cover image Mayday


Karen Harrington. Little, Brown, $16.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-316-29801-8

Harrington (Sure Signs of Crazy) again focuses on the young survivor of a horrific situation, crafting a compelling exploration of life after a disaster. The death of Wayne Kovok’s uncle, a soldier fighting overseas, feels like enough tragedy for the 12-year-old (previously seen in Courage for Beginners), but after he and his divorced mother survive a plane crash returning from the funeral, new challenges join his grief: the temporary loss of his voice and left eyebrow, replaced by facial bruises, stitches, and a large scar, as well as coping with his dictatorial grandfather, now living with Wayne and his mother. A self-described nerd, Wayne is obsessed with sharing random facts; his voicelessness forces him to rethink his identity and his relationships. Harrington deftly depicts the delicate dance of family and friends trying to handle the aftermath of near tragedy, their efforts further complicated once Wayne uncovers an important secret his grandfather is keeping. Wayne is an appealing protagonist with a strong voice who develops believably over the difficult months, as do the other characters. A well-done book on all levels. Ages 8–12. [em]Agent: Julia Kenny, Dunow, Carlson & Lerner. (May) [/em]