Unfolding – Jonathan Friesen (Review)

Title: Unfoldimg
Author: Jonathan Friesen 
Publisher: Blink, 2017 (January 31)
Genre: YA Paranormal

**I received a copy of the ARC free from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review**

This review can be found on my BlogTeacherofYA’s Tumblr, or my Goodreads page

My Review:

Biggest cover image I could find…I usually like my covers a little bigger, but I guess it will have to do…

So I read this a bit back and haven’t reviewed it (bad, Stephanie! No candy 🍭 for you!), so I decided I really need to put it up before I forget how the book made me feel and all that.

First, let me tell you about this book, which I had wished for on Netgalley and I remember telling y’all that my wish came true! So I was excited to read this…excited but confused about the genre. Sounded pretty paranormal but also a bit contemporary, so I guess the best way to explain is that it’s a little bit of both? 

We read from Jonah’s POV, a teenager with bad scoliosis and seizures. His perspective is great: a little cynical, a little lovesick. Mainly over the child that almost was his sister, but instead became the girl-next-door.

When Jonah was a boy, a large tornado came and deposited a baby girl in between two neighbors’ property. Though Jonah’s mother fights for the child, she loses. Apparently the baby was more on the Pickerings’ lawn. That’s just how the small town of Gullary, Oklahoma works.

Stormi grows up next door to Jonah, and they are best friends…though Jonah secretly (or not so secretly) loves her. He takes care of the old abandoned Supermax prison that was rebuilt after the tornado destroyed it…and all the prisoners escaped. Except one. But that’s a town secret. And Jonah takes care of the old con.

As they grow up, Stormi shows signs of a gift: she always seems to know what’s about to happen. Many of the townsfolk are creeped out by her, though still admit she’s a stunner. Her strange arrival and her weird premonitions…and the times she zones out and stares off into space…but Jonah sees past it all. He loves Stormi anyway.

When a seizure takes Jonah out at an inopportune time, the prisoner he is expected to watch escapes. Jonah doesn’t seem too worried; the man is too old to really be a threat, isn’t he? 

But it is strange how he and Stormi, though they never met, share the same strange premonition that Gullary is doomed. And Stormi wants to “get outta Dodge,” so to speak. So Jonah and Stormi try to put together the pieces of a decades long town conspiracy…all while the town is looking for Stormi…they always knew she would be no good.

Can Jonah take care and save the girl he loves when he’s so broken, inside and out? And could a special girl like Stormi really care about a twisted boy with seizures? 

Is It Classroom-Appropriate?

Yes. I think it’s got just enough of a paranormal aspect to appeal to the science fictiony fans but more of a contemporary mystery that appeals to many. The small town vibe can be discussed as an interesting microcosm of a high school…and the medical problems Jonah faces help the reader identify with feelings of hopelessness and low self-worth. I like that the book is an easy read, though many who read this will be beating their head against a wall the whole story, trying to figure out what’s going on. It will definitely keep readers interested. 

Age Range:

Lexile doesn’t score smaller titles, so this is where I try to do the best I can. Luckily, there’s no swearing and nothing torrid or inappropriate. There is a cult-like vibe throughout the story, but that’s not enough for me to feel it’s inappropriate for readers. To be safe more for comprehension of the plot, I would recommend 13 and up. I do also suggest a more seasoned reader picks this up, as the plot tends to weave around a bit and get a little confusing for awhile. Definitely a patient reader needed here!

End Result:

I did like the book. Would I read it again? No. Would I read a sequel? Yes. It ends kind of on a cliffhanger, but more of an open-ended one that doesn’t need a follow-up. If you remember The Giver, I would compare the ending to that. It can be interpreted as what is implied. And I’m thinking this is a standalone, so when reading, be prepared to have something linger.

Though I did enjoy the writing and I liked the concept, it wasn’t a be-all-end-all for me. I would give Unfolding three solid stars: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†. So my personalized rating:

I do not think this is bad…but I just wasn’t over the moon. So it’s not a bad rating. It’s just a medium rating.

Whatcha guys reading? Anything good?


