I reviewed Mayday (Little, Brown for Young Readers) by Karen Harrington for Lone Star Literary Life! This middle grade fiction ranks right up there with the classics by Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume. From the review:
Twelve-year-old Wayne Kovok is an anxious seventh-grader who uses facts (Did you know that chickens can run up to nine miles an hour?) to protect himself from awkward silences and uncomfortable emotions. “A fact is like a shield,” Wayne says, “You can hide behind it. Then you can make a run for it if you need to. Or make someone laugh so that they aren’t laughing at you. Or distract your mom if she is sad.” Wayne’s life is pretty normal—Spanish homework and does Sandy Showalter really like me?—until his Uncle Reed is killed in action in Iraq.Please click here to read the entire review.
As Wayne and his mother are flying home from Arlington National Cemetery with Uncle Reed’s burial flag (“There was a waiting list for the honored dead,” Wayne observes. “That might be one of the saddest facts I’d ever heard.”), an unseasonal storm forces their plane into an emergency landing. Author Karen Harrington’s imagery is vivid as the plane begins to fall. Wayne’s mother has been cradling Uncle Reed’s burial flag when a hole is ripped in the side of the plane and the flag “unfurled and sailed up into the fuselage like a patriotic kite.” Wayne and his mother survive but many passengers do not. Wayne leaves the hospital with one eyebrow, a large “L”-shaped (“the sign of a loser”) wound stitched together across his face, and a throat injury. The boy who uses his voice to protect, distract, and fill, now has none.