Title: Break in Case of Emergency
Author: Brian Francis
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication Date: February 4th
Dads can be such a drag
Life has been a struggle for Toby Goodman. Her mother died by suicide five years ago, and her father left their small town before Toby was born. Now a teenager living on her grandparents’ dairy farm, Toby has trouble letting people in. She keeps even her closest friend, the brash but endearing Trisha, at arms’ length, and recently ended her first relationship, with Trisha’s burnout brother, Mike. Convinced that she is destined to follow her mother’s path, Toby creates a plan to escape her pain.
But with the news that her father is coming home and finally wants to meet her, Toby must face the truth of her family’s story. Not only is her father gay, but he’s also a world-famous female impersonator—and a self-absorbed, temperamental man-child who is ill-prepared to be a real parent.
When Toby’s careful plans go awry, she is forced to rebuild the life she thought she knew from the ground up. While she may not follow an expected path, through the support of a quirky but lovable circle of friends and family, Toby may finally put together the many different pieces that make up her past, her present, and her future.
Suicide, depression, mental illness, parental abandonment
Despite it being a unique and interesting story idea, this was pretty average to me. This was another instances where an author tries to put too many plot lines into one story. The depression and suicide talk really had nothing to do with her long lost gay dad. Even after her father comes into her life, she still goes through with her plan—his presence doesn’t stop her. I also think it all was wrapped up pretty quickly, especially for the severity of the situation.
I truly think that if the two storylines were separate stories, then they would be really strong. The writing was impactful, even funny at times and could have been developed more. I would have liked to learn more about the mother’s mental illness. It was kept kind of vague, but that could have also been because of the time period—late 80’s/ early 90’s. However, if it was its own story, you could put it during any time period and nothing would have been affected. Isn’t strange to technically call something set in the early 90’s as historical fiction? I feel old!
If the plot about her dad was done as its own book, it would be a great unique story that especially reflected the time period. Those scenes were definitely humorous but still held a lot of emotion and dramatic moments—a great pitch for a dramedy.
ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.