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UNFOLDING by Jonathan Friesen follows the life of Jonah, a teenager who lives in the town of Gullary. A mysterious tornado tears through their town, leaving behind a girl named Stormi. Growing up best friends with Stormi, all Jonah wants is to get the girl, but his epileptic seizures and incapacitating physical condition fill his life with frustration. Stormi, on the other hand, lives with the gift of prophecy, sensing things before they happen.

Meanwhile, back when the tornado wiped out the town’s prison, it left behind only one prisoner --- Tres --- an old, solitary, cryptic man who creates a series of unnatural events leading Stormi and Jonah into a dark journey of the town’s secrets. This expedition threatens to tear apart everything Jonah has ever known, including his relationship with Stormi.

"This fast-paced book will have you glued from page one....Friesen’s writing is incredible and smooth; it is a fascinating, interesting novel that will keep you thinking."

The novel begins with beautiful imagery by Friesen. The writing style is incredible and still sharp in my mind, even hours after reading. I loved the main character, Jonah, with his realistic, fierce personality. His physical and emotional struggles create a very sympathetic character that leads a rough life. Stormi, an elusive character, is full of secrets and a past that she has yet to discover. The other characters are carefully designed by Friesen to create a stunning book and captivating, surreptitious tone.

UNFOLDING would do well with a sequel, as the end of the novel isn’t sealed shut and still leaves loose ends, especially for the character of Stormi. I feel that her role in the story is left incomplete. The plot could be a little bit confusing at times and far-fetched, with a dreamlike sensation to the novel as a whole.

The novel was nothing as expected. The synopsis on the cover threw me off the scent of the true story with its mystical storyline and thoroughly developed characters. Throughout the book, I could connect with Jonah: the comfort and love in seeing Stormi, yet at the same time, the frustration knowing he may never win her over. The meaning of the novel is hidden within the lines, subject to change for any particular reader. To me, it was a novel about the meaning of guilt, understanding, justice and the path to creating a meaningful relationship.

I recommend UNFOLDING to anybody with a couple of hours to sit down and indulge in a thought provoking novel that raises questions on the definitions of evil, friendship, culpability and the desire for the greater good. This fast-paced book will have you glued from page one with its striking writing, significance and characters. It definitely is not an easy read and requires a certain level of understanding. It has the potential to be a mind-opening, thrilling read for anyone with the compulsion to learn. Friesen’s writing is incredible and smooth; it is a fascinating, interesting novel that will keep you thinking.

Reviewed by Jeremy H., Teen Board Member on January 4, 2017

by Jonathan Friesen

  • Publication Date: January 31, 2017
  • Genres: Fiction, Young Adult 14+
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Blink
  • ISBN-10: 031074833X
  • ISBN-13: 9780310748335