Friday Never Leaving
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Friday Never Leaving is a bleak and unblinking look at life and loss. Seventeen-year-old narrator Friday Brown loses her mother to cancer early in the book and her grief is powerfully conveyed throughout the book. Another main character dies tragically. Runaway teens drink, smoke, and swear ("s--t," "f--k," "f---ing"), and some commit crimes such as theft and prostitution to earn money. Blood is described frequently, and a few violent incidents (beatings, a drowning) are graphically described. Some of the most horrible, though, are seen only by the scars left behind yet are no less horrifying. Sexual relationships are very sophisticated. Teens who haven't yet experienced mature sexual relationships may not fully understand what's going on, but they'll be exposed to some powerful aspects of sexuality and may need some guidance. Despite the dark subject matter, all is not gloom and doom: Vikki Wakefield's writing is lyrical, and there's hope in the choices Friday ultimately makes.
What's the story?
Struggling to cope with her grief after her mother dies, 17-year-old Friday Brown runs away and is taken in by a gang of runaways living on the street. Friday grew up always on the move from one place to another, and can't decide how deeply to let herself into her new friends' lives. Once she's in, it's clear that her relationship with the charismatic and manipulative leader Arden can't lead to any good. But she's also experiencing true friendship for the first time with some of the gang, and that won't be easy to leave behind, if she can get out at all.
Is it any good?
A dark story about a dark time in a young woman's life, FRIDAY NEVER LEAVING is emotionally wrenching. But Vikki Wakefield's mesmerizing, lyrical prose makes it a journey worth taking. She vividly evokes mood from city and outback landscapes alike, and has a Dickensian flair for colorful characters. Friday's natural narrative voice never intrudes, taking the reader on her heartbreaking journey to a place, and a state of mind, she can call home.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about grief. Can you imagine someone making terrible decisions in response to a death? Have you known anyone who started to act differently or take up with a different crowd after a life-changing loss?
What do you think about the level of violence in Friday Never Leaving? Is it essential to the storytelling? How does it add to the realism?
Why are some teens drawn to street gangs? Why would a runaway feel at home in a gang?