track and it often felt like my mind was being pulled into a hundred pieces and then flung out into the worldMiracle Creek is over starkly profound and it’s not just the heady revelations that leave readers devastated The notion of choices and conseuences 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 childKim’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 uick acuiescence 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 bookMiracle 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 unwieldy 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 succeedsIn 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?”Highly recommended☆ ko fi ★ blog ☆ twitter ★ tumblr ☆

  2. Emily May Emily May says:

    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 caregivingThe 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 itIt'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 uestion 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 uestion 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 uestion 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 pictureThe 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 elouent 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 longThe 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 tooI found it such a beautiful and sad literary mysteryBlog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

  3. Chelsea Humphrey Chelsea Humphrey says:

    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 inconseuentialOh boy Where do I begin? It's uite 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 acceptancePlease 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 control It 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 tubesAnd 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 selection Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy via NetGalley

  4. Felicia Felicia says:

    This book OMG THIS BOOK•FUCK THIS BOOK•FUCK THIS FUCKING BOOK •FUCK THIS BUTTERFLY EFFECT OF A BOOK •FUCK THIS BOOK for keeping me awake for 3 nights in a row •FUCK THIS BOOK for giving me palpitations•FUCK THIS BOOK for making me swallow my words when I said I wasn't a fan of courtroom dramas•FUCK THIS BOOK for claiming the top spot on my Book of the Year list so that there is really no reason to read another •FUCK ALL OF Y'ALL for pressuring me to read this FUCKING BOOK with your TOTALLY FUCKING DESERVED PRAISE•FUCK THIS FUCKING BOOK•I can't even post my review of this FUCKING BOOK on because FUCK •FUCK YOU •FUCK THIS BOOK AND •FUCK MY LIFE

  5. Melissa Melissa says:

    More than just a mystery or courtroom drama Angie Kim’s debut reaches deep capturing the hearts and minds of readers with its humanistic approach to life and self Well written and emotionally charged Miracle Creek is a harrowing tale sure to resonate with readers of all backgrounds parent or not Through a diverse cast of characters Kim examines the lofty expectations sacrifices and social ideals that shape the lives we come to lead And arguably important the strength it takes to allow your voice to hit an octave higher than any of the distracting background noiseIt’s a gamble picking up a book that’s received as much attention as this one Fair or not in my life market saturation and utter feed domination often perpetuate disappointment As much as our expectations lead us to believe we’re about to embark on something stellar those unreachable heights of literary greatness don’t come to fruition often enough Although surprisingly in this instance the praise is much deserved Miracle Creek has a momentous air almost immediately Kim draws readers in with the introduction of the Yoos a couple that left behind the very essence of who they were and the culture of Seoul for life in Virginia All in the hopes of providing their teenage daughter with the best opportunities They found an investor opened a small hyperbaric treatment center in the heart of the Miracle Creek woods and chose to grind it out until they found success For many of their patients and the parents the “deep dives” offered hope for healing Until one summer night when a fire destroys everything claiming two lives and forcing hard truths to the surfaceThe bulk of the novel unfolds over a few days as the woman charged with setting that fateful fire faces a jury Elizabeth's been accused of planning and executing the unthinkable intentionally killing her young autistic son and the mother of another special needs child As each witness brings their memories of that evening to the stand suspicion and doubt run rampantOne of the biggest successes here in my opinion is the myriad of feelings the parents within these pages inspire The level of strength and willingness they exuded in their plight to give their children health and happiness is impressive And lending even heart the realization that they were often doing so amidst unwarranted outside judgment and in favor of their own base needs Things that naturally segued the conversation into the fruitless uest for perfection some of us find ourselves on and the resentments that tend to tiptoe into a room and inhabit the shadows As we all come to learn life is much messier than we like to lay it out to be in our minds But that's what it means to be human—living breathing and experiencing things authentically Pretty or not So if a tiny part of us had these thoughts a tiny part of the time thoughts we shut out as soon as they creep in is that so bad? Isn’t that just human? The characters of Miracle Creek repeatedly hit the high notes with the emotionality of their situations but they also provide a steady beat of suspense Their varying motives and suspicious behavior combined with the multitude of things taken out of context make for an unexpected journey The strength of Kim's storytelling certainly sets the stage for great things to come Thank you to the FCPL for the borrowed copy

  6. Nilufer Ozmekik Nilufer Ozmekik says:

    5 billion heart wrenching epic poignant stars How far you go to protect your children’s lives?Can you dedicate your whole life for their well being? Is it fair to push them so hard for their treatment? There are so many uestions make you rethink your principles of your life as you read this bookElizabeth is accused to kill her own child Young witnesses her own child slowly vanishes from her arms and turns into a stranger Teresa does everything for well being of her child but she’s at the edge of losing of her own well being Different mothers from different backgrounds with different perceptions motives Only common thing about them is their love to their children This is so fast paced riveting argumentative engrossing book about the web of lies around fire which brings out hidden truths of the different familiesEmotional and shocking ending rips your heart It’s juggling different issues as like adaptation problems of immigrants in a new country legalization of new treatment techniues for special needs children mothers’ devoted loves for their children which are perfectly combined and meticulously described It’s effective emotional book makes you think and see different sides of stories before judging people’s actions Different smart and totally learning experience

