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4.21  ·  Rating details ·  1,567 ratings  ·  282 reviews
**A Kirkus Best Middle Grade Book of 2016
**An AIR & SPACE magazine Best Children's Book of 2016

Wayne Kovok lives in a world of After. After his uncle in the army was killed overseas. After Wayne and his mother survived a plane crash while coming back from the funeral. After he lost his voice.

Wayne has always used his love of facts to communicate ("Did you know more people
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published May 24th 2016 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Sarah I thought it was really good! I especially love Wayne's grandfather. This book has some great character progression and good messaging.…moreI thought it was really good! I especially love Wayne's grandfather. This book has some great character progression and good messaging.(less)
Rachel Hogan p. 218 "Why were you in an accident? Well, accidents happen to good people. Good people need someone looking out for them! You need a lawyer who's out…morep. 218 "Why were you in an accident? Well, accidents happen to good people. Good people need someone looking out for them! You need a lawyer who's outstanding in his field. So call me, Tim LeMoot, the Texas Boot. I'm out standing in my field! Why should you go through hard times alone? Why?"(less)

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Average rating 4.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,567 ratings  ·  282 reviews

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Harper Averitt
Feb 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked the book Mayday. With all the troubles that Wayne had going on in his, life he seemed to always push through it, which is very inspiring to me. I liked how the book showed how one person could have a voice without really having one at all. Overall I really think this book is worth reading, and I recommend to everyone.
Polly Holyoke
Nov 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Karen Harrington’s novel Mayday is one of the warmest and most touching middle grade novels I’ve read in years. It’s the story of Wayne Kovok, a boy trying to come to terms with his bewildering world after his beloved uncle is killed overseas. When Wayne and his mom survive a terrifying plane crash on the way home from the funeral, Wayne is forced to contemplate the question of how and why he survived when so many others perished in the crash.

Wayne is an irresistible young hero confronted by a d
| Sarah
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
It was a sweet book. It was written very well with a good plot (it was a little slow at times though).
Mar 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
True book lovers have a few absolutes, should you take the time to talk to them. Some prefer reading electronically, others will never give up their paper volumes. You may find those who love the smell of books, the texture of the paper, drinking tea or coffee whilst reading and listening to the rain. We're a pretty tried and true bunch when it comes to our habits. Which is why I have a few automatic five star criteria. If a book can keep me reading it for an entire sitting. I may look up to fin ...more
Melody Bremen
Jun 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book deserves five stars for this line alone:
On a scale from one to awkward, we were off the charts.
I think I just found a new favorite author.
Nancy Cavanaugh
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A MG story with a main character young readers will love!
Wayne. He's the boy who's uncle dies while fighting for our country. He's the boy who went with his mom on the plane ride back from the funeral. He's the boy who got in the plane crash. He's the boy who lost his voice-literally. He's the boy who's grandpa comes to live with him. Wayne's life has been completely ruined. His grandpa-who used to be a general for the army-is always trying to get Wayne to be something and someone he's not. His mom is constantly sad. And himself, he just happened to k ...more
Sarah Sammis

The NTSB bits were the most interesting.
The search for the flag was also interesting.
Having a medical reason for Wayne to lose his voice was good.
Wayne's facts are interesting but there are too many.

Grandpa is a dick
Dad is an abusive dick (the doofus thing is act)
True story — if I have to read that phrase one more time I will chuck this book out a window.

A better (and nonfiction) book about recovery from a plane crash is Lost Cat: A True Sto
Henry Clark
Jan 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent book for boys (and girls should find it impossible to put down, too) that tells the tale of the some of the things young Wayne Kovak loses – his voice, a flag, almost his life – neatly balanced at the end by what he gains as a result of his trials. There’s a harrowing plane crash and some equally harrowing middle school challenges, related with enough humor and genuine emotion to keep even a jaded reader turning the pages. As I read, I kept seeing Robert Duvall as Wayne’s granddad. ...more
Leslie Bryan
Oct 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, young-reader
4.5 stars. What a complex and heartfelt story about Wayne, a plane crash survivor who loses, and subsequently finds, his voice. Mayday is about that familiar time in our lives when we decide who we want to be. How do we face our family’s expectations, our self doubts, and our ambitions all at once? Loved it.
Feb 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a book with lots of heart! I loved The characters and the storyline. Although it's a young adult book, I think it's great for all ages. ...more
Wayne Dalton starts the book as a 7th grader with the socialization skills of a 7-year old, only instead of blurting dinosaur factoids or the hit points of obscure Pokemon move combinations, he interjects his awkward moments with random trivia. To his credit, he does mix up the subjects. (Side note, as a librarian/parent always reminding students to properly cite their sources, it would have been helpful for the author to have included an index of the titles she used for his numerous facts, as a ...more
Mar 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Karen Harrington
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 978-0-316-29801-8, hardcover (also available as an ebook), 352 pgs, $16.99
May 24, 2016

