Professional reviews (bolding added for emphasis):
“Different by Datta Groover is, well . . . different. It is a great story on a lot of levels that clicked with me. The writing is so good that you don’t notice it at all and that’s rare for me. I am a writer myself, so I’m always making notes on style, mistakes, omissions, things that I would do better etc. But to my surprise and delight, that never happened with Different. I found myself immersed from the first word and, again, I want to let you know that this is delightful and that I felt thankful to the writer for this experience before I had even finished three chapters. Different is the kind of story that I feel is very much needed by modern man. A tale that is firmly planted in the reality of modern life and shows the characters persevering, coping, and loving their way through it successfully. I hope Datta Groover writes a lot of books. I hope this because the world needs stories like this. I need stories like this.
As you might guess from the preceding paragraph, the writing was perfect in my humble opinion. It has been a while since I could so completely immerse myself into a story so seamlessly. And what a story it is. I want to tell you about it so much. But on the other hand, I don’t want to spoil it in any way for you. This is a journey of discovery that you will want to make without any expectations except that it will be a wonderful experience, and trust me, it will be. The characters are great. They are real people, here in our real world, facing real problems, and they are lovable and likable. The plot fits the scenario perfectly. Datta Groover is a master of weaving all the elements of a story into a modern masterpiece.”
~ Readers’ Favorite (review #1)
“The story itself moves along very well. The chapter cliffhangers made me want to keep reading. The dialogue feels realistic, and the author appears to have familiarity with his subject. I believe people who understand what this situation is like will especially appreciate the author’s care with this book.
All in all, a well-written story.”
“From the very first paragraph, Frank MacBride’s disquiet about his family and their safety is clear. Awaking from a bad dream, the comfort and reassurance of his wife is not enough: he has to see his children are comfortable in their own beds; not suffering.
Frank’s marriage to Sofia isn’t perfect. In fact, while they’re generally happy, sometimes eruptions seem to lie just below the surface, and slowly they rise through the shallows. The couple are in counselling, their revealing sessions laid bare in the text, and their children present unique challenges. Young Sam doesn’t speak, and, aside from a possible link between his silence and his autism, no one is quite sure why.
While his tale is loaded with meaning, author Datta Groover’s characters are flawed, and as a result, largely feel very real. They make mistakes, disregard each other’s feelings and become frustrated and emotionally volatile when things aren’t going their way. Their family journey is not just ‘different’ but difficult: everyday in some senses, but with some odd subplots pushing it along. The message, as is typical of the genre, is a little zen in its delivery: DIFFERENT is surprisingly fast paced and easy reading, written in straightforward but evocative prose, and does a good job of delivering its more profound lessons – we won’t spoil them here – through forcing a little self examination in the reader. There are plenty of positive intentions not quite working out; plenty of slightly crossed-wires, the kind of slight miscommunications that might grate in a long-term relationship. Dramas bring those connections to a head.
The family at the heart of the story are recognizable enough to be easy to relate to, but odd and colorful enough in their quirks to be memorable and punchy in the messages carried in their individual, sometimes almost subliminal plotlines. Their message is delivered in part through Sofia’s Journal, Frank’s first-person narrative and the strange world near-silent Sam seems to occupy.
For all its strengths, there are some oddly weak moments DIFFERENT, too. In particular, the narrative between husband and wife is often used as a device to catch the reader up, and it can involve conversations that seem quite stilted and unrealistically unfamiliar for what’s otherwise portrayed as quite a close marriage. It’s noticeable, but only a minor flaw, and serves its purpose.
The tale takes off when Frank’s mother dies in mysterious circumstances, and Sam, with no way of knowing, suddenly becomes inconsolable in his grief. Then, a dark figure glanced after a routine change at Frank’s work start to unravel his past. The odd, almost supernatural connections flow through Groover’s text, but it’s the base of familial reality that makes DIFFERENT a book worth not just exploring, but really considering, too.