  7. Paromjit Paromjit says:

    Angie Kim's literary courtroom drama is a phenomenal debut about the demands and challenges of being a parent of a child on the autistic spectrum or is disabled about marriage about being Korean and the transitional pains of being an immigrant in the US about family and about how far you will go to protect your child In the small town of Miracle Creek in Virginia Pak and Young Yoo run an experimental treatment the Miracle Submarine a pressurised oxygen chamber where patients take 'dives' in the desperate hopes of alleviating autism disability and infertily issues In 2016 the Miracle Submarine explodes killing Elizabeth Ward’s son Henry and a mother Kitt and which resulted in the Yoo's daughter Mary spending months in a coma and leaving Pak paralysed It is now 2017 and the trial of Elizabeth opens charged with the murders being prosecuted by Abe Patterly and reviled by an entire town As the trial progresses secrets lies tensions and rivalries are exposed as the reader learns of the litany of actions small and others significant all of which play their role in the subseuent horrors of the tragedyKim excels in characterisation for example with the Yoo family in providing the details of everyday life of being a Korean immigrant the sacrifices the cultural differences the poverty the difficulties of trying to fit in the pain working long hours the racism the bullying and the cracks that appear between a parent and their beloved child As most parents will attest it is not easy bringing up children it can often result in wanting to tear your hair out and saying things in the heat of the moment that you do not mean It is common for parents in a group to engage in competitive exchanges of how their child is doing so much better actions that often breed resentment envy and jealousy amongst other parents We are given painful insights into how this dismal practice is replicated along with making judgements amongst parents of children with special needs parents often pushed to the edge with the greater drain of energy and frustrations whose entire life and every minute of the day is predicated on meeting the needs and challenges of their child It is barely surprising that providing such care takes its toll on their mental health and their very human responses to the situation they find themselves inThere is a dark and oppressive feel to the narrative the unfolding of the lives of the Yoo family and those who used their 'medical' facility including a doctor experiencing fertility issues and marital problems the guilt repercussions of the explosion physical and emotional the struggle to come to terms with what happened Then there is the guilt of the parent magnified out of all proportions when it comes to having a autistic or disabled child with outsiders feeling free to express their opinions or going even further as with the protesters at the site The highlight of Kim's superb novel for me is the way in which she delineates how the actions of a diverse range of characters and serendipity all play their part in what happens A wonderfully thought provoking read with a bleak and unsettling narrative that drives inexorably to the point where all is revealed Many thanks to Hodder and Stoughton for an ARC

  8. Emily (Books with Emily Fox) Emily (Books with Emily Fox) says:

    Celeste Ng fans you need to pick this upAfter the explosion of the experimental medical treatment device that killed 2 people a trial shakes a small communityThis book follows a Korean immigrant family the accused mother of an autistic child that died during the tragedy and other people present during the eventThis mystery is of a slice of life contemporary where you discover everyone's secrets as you figure out what really happenedIf you enjoyed the writing of Little Fires Everywhere or Everything I Never Told You this debut author should be added to your TBRWould recommend

  9. jessica jessica says:

    wow wow wow wow wow this novel is phenomenally gripping in every way possible there is absolutely no doubt in my mind as to why this is getting so much hype and deservedly so i hate to be one of those people that liken authors to each other because every author is their own person with their own talents but this novel is very reminiscent of the storytelling of celeste ng jodi picoult and liane moriarty with skilled execution of tangled family secrets emotionally compelling portrayal of caring for those with disabilities and examining cultural differences and immigration this novel is so much than just a courtroom drama yes that is what originally drew me to this story courtroom dramas are something i am very easily becoming obsessed with but i cant even begin to describe how expertly crafted each layer of this story is its a work of art of humanity of mystery i honestly have no idea how so much feeling can be packed into one story and yet be so precise i have never been excited for an authors second book because after this i know its going to be something truly remarkable ↠ 5 stars

  10. Deanna Deanna says:

    My reviews can also be seen at 45 Stars I REALLY enjoyed this audiobook I read uite a few positive reviews and I was really intrigued I couldn’t decide whether to read the book or listen but it popped up on Audible one day so I thought I would give it a try I’m really glad I did This interesting story gripped me right from the start I’ve read uite a few courtroom dramas and sometimes they can really drag on but I didn’t find that with “Miracle Creek” At times it was emotional and uncomfortable but it had me hooked I was constantly wondering what I would do if I was in any of these characters positionsThis was another book that had me Googling I was really interested in learning about pressurized oxygen chambers and hyperbaric oxygen therapyI thought this was a really uniue thought provoking and engaging read Others have mentioned that this would make a good book club read and I agree So much to talk aboutThis was a terrific debut novel and I’m really looking forward to from Angie Kim

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