by Jonathan Friesen
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Blink (January 31, 2017)
Jonah wishes he could get the girl, but he’s an outcast and she’s the most perfect girl he knows.
And their futures seemed destined to fork apart: Jonah’s physical condition is debilitating, and epileptic seizures fill his life with frustration. Whereas Stormi is seemingly carefree, and navigates life by sensing things before they happen. And her most recent premonition is urging her to leave town.
When Stormi begs Jonah for help, he finds himself swept into a dark mystery his small town has been keeping for years. And the answers Stormi needs about her own past could possibly destroy everything Jonah has ever known—including his growing relationship with Stormi herself.
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The first thing that really grabbed my attention with Unfolding was the cover. Those green eyes just reach into your soul and beg you to read this story. The second thing that garnered my attention was the brief blurb on the cover - "What she foresees could tear them apart". Kind of spooky in my opinion and I had a feeling that this book and me would soon develop a great relationship. Well, did Unfolding meet my expectations? Yes and no.
The story hooked me right from the beginning, but the pacing was slow to me and at times felt drawn out. I liked most of the characters, especially Jonah, Stormi and Arthur. The reader will instantly develop feelings for Jonah as he suffers from scoliosis and epileptic seizures. He is madly in love with Stormi who literally dropped from the sky early on in her life. She has this knack for knowing when something bad is coming and that scares the residents of the small Oklahoma town. And then we have Arthur. Bless his heart. He is super smart, but too honest for his own good. When Stormi saves a bus load of teenagers from certain death is when secrets start to unravel and the truth is known and with this, the plot thickens and makes Unfolding an interesting and unique read.
Unfolding by Jonathan Friesen is one of those books that spans different genres - the reader gets a little bit of mystery, some paranormal aspects with a small amount of religious undertones mixed in. This book is marketed toward the younger crowd and I would have to say that this is the perfect fit for this book. The writing is simplistic in nature and the pacing was just right for younger adult readers. This is a clean read with just enough intrigue that kept my interest throughout even though the plot was slower than I would have liked. Mr. Friesen is a great storyteller and his talent shines in this well-written book. I would definitely recommend this book to young adults who love good, clean fiction.
PRAISE for UNFOLDINGJonah wishes he could get the girl, but he's an outcast and she's the most perfect girl he knows. And their futures seemed destined to fork apart: Jonah's physical condition is debilitating, and epileptic seizures fill his life with frustration. Whereas Stormi is seemingly carefree, and navigates life by sensing things before they happen. And her most recent premonition is urging her to leave town. When Stormi begs Jonah for help, he finds himself swept into a dark mystery his small town has been keeping for years. And the answers Stormi needs about her own past could possibly destroy everything Jonah has ever known -- including his growing relationship with Stormi herself. 'Unfolding' by author Jonathan Friesen is a consistently compelling novel from beginning to end and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to highschool and community library YA Fiction collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that 'Unfolding' is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99). -- Midwest Book Review
An awkward 18-year-old and his enigmatic crush discover that their town hides a terrible secret. Gullary, Oklahoma, a former mining town that is now dominated by a maximum security prison and ruled by a group of vigilantes called the Circle, has always been prone to violent storms. White narrator Jonah, afflicted with scoliosis and epilepsy (aka "Old Rickety"), is more preoccupied with Stormi, a "free and wild" spirit with a healing touch and psychic powers, than storms. Wandering in and out of occasionally florid flashbacks peppered with fake Latin, self-deprecating humor, and self-pity, Jonah recounts the awkward evolution of his friendship with Stormi and his misadventures with Old Rickety and his twisted spine. When Stormi predicts a tragic accident and comes under the Circle's suspicion, she and Jonah flee Gullary, learning its dark secret along the way. Someoneor somethingwants justice, and they're its instruments. Several plot points pass in a whirlwind of explanations, losing some emotional impact. Tired tropes, such as epilepsy as a harbinger of evil spirits, abound. However, when the dust settles, some strong character development remains. The biblical, ominous atmosphere of Gullary provides a vivid backdrop for Jonah's and Stormi's feelings of longing and alienation, which are further explored through occasionally poignant banter and conflicted family relationships. The almost-romance is engaging. A flawed but darkly atmospheric read. (Fiction. 13-18) -- Kirkus Reviews
Jonathan Friesen is an author, speaker, and youth writing coach from Mora, Minnesota. His first young adult novel, Jerk, California, received the ALA Schneider Award. When he’s not writing, speaking at schools, or teaching, Jonathan loves to travel and hang out with his wife and three kids.