A family-themed novel with some dark tinges rippling just below the surface, DIFFERENT explores perspectives, personal bias and understanding, and dabbles lightly in the philosophical concept of an examined life. It’s simply-penned yet subtle, clever in its challenges and angles, and lightly provocative. A sharp, intelligent read.”
I’m smiling and can’t stop… Though I am a bit teary as well, and my nerves are a bit on edge… Loved this tense thriller!
A couple at odds, a family in danger, and a boy who doesn’t speak
Frank McDaniels’ intention to keep his family safe is complicated by relationship challenges with his wife Sofia, and by their young son Sam’s increasingly unusual and unsafe behavior.
No one can figure out why Sam doesn’t speak. He appears to be aware of things he should have no way of knowing. He seems to think he can heal people, and has his own determined agenda to make that happen. All contributing to his parent’s distress.
To make matters worse, people who Frank angered in the past may now be looking for some serious payback.
I laughed, I cried, I panicked . . .
This is one of those books that you find yourself missing every other commitment in life to finish reading. Different features a family strung so tight it is at risk of falling apart, burdened by secrets and lies, a special needs child, and two adolescent daughters. Each character is ‘different,’ molded by their life experiences, realistic. As the book progresses, they become so very well-described it is very easy to get invested in the family difficulties. You want everything to turn out okay for all of them. As the pace increases, you find yourself cheering the characters on, or taking them to task for a bad decision.
The author is extremely good at upping the ante, by revealing the characters’ stories little by little. Sam, the special needs boy, has taken to leaving the house by himself, late at night. No one knows where he goes, but the police aren’t impressed at having to search for him and they eventually have to report the family to Children’s Services. Frank’s job and life is in danger, and Sophia and the daughters are tied up in their own dramas. As the secrets get revealed, it seems the family just won’t be able to survive.
Events spin out of control and the threats increase until all seems to be at the brink of collapse.
There’s a side discussion about reincarnation and the Catholic Church – I found it fascinating, but if you are extremely devout, you might find something to pick at. But I think you should read it anyway. There is a lovely grace about this story of a family trying to do its best, and holding together no matter what happens.
A must read. I’m going to follow the author (online) because the writing and story is good enough. I can’t wait to read the next book!
“Different is an entertaining novel about a family growing closer through understanding and spirituality.
In Datta Groover’s spiritual novel Different, a family grapples with extraordinary truths about reincarnation.
The novel tells the complex story of a family becoming truer versions of themselves by opening their minds and hearts to the miracles around them. Frank and Sofia sincerely love each other and their three children, but their life is far from perfect. Frank is a shameless flirt with a troubling past, Sofia is anxious and plagued with painful memories, and both are concerned for their son, Sam. The young boy was diagnosed with autism, and though he doesn’t speak, he is acutely aware of the inner lives of those around him and has some life-changing secrets of his own.
At the story’s core is a unique view of Catholicism that praises empathy, forgiveness, and acceptance but also embraces ideas like reincarnation and healing as introduced through Sam. Interesting allusions to historical texts within the narrative assert that reincarnation was an early tenet of Christianity. The book illustrates its religious ideas well, and Sofia and Frank’s embrace of these ideas is a moving and satisfying resolution to the novel.
Much about Sofia and Frank’s enigmatic past is hinted at during their couple’s therapy sessions. Through tense dialogue, they struggle to keep up the lies they have told one another. It becomes clear that each is hiding dark secrets—for Sofia, about her father’s brutality and prejudices; for Frank, about how his own dangerous past has followed him. Sofia’s mysteries propel the plot, and flashbacks of her childhood in Barcelona give a specific texture and historical context that is immersive and emotional.
The novel falters in its depiction of Frank as an action hero as he confronts the violent people from his childhood who continue to haunt him. The resolution of Frank’s past and a strange encounter with a person from his childhood is too brief to feel complete.
The narration shifts with skill between Sofia and Frank’s perspectives, sprinkled with diary entries, emails, and texts. Frank’s texts and emails with his boss’s wife build tension as he goes from flirting with her to urging her to stop communicating with him.
