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MAYDAY by Jonathan Friesen


by Jonathan Friesen

Pub Date: April 10th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-14-241229-9
Publisher: Penguin

Even as her own soul hovers in the “middle” space, her body barely clinging to life in a hospital room, 18-year-old Crow’s thoughts are consumed with protecting her sister.

When given the chance to go on a “walkabout”—an opportunity to revisit her life and make things right—Crow learns that there may have been another side to the people and events that defined her. The only catch is that she must return as someone other than herself. It’s an interesting-enough premise, and the first half of the book will likely live up to readers’ expectations. A skillfully crafted and strikingly bleak Minnesota is the perfect backdrop for Crow’s desperate attempts to save her sister from their stepfather’s lascivious eye. Their mother’s unwillingness to acknowledge this potential threat is both maddening and chillingly believable. Unfortunately, the second half of the novel falls disappointingly short. Here, Crow’s gender-bending return to her past as a young man muddies the waters and distracts from the plot, as does a disturbing side story about Crow’s relationship with her friend Basil. Frequent references to Crow’s passion for philosophy are not followed through in the text, and Crow’s obsession with protecting her sister never allows adequate room for Crow to truly discover herself.

An uneven read that ultimately misses its mark.

(Fantasy. 14-17)