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Literature / Eye Contact

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Eye Contact is a 2006 novel by Cammie McGovern.
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Two special ed children, a learning-disabled girl named Amelia Best and an autistic boy named Adam Miller, go missing during recess. When they're found hours later, Amelia has been stabbed to death, and Adam can't describe what happened. Adam's mother, Cara, tries to find out the truth. Meanwhile, a middle schooler named Morgan also investigates.


Eye Contact contains examples of:

  • The Atoner: Morgan accidentally burned down a wetland his mother spent five years fighting to save from developers. He hopes that solving the murder will make up for it.
  • Character Tics:
    • Adam's hands "dance," as Amelia once put it.
    • Chris Kolchak, a boy from Morgan's social skills group, develops a habit of leaning forward and stepping on his hands when he's sitting down.
  • Commonality Connection: Amelia had PDD-NOS. She and Adam understood each other and became friends, sitting together and singing songs on the playground.
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  • Finger Gun: After the murder, Adam becomes afraid to point to things for fear that his gun will kill someone.
  • Multigenerational Household: For the first five years of Adam's life, he and Cara lived with her parents, until they were killed in a car accident.
  • Only Friend: Cara was socially awkward as a child. Her only friend was Suzette, whom she met in second grade.
  • Picky Eater:
    • Despite Cara's efforts to get Adam to eat more things, Adam eats the same five things for dinner - rice, peanut butter, chicken, ham, and carrots.
    • Morgan is picky about food and even water - he can't stand unfiltered tap. When he goes to live with Cara and Adam, he brings his own food supply because he doesn't think he'll be able to eat any of theirs.
  • Playing Sick: Chris pretends to have an injured ankle so he can get out of PE.
  • Potty Failure:
    • On his first day back at school, Adam has a panic attack and wets himself when he isn't allowed to go to recess.
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    • Chris and Morgan have both wet their pants while being bullied.
  • Speech Impediment: Derek, a boy from Morgan's social skills group, stutters so badly he can hardly talk.
  • Who's Your Daddy?: Cara doesn't know for sure who Adam's father is.
  • Word Association Test: Adam takes one, and Cara, who's spend most of his childhood drilling him on rote sentences, is surprised to hear him making logical connections between the meanings of words.
  • Your Makeup Is Running: Chris's mother cries mascara when she appears in the news after Chris's disappearance.

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