In its present, the novel is set in the Pacific Northwest, and the drizzly backdrop helps set a moody tone. But much more of the book’s characterization, conflict, and world building is accomplished through conversations and dialogue, which meld separate story lines together. The storytelling is diverse and propulsive, and both Sophia and Frank’s motivations come through in an organic way. Communication as a whole is what drives the novel, down to body language.
With entertaining historical context and fascinating characters, Different is a tale of a family growing closer through understanding and spirituality.”
“In Different by Datta Groover, Frank and Sofia MacBride’s relationship is hanging on by a thread. Both have unresolved issues from their pasts, which are further complicated by their young son, Sam, who has been diagnosed with autism. When Frank’s past threatens the safety of his family, he moves them to another town, which results in a different set of problems. Frank’s choices now leave him no option but to lead a double life. Meanwhile, Sofia is left to deal with Sam’s increasingly strange behaviour and make peace with the ghosts from her childhood. The MacBride’s relationship is about to be put to the ultimate test as dark secrets are revealed and the truth behind Sam’s condition is discovered, which will astound them all.
“Different by Datta Groover is a perfect example of storytelling. The author has created not only a superb plot but intricate details for each character that brought them to life. I became enmeshed in the complex lives of the MacBride family and wanted to see them survive as a family. The subplots were as engaging as the main plot, with an equal measure of conflict, tension and curve balls. I loved the spiritual aspect of the story and how it tackled life’s big questions about who we are and why we are here. This book is much more than a well-written novel; it will make you ponder your own life mission. The characters and story are so vivid and memorable and will remain with you long after the last page is read. If you love a novel that digs deep into your soul and makes you think about the world and spirituality, then this book has it all. Highly recommended.”
~ Readers’ Favorite (review #2)
“Datta Groover’s Different is an absorbing, inspirational novel that explores marital conflict, secrets, a family at risk, and the special abilities of a borderline autistic child who doesn’t speak.
The MacBrides seem to be a typical Oregon couple with three children. Frank, who works at Lake Oswego Public Works, is known as “the pump whisperer,” for his keen ability to sense problems before they occur. He’s a conscientious family man but has a tendency to flirt, which annoys his wife Sofia. She’s a former school counselor, who now homeschools their smart, yet silent, youngest special-needs son, Sam. To avoid the problems Sofia witnessed in her own parents’ marriage, and to keep their relationship on track, the couple is seeing a therapist.
Unfortunately, things quickly go astray. The family is forced to move due to long-hidden secrets resulting from Frank’s deceased father’s decades-old nefarious dealings with the Italian government and mob affiliates. In addition to this stress, Frank deals with conflict with his new boss; a Fatal Attraction-style affair, and a growing awareness of son Sam’s intuitive gift to help those in need. Sofia’s therapeutic journaling woven throughout adds another layer of texture and insight to the characters.
Overall, the story is driven by action and weighty dialogue that keeps readers engaged. Thought-provoking conversations are sparked when Sofia seeks religious counseling, inquiring whether Sam’s condition might be the work of the devil; the priest views Sam as the opposite of evil and feels God has a wonderful plan for him. Meanwhile, Sofia’s psychic “hippie friend” sees Sam as an old soul with the aura of a healer, and a silent spiritual monk connects with Sam during the family’s vacation in Nepal.
In all, the narrative delivers an emotionally engaging drama. While the book’s final wrap-up may seem a little too convenient, and Sam’s nighttime wanderings to help others seem implausible, readers will appreciate this story—one that that recognizes the power of love, family commitment, and healing. Datta Groover’s Different is an absorbing, inspirational novel that explores marital conflict, secrets, a family at risk, and the special abilities of a borderline autistic child who doesn’t speak.”
“The book follows a struggling family, a mother and father with a strained marriage, and a child with autism who does not speak. Throughout, the problems the family faces are familiar but heart-wrenching. All members of the family experience growth, sometimes at a cost. The problems many modern families face make this story positively magnetic, with realistic characters that evoke compassion and emotion. It’s a journey well worth your time.”
