MAYDAY for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this new novel except the main character sounded like a w204boy I would like to know more about. So when I received an advanced copy (Thanks Karen!), I sat down and began to read. The story made me laugh, made me tear up, and made me think how much harder it is growing up when the world won’t cooperate.

I closed the book for the last time while sitting on my front porch and sighed. Wayne Kovok was running off and our short time together was over. I looked up at the gray-blue skies and a plane flew overhead, making an approach to a nearby regional airport. 14A landed safely.

True Story.

Wayne has his own story to tell along with his love of facts. It’s necessary so he can process an awful turn of events in his life. Sad yes, but also hopeful that finding your voice, even when you don’t have one, is something we all hopefully discover. It’s the nasty bumps in the road that we have to learn to jump over and that can take some time.

MAYDAY is a distress signal for a boy’s future. I’m glad I spent the time finding out where Wayne is headed.


FULL PLOT (From Karen Harrington’s Website) Seventh-grade Wayne Kovok lives in the world of AFTER. After his uncle was killed overseas while serving in the army. After Wayne and his mom survived a plane crash while coming back from the funeral. And after he lost his ability to speak. Now, how will he stand up to his super patriotic grandfather? And how will he speak the truth of his disappointments and dreams to his deadbeat dad?

It’s not until he loses his voice that Wayne realizes how much he doesn’t say out loud.


  1. Wayne meets another boy, Denny, in the waiting room of a doctor who treats patients with voice problems. For Wayne he can’t speak and for Denny, he’s a stutterer whose  stuttering disappears when he sings. A heartfelt friendship develops between these two.
  2. You want nothing but the best for Wayne. He has a deadbeat father, the girl of his dreams would like to dump him, and his grandpa doesn’t understand his own grandson. Too many negatives for Wayne and you may find yourself mumbling unkind things to these other characters.
  3. Wayne’s quest to find his Uncle’s flag that disappeared in the crash is a believable journey. It’s a long process that helps him grow and understand.
  4. Humor strikes not only from his new friend, Denny, but also from his Mom’s new boyfriend. He’s a lawyer and his commercials appear on the local TV station. Wayne also has a few perceptive zingers to throw out along the way that had me smiling.
  5. DATA: This is my 50th MG book I’ve read this year and one of my favorites. Wayne has plenty of additional DATA to toss out to readers. You just might become hooked like I did.


“Rise and shine and pee. It’s the best part of waking up, honey,” someone said. “It means you’re alive. I’m Nurse Davis. You’re in the hospital. You’ve been in an accident. Your mother is okay. She will be here shortly. You should not try to speak. Your neck suffered a severe blow. Nod your head if you understand.”

I nodded. It was the moment I realized that I would have to learn a new language in the country of AFTER.

I generally like to write 500-1000 words per day. I find that is a comfortable pace for me. Often, I begin a story writing in a notebook. I like to write journal entries from a character’s point of view to learn the sound of his or her voice. I take breaks in my writing day to go for walks. If I’m procrastinating, I sometimes find the need to reorganize my spice cabinet. Sometimes, having a deadline makes a person want to clean out her closets before she can get writing done. Why this is so is a mystery!


Make a comment if you have time. I enjoy reading all of them. Click on the comments link below.

Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.


About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
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20 Responses to MAYDAY for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

  1. Awesome you’re up to 50 MG books this year. I hadn’t heard of this one, but it sounds really like a heart puller. Thanks for reviewing it.

  2. Violet Tiger says:

    Sounds really good. Thanks for the review!

  3. Sheri Larsen says:

    I love the way you’ve expressed your experience while reading this book. I’m sold!

  4. I think I enjoy your comments about how you felt after you read MAYDAY, as much as your review. What a thrilling summer read for teens. Another great book for boys. Congratulations for reading 50 MG books so far. That’s impressive.

    • Girls would like this one, too. Wayne’s supposed girl friend tries to be nice after the crash, but Wayne has changed mentally and physically. There are some good scenes between the two. Thanks as always for your time.

  5. This sounds like a very powerful story. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Yes, it does sound like a powerful story. Thanks for letting us know.

  7. cleemckenzie says:

    Now there’s a kid who has a lot going against him and he’s only seven! Loved the excerpt and the nurses voice is spot on.

  8. Greg, I’m so touched by your wonderful review. The thing a writer wants most is for readers to feel something for the characters. Thank you for making this a full-circle experience for this writer!!

  9. I was lucky enough to get a copy of this a few months ago. I LOVED it. I have loved Karen’s other books, but I think I love this one even more. Glad to see the word being passed along.

    • So glad you liked it, too. I’m hoping the young reader I gave my copy to will report back positively. Sometimes MG books appeal more to adults than kids. Hope you are doing well. Take care.

  10. warrchick says:

    This is a new one to me, too, but it’s already pulling at my heartstrings! Thanks for the recommendation, and congrats on being up to 50 middlegrades already! Pretty sure you’re smoking me! lol

  11. Dorine White says:

    Wow, love how it says he lives in the world of After.

  12. Andrea says:

    This sounds like a book I will enjoy! Thanks for letting me know about it.

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