Twelve-year-old Wayne Kovok is an anxious seventh-grader who uses facts (Did you know that chickens can run up to nine miles an hour?) to protect himself from awkward silences and uncomfortable emotions. “A fact is like a shield,” Wayne says, “You can hide behind it. Then you can make a run for it if you need to. Or make someone l
Munro's Kids
There's a base competence to this one that makes it more of a 2.5, but I just couldn't bring myself to round it up to a 3. The story itself is of a pretty typical bent - ordinary kid deals with and overcomes sad circumstances (think Lost in the Sun, or The Thing About Jellyfish or this author's previous work Sure Signs of Crazy) - it's adequate, but not exactly special.

The thing that makes it stand out I guess is the family's ties to the american military. The main character, Wayne's, uncle dies
Kim Bongiorno
Pretty much everyone knows that they need to put the following books on their Middle Grader’s bookshelf: Wonder by R.J. Palacio, Smile by Raina Telgemeier, and Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling. Now you have one more.
12yo Wayne has always filled silences (pauses! breaths!) by rattling off strange facts rather than talk about the things he knows he eventually needs to. When he and his mom survive a plane crash on the way back from his uncle’s funeral, he loses his voice, but – lucky for us – we get t
Sep 20, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was recommended to me by the great and powerful Larose Mutumbo! I can see why she liked it. And I did too. Finally. At the end. That doesn't mean it wasn't great. I just found it to be a bit sad. Don't get me wrong. I love sad books. But with this one it seemed like nothing would go right for Wayne. However, I found myself crying through the end this morning over my eggs and bacon. So, thanks, Larose. Thanks for the recommendation. And thanks for making me cry. :) ...more
Nova Syzygy
Plane crash, lost American flag, bizarre romance (Was there one? I don't know.), and a kid named Wayne (or something similar) are just about the only things I remember about this book, even though I read it twice. Once again, I read this during my rereading phase.

Another great review from me. Woo!
Rachel Hogan
For more of my reviews, go to

Mayday is a realistic fiction that takes place in Texas. Wayne Kovoc is a spouter of facts. He does it to avoid awkward silences, to make his mom feel better about her romantic situation (aka deadbeat ex-Dad), and to impress his kind-of girlfriend. He also asks the question “why” a lot, which his Uncle Reed, back from the army, says is a useless and trouble-making question. It will only plague you, he says.

Wayne is also a runner, just like his d
Aug 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Full disclosure, if you took into account ONLY the last half of this book, it would have been 5 stars for me. The first part dragged a bit though and it took a while to warm up to the voice/style of the main character Wayne.

Wayne Kovok's life is now split into BEFORE and AFTER. Before his uncle died and he was one of the few survivors of a plane crash. After the accident and the loss of his voice. Wayne once used random factoids to fill the silence of his life, but now he lives in silence. Witho
Kathy Blodgett
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely LOVED this book!!! I brought home several new books to read this summer that are "to be added to the classroom library"; each seemingly interesting, entertaining, or maybe even questionable. After starting 4 "grown up" books and not getting hooked by any, I started this one and was completely hooked by page 7! True story! (To coin a familiar phrase from the novel.) I cannot wait to read that first chapter out loud to my students and hook them too!
The back of the book "hook" seeming
Angela Couse
Author Karen Harrington is fantastic at writing about kids living in tough situations in a sensitive way. In Mayday, Wayne is a self-described who using his encyclopedic knowledge of facts to cope with his difficult and demeaning grandfather, his uninterested girlfriend and absentee dad. If that wasn't bad enough for a 12-year old, Wayne's uncle, a soldier dies fighting overseas. On the way home from the funeral, Wayne and his mother survive a plane crash, but Wayne's facial bruises, scars, stit ...more
Mar 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wayne Covok survived a really bad plane crash. He couldnt talk but it didn't keep him from following his dreams. He is a determined 7th grader and a really smart kid. He never runs out of facts. His uncle dies of cancer and his dad/the flee is abusive to Wayne. Without his voice can Wayne survive in this new world? It doesnt take long for Wayne to relieze how much he doesn't say, and how much he needs to be said of.This was a educational and exciting book and i was so sad when i finished. I hope ...more
Leah Cooper
I loved this book! While it is classified as