Her hands lay inert and upturned on her lap – probably stunned, she thinks, by the hideousness of the skirt underneath them. Centre seam puckered, zipper mangled, it's handmade in a way that makes people say, 'Did you sew that yourself?' when they mean, 'How can you wear that thing?' But she made it the day after he died, and she talked to him in her head the whole time. Which is why it looks like hell and why she had to wear it anyway.
Biology is not Dree's thing. Equally heinous are English, Social Studies, her sister and mother, not to mention Edmonton in general. Toronto is where she belongs – specifically the upcoming Renegade Craft Fair.
Mercifully, escape is imminent: on her fifteenth birthday, she will get the special fund her father promised, and the day after that, she'll be on WestJet Flight 233 to Toronto. Instead, her dad has a fatal heart attack, and all she finds are clues leading to the ominous Alberta Psychiatric Hospital where her parents once worked.
Along the way: two fires, a family scandal, nineteen sassy sock creatures named Marcel, a new friend, a mystery, a stepmother who's maybe sympathetic after all, the unceasing misery of school and the search for a proper way to grieve a father.
Instructions for renegade crafts and associated illustrations included.
‘Every now and then, a novel that is as solid as steel lands in readers' hands. A novel that needs the right proportion of its own hardening agents to deliver on the page. The Mitochondrial Curiosities of Marcels 1-19 is such a book … Brown's prose is astonishing.’
‘In this debut … Jocelyn Brown transcends … genre with a novel of depth and texture, rich with incident and very contemporary dialogue. She takes her readers deep into the complicated psyche of her narrator and heroine (yes, that's the right word), which is, as it turns out, exactly where her readers will want to be, richocheting from one OMG to another.’
– Globe and Mail
'This novel is about as strangely and intricately knotted as one of Dree's craft creations, and as hilariously fascinating.'
–Quill and Quire
‘Brown’s complex characters, unusual narrative style and fabulously quirky dialogue make this a fun book with layer after layer to uncover.’
– Geist Magazine
About the author
Jocelyn Brown is the author of One Good Outfit and several short stories, including ‘Miss Canada,’ which won the Journey Prize. Formerly a costume maker and crafts instructor, she occasionally hosts free diy workshops in Edmonton, where she works at the Alberta Cancer Board and teaches creative writing at Concordia College.