~US Review of Books
Client reviews from Amazon (un-sorted and unedited):
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly entertaining and insightful
I picked this book up every possible moment I could make for it until it was a finished – and I’m usually the type to start books, but not finish. The storyline constantly drew me in, eager to find out where it would take me next. I got insights and perspectives through the events and characters that I’d normally arrive at during an in-person training or experience. Brilliantly written, thoughtful, and thoroughly entertaining.
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun read.
I zoomed right through it. Entertaining. The development of the boy Sam was predictable. However, the events in the lives of his family were not. I really wanted the story to continue. I was sad when I got to the last page. Looking forward to Datta Groovers next book!
5.0 out of 5 stars Different was… well different, excellent and hard to put down!
I enjoyed the reading of this first novel by Datta Groover! It engaged me with the characters immediately and I did not want to put it down. Excellent. Surprising. I highly recommend it and look forward to future books by Datta Groover!
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating and fun read!
I finished Different a couple weeks ago. what a fun ride! twists and turns and a great ending! found myself thinking “oh thats so cool!…aw, bummer that’s the end.”. ❤️🌻 captivating and brilliant read!
5.0 out of 5 stars Book makes a great gift!
I bought this book as a Christmas gift for my mother, who reported that she really liked it. She started the book on a sleepless night and could not put it down until she finished. All the twists and turns kept her turning the pages as well as the unpredictability. Great job! It’s difficult for her to get into books and she really got into Different and is now telling her friends about the book.
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Engaging!
Datta is an incredible story teller, and Different is a great read. The book was so easy to follow and at the same time I never knew where he would take me next. I love it when a book can do that. I can’t wait to read the next one from Datta Groover. I hope it’s soon!
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read!!!
This was a great book that took many different turns than I was expecting. I would recommend this to anyone who needs some different ways of looking at things.
5.0 out of 5 stars A vivid and satisfying read
Initially there were a few things that put me off, but the author kept me on the hook to find out what happens next. There are stories that draw you into a specific crisis or event, and there are stories that deal with existential crises. This is one of the latter, and the reader is drawn into a number of seemingly irresolvable problems almost from the first page. At times details seem to distract from the main focus, but the characters were believable and the resolution almost satisfying. I say “almost” only because I ended the book wanting to find out what happens next. I look forward to Datta’s next book…
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging, Fun, Surprising and Full of Insight
Staying focused on work is easy for me. At least it was before this book came along. I started reading it one evening. The next day at work I found my thoughts drifting to ‘Different’. I couldn’t wait to get back to this book to see what would happen next. That continued pretty much every day until I was able to finish this tale. It was a very satisfying and fun read. It took some twists and turns that surprised and delighted me. I enjoyed the characters, even when I didn’t always like them, or more accurately, I didn’t like how they were acting. The author adeptly wove a tapestry that reveals us to ourselves. He didn’t sugar coat or deny the flaws of his characters, and yet he allowed the reader to still view them with compassion, respect and ultimately with admiration and affection. I am an avid reader and there are only two writers that I anxiously await their next book. Datta Groover is now added to the list. I can’t wait to read his next book. In the meantime, I highly recommend that you read this one.
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly a different kind of book.
I wasn’t into the book when I started it but then I could see the characters development and became much more satisfying. It’s a spiritual book and something makes you take stock and think about life. You never know what God will throw at you.
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Kept my attention. Great flow. Couldn’t stop ’till I was done. Authentic enough counselling scenarios, recognized the references. Great read to expand the consciousness. And maybe even gain some relationship growth.
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely one to add to your collection!
DATTA Groover did an incredible job in writing this story. Knowing him, it is definitely something you would expect from him, however it was also so unexpected in many good ways. A great read with surprises and insights.
5.0 out of 5 stars Page turner that’s deep and thoughtful and inspiring
What really grabs the reader is the character development–realistic and fascinating. There’s deep spiritual stuff in this book: inspiring, satisfying and yet unexpected.