Review: Unfolding by Jonathan Friesen

Unfolding by Jonathan Friesen

Jonathan Friesen
Published January 31, 2017

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About Unfolding

Jonah’s been in love with Stormi pretty much since the day the twister plucked her up from her home and set her down unhurt in his neighbor’s yard. Mysterious, beautiful, and a gifted mechanic, Stormi often senses things before they come to pass. When one of her premonitions results in a girl’s death, the town rallies against her. Jonah follows her, determined to clear Stormi’s name. In the process, he uncovers a dark secret the town has kept for most of his life.

My Review

Friesen has this ability in his writing to craft guys you can’t help but root for. His heroes have all the odds stacked against them, huge obstacles to overcome and of course hope for impossible love with the most beautiful girl. Which pretty much means I love his novels. Unfolding was no different. It’s a quick read, too—I think I tore through it one evening in just a few hours. So much happens in the story that I kept turning pages and barely noticed anything else.

One of my favorite things about the story was the way the more whimsical/supernatural elements intersected with the reality-based parts of the tale. It gave the story kind of an otherworldly vibe but still left it in a largely contemporary setting. I don’t know if that makes sense. I liked that blend. Sort of like Twister meets The Village, if I can use movie references.

If you like contemporary stories with a paranormal edge to them, you should definitely check out Unfolding. Fans of the Beautiful Creatures series The Raven Boys should add Unfolding to their reading lists.

Content Notes for Unfolding

Recommended for Ages 12 up.

The story takes place in a small Midwest town. Jonah has scoliosis. At times this seems pretty debilitating, but he doesn’t let it stop him from doing much of anything he wants to do. He also has seizures. See spoiler section for more on this. One of Jonah’s friends seems like maybe he could be on the autism spectrum, but it’s never clarified.

Profanity/Crude Language Content

Romance/Sexual Content
Jonah believes rumors about Stormi having sex with other boys. Stormi’s adopted brother repeatedly makes advances and comments to her which she dodges and ignores. Jonah feels some intense attraction toward her, and a couple of times references feeling a heightened physical response to his desire to be with her. The comment is about as oblique as I’m being here.

Spiritual Content
Like a prophetess, Stormi knows things she couldn’t possibly know and warns the town about events to come. Sometimes they heed her warnings and other times blame her for things she predicted.

See spoiler section.

Violent Content
Reference to murder and rape. A man recollects that it was horrible listening to the sound of his daughter being murdered and not being able to stop it. Two people die in an accident. A cult-like group of men threaten to kill one of their own after he betrays them.

Drug Content

Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


Jonah learns that his town is under a curse. Years ago, innocent teens were murdered. The townspeople covered it up, and now it seems this curse will punish them for refusing to acknowledge the lives lost.

Resolving the curse stops Jonah’s seizures. I wouldn’t think much about this except that I recently read an article about the representation of epilepsy in literature, so it made me consider this character and plot in a different way. One of the things the article discusses is the way that having seizures equated to a curse or something like that is it sort of draws a connection between seizures and evil, which perhaps perpetuates a stigma about epilepsy (which people once used to believe meant demon possession).

While I don’t in any way think this was the author’s heart or intent, it did strike me that, for someone reading this book who has epilepsy, this could be a disappointing component to the story.


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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

One Response to Review: Unfolding by Jonathan Friesen

  1. Colleen says:

    Sounds like an awesome read. I’ve never had the privilege of reading one of Friesen’s books. I hope to in the near future. Once again, thank you for an insightful review.