39 thoughts on “Unfolding – Jonathan Friesen (Review)

  1. Great review for this book Stephanie, and I suppose three stars is still a solid review but it sounds like you expected more from this book. I’ll admit the concept sounds amazing but I dunno if this would be a book I pick up you know? I can’t say I’m a patient reader so this may not be the best book for me. πŸ™‚
    Is there a sequel in the works then? Or is this supposed to be a standalone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m really thinking it’s meant to be a standalone…which is a shame. I would pass on this with all we have to read! It wasn’t boring and I did tear 😒 up at the end…but it just wasn’t a wow, you know?
      I don’t want to be harsh, but I feel if I gave it four stars it would encourage ppl to seek it out, and this one is just a “well, I enjoyed it. It wasn’t bad…meh” kind of read. I’m sure you know about those! We all do, lol! πŸ˜‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, that is a shame because you mentioned in your review it ended on a kind of cliffhanger right? And yeah a lot on my TBR list so I’ll give this one a miss.
        I know what you mean, I have a few books like that that I’ve read, they’re good but I can’t really say I’d have recommended them to people because they didn’t blow me away or anything. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Exactly! That’s what the book was…I guess it wasn’t really a cliffhanger, but do you remember the end of The Giver? How it kinda implied that Jonah was ok, but it was open? Yes, she finished the series 10 years later, but for 10 whole years that was it! That’s how this book is…it “could” continue, but it could suffice where he left it. With those kind of books, I prefer a sequel!

      Liked by 1 person

    3. You nailed it. Exactly what I was thinking.
      I know some authors like to do that…but I like a “The End” to my stories…or at least an ending I can deal with and know what pretty much happened.
      Like, with Kiss of Deception…oh, wait. I can’t compare that: you haven’t read it yet! But let’s just say the series ended, but it did have an open type ending, which always made me think there would be more. Well, Pearson announced a new book set in the same story world…so I know now that some answers will come and either it’s what I thought all along or she’s going to change it up.
      Man, I’m so glad Lowry finished The Giver series. That ending drove me crazy: I thought Jonah died! I met her when the book came out and I was in elementary school (yes, I’m old) and I asked her what the ending meant, and she said, “what do you think it means?” And I started to answer, and she said, “I left it open so everyone can have their own interpretation.” That made me crazy. I still loved it, but I assumed he died. Then she waited 10 years and continued the story.
      I hate getting it wrong. πŸ˜‘

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I like an ending to my stories as well, a little bit of an open ending is all right I guess but not enough that you need a sequel to tie everything off with the characters.
        Sequels set in the same world are a nice way to carry on the series without carrying on the series you know, and hopefully the Kiss of Deception books will have the ending you want (don’t worry the series is on my to-read list for March, I will definitely get around to it then)
        I know what you mean, it’s sometimes nice being able to imagine your own ending for characters but at the same time you need the author to confirm don’t you? I have a few books like that and it kind of drives me a little insane sometimes imagining what could happen next. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

    4. I’m so glad you get it. I kinda knew you would though! I hope you like the Kiss of Deception series…I have an extra HC I found at the library’s used bookstore for $1, and I totally want to send it to you right now!! I wish shipping out of the country wasn’t so expensive!!

      Liked by 1 person

    5. It is!! I sent that SFATW Package and that was $50…then Sammi’s box of two HC and three PB books was $60! Insane!
      I wish it was cheaper bc I know if I win a book from the U.K. I’m going to have to pay someone shipping to send it to me.
      A girl on Twitter wants to trade a book with me but it’s $15 to send it vs $3.61 here. She offered to pay shipping and I’ll prob take her up on it bc I just can’t afford to spend that kind of money unless it is a special occasion bc then my mom helps! 😳
      (I really want to work for my own good money but with going to Florida, I can’t really get a reg job right now!)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jesus that is so much money. I know it would be a lot to ship my SFATW package but in the end it only came to Β£20, which I think is still a little cheaper than what it cost you when you take the UK pound Vs. US dollar conversions into account.
        Hey if she’s offering to pay for shipping then go for it. What books will you be trading, is it a good deal?
        Hopefully soon you’ll be able to find something, are you looking for a job at the moment then?

        Liked by 1 person

    6. Unfortunately I had to stop working bc of the move to Florida! I have to be here to show the house while my mom goes down and trains. There are some benefits to going to Florida: more book events, more friends from Twitter to see IRL, more to do (i.e. Universal Studios and Disneyworld), but there are also drawbacks (the heat and humidity, the crime, the bugs!!). I hate to leave here but I have no choice: I go where I have a place to live.
      The trade isn’t good but I know she really wants it: I have an extra copy of Caraval ARC from a giveaway and she saw and was looking for it…but I don’t think I’m going to do it bc I know I offered it to Sammi first. I just have a hard time saying no to ppl. She wants it SO BAD that I feel guilty. But I guess that’s how it goes.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh that’s a shame, but at the same time I guess if the benefits outweigh the drawbacks then it may be a good move. Also I really want to go to Universal Studios one day because they have the Harry Potter world there don’t they?
        I suppose if you offered it to someone else first then hopefully she’ll understand. If you offered it to her first she’d be pretty annoyed if you turned around and gave it to someone else right?

