Unfolding, by Jonathan Friesen

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Jonathan Friesen is a former teacher’s pet who wrote his first novel while his students were working. Unfolding is his newest novel.

Jonah has a tough life in tiny Gullary, Oklahoma. He has a debilitating physical condition and epilepsy, which keeps him on the outside of many things. His parents are distant. He’s in love with his next-door neighbor, the troubled Stormi, deposited here as an infant when a tornado touched down. The same tornado that destroyed the Supermax prison where Jonah now works—the only employee—as an occasional tour guide and the caretaker for the prison’s solitary inmate, the mysterious Tres.

Stormi is carefree and vibrant, everything Jonah wishes he could be. She’s also different, a difference the town notices when she senses things before they happen, averting tragedy—or not. When Stormi senses she should leave town to find safety, Jonah is drawn in her wake as they struggle to find out the truth behind what happened in Gullary so long ago, and left the town scarred and harboring a darkness Jonah can only imagine.

This book. I couldn’t put it down. Seriously. I would have finished it in one sitting except I’m not independently wealthy and had to go to work. From the opening sentence to the final line, I was completely spellbound. Jonah is a fantastic character:  he’s physically struggling, but emotionally strong, and this story is so firmly in his viewpoint I felt like I was experiencing every stumble and seizure. Stormi is full of life and mystery, and their interactions leap off the page. You should definitely read this!

(Galley provided by Blink via NetGalley.)

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