Set in a small town in the 1990s, this is the story of a girl on the edge—of a breakdown, of family secrets, of learning who she really is.
Life has been a struggle for Toby Goodman. Her mother died by suicide five years ago, and her father left before Toby was born. Now a teenager living on her grandparents’ dairy farm, Toby has trouble letting people in. Convinced that she is destined to follow her mother’s path, she creates a plan to escape her pain.
But with the news that her father is coming home and finally wants to meet her, Toby learns the truth of her parents’ story. Her father is gay and a world-famous female impersonator—in a time when these facts are a source of small-town whispers and secrets, and not something anyone had dared talk with her about before.
As her careful plans go awry, Toby must rebuild her life from the ground up. While she might not follow an expected path, with the support of a quirky but lovable circle of friends and family, Toby will finally put together the many different pieces that make up her past, her present and her future.
"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
"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
"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
"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
"The novel's optimistic heartbeat invites the reader to consider what is family, and it does so with words and passion that can change our world. It. Is. Magic!"-Anthony De Sa, author of Children of the Moon and Barnacle Love