        Liked by 1 person

    7. Good point about all of it! I’m excited to be near Universal and Disney, and I know that Fierce Reads Spring Tour is going to be in Coral Gables, Fl, in a couple months, so I’m all about going to that!
      You’re right: she can’t get mad if I offered it to someone else. It’s not my fault that the person I offered it to wants it as bad as she does. I am just always worried about offending ppl and I have to get over that as all it does it cause frustration.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sounds like there’s a lot of positive to the move, especially if those positives include Universal Studios and Book Tours, I’m almost jealous of you right now. πŸ™‚
        She shouldn’t get mad, Caraval is a really highly anticipated book so loads of people are going to be desperate for ARCs. Unfortunately you offered it to someone else first so she’ll have to understand that. But still I know what you mean because I always worry about the same thing but it’ll be fine Stephanie. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Paranormal is so touch and go with me. I just never know. I love the really dark stuff and went through a vampire phase thanks to Anne Rice haha, but have not read the genre in a very long time. This does not sound like my cup o’ tea, but I enjoyed your review. Maybe more for my daughter πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, that movie was intense when I saw it in the theaters…do you remember? “Cow….another cow….”
      With this book, if I’m not vague I give the plot away: that’s how strange it is! You don’t know what’s going on until near the very end!


      1. Christy Luis

        You saw it in theaters!? That must have been terrifyingly awesome haha.

        I clicked through to the Goodreads synopsis too and thought, “But what’s it about??????” Haha. Well, I guess I would have to read it to find out more, but I think I’ll end up skipping this one since it was only a three-star for you. I trust you to let me know when there’s a great new YA on the scene πŸ˜€

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Always!! Thanks bc that means a lot!
      (Honestly I don’t even remember wishing for it on NG, but I must have…I think the description on GR is incredibly vague too! I was trying to figure out how much to disclose and most times I use GR as a guide…they said nothing in the blurb!!)
      The MC Jonah was funny and endearing…but I know what kind of books you like, and this was more of a mystery novel. I think this is one you could comfortably skip. It was cute. That’s it: it was cute. That’s the best way I can describe it. πŸ€”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Christy Luis

        Thank you for the advice! Yeah, I think you’re right. I’m suuuper picky with mysteries because I don’t read a lot of them. Mostly period mysteries like Dorothy Sayers or classics like Agatha Christie. I don’t even think I’ve read a modern mystery before, haha. Do you like mysteries??

        Liked by 1 person

    3. That’s the thing: I don’t! I didn’t like having to try to speculate and then being wrong! And this didn’t have enough paranormal elements for me.
      I just kept waiting for something really “paranormal” to happen. It never did. We have similar tastes and I just don’t think this one would do it for you. And I know I’m not a mystery person AT ALL.
      Maybe a movie would catch my attention; this could have been executed well as a movie!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A tornado came and deposit the baby girl? I had to read that part twice! wow.. too unbelievable.. this book shouldn’t make you wish to read it.. It sounds too farfetched.. I usually thought books that requires wish would be great books only! I hardly ever gotten my wish granted so congrats for getting your wish come true! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, the thing is I don’t remember wishing for it! πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£
      I did wish for another title of theirs, Towards a Secret Sky, and received that…then I got the email for this and was like, “I wished for this? Ok…?” πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ
      I guess it was worth a try!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. hahah.. I guess publishers do makes mistake.. I recently received an email about me reading a book by one author and since she’s coming out with another book do I want a copy. I’m looking back on NetGalley but don’t see it so I thought they must have made a mistake. Still, I’m not going to pass up a physical ARC you know, so I say, sure, send it my way! hahaha.. It’s worth a try, yes, I thought the same! πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Agreed! Have them send em over!! πŸ˜‰
      I said what the hell and gave it a read. It wasn’t bad. It wasn’t wonderful. It was meh. But it did keep me reading. I just like a little more paranormal and it wasn’t enough for me, you know?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This sounds like an immensely bizarre story, which isn’t at all bad. I’m super intrigued by it, but I don’t think I’d be satisfied after finishing it, if that makes sense? Seems to have a lot of stuff going on and it takes a really skilled author to handle it. Which doesn’t seem to be the case.
    I really enjoyed reading your review, though, and I’m glad to know this one exists at least πŸ™‚ Might pick it up when I’m in the mood for weird stories hahaha

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely a weird one here. It wasn’t bad…I couldn’t put it down. But it was just not really science fiction or paranormal or anything. It was more mystery and I’m sure you have realized by now that I don’t really do the mystery thing. The characters were well-developed but the story fell a bit flat. Maybe if there had been more?
      So yes…this isn’t one I would rush into. Or read. Or buy. Maybe if you got REALLY bored. πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚
      But I did like the MC and he made me laugh a lot so there’s that!


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