Break in Case of Emergency, my new novel, will be published in Canada by HarperCollins in September and in the U.S. by Inkyard Press in February, 2020.

The book marks a bit of a departure for me as it’s my Young Adult debut. I suppose my first novel, Fruit, is sort of YA in that it centres around 13-year-old Peter Paddington, but, unlike this book, I didn’t write Fruit specifically for younger audiences.

Break in Case of Emergency tells the story of 15-year-old Toby Goodman. Life has been a struggle for Toby. Her mother died by suicide five years ago and her father abandoned her mother before Toby was born. When the book opens, Toby is living on a dairy farm with her grandparents and, unable to find any light in her world, she’s making plans to follow a similar route as her mother.

Those plans are suddenly interrupted when she’s told that her estranged father is returning home. And that he’s gay. And that he’s also a world-renowned female impersonator. 

I’m excited to share this book with younger readers and, hopefully, a few older ones as well.

Some kind words…

“An unflinching story of a young woman wrestling with life-or-death questions about her own worth and purpose in the world. Francis is not afraid of the dark, but he also knows when to shine a hopeful, healing light. Beautiful, brave, and blisteringly smart, this novel will linger with me for a long time.” (Sarah Henstra, Governor General’s Award-winning author of The Red Word and We Contain Multitudes)

“Populated with believable, lovable and flawed characters, this is a beautiful story about acceptance and learning to love people for who they are—foibles, false eyelashes and all.” (Susin Nielsen, author of We Are All Made of Molecules and The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen)

“With classic Francis wit and emotion, Break In Case of Emergency reveals the intergenerational impact of exclusion and the path to self-acceptance. A guide for any teenager bearing the burden of loss and loneliness.” (Vivek Shraya, author of I’m Afraid of Men and The Boy & the Bindi)

“Raw and touching, painful and hilarious, Break in Case of Emergency is a beautifully written coming of age story that reminds us that hope ultimately springs from forgiveness—of the people who’ve let us down, and more importantly, ourselves.” (Tom Ryan, author of Keep This To Yourself and Way To Go)

“I couldn’t put this book down—and these characters stayed with me long after I read the last page. A story about family, friendship, courage, and resilience, this book is both heartbreaking and hopeful. It is also, occasionally, very very funny.” (Robin Stevenson, Stonewall Honor-winning author of Pride)

“A fabulous book, and highly recommended to those looking for a meaningful read with a dash of lipstick, high heels, and heart.” (Star Spider, author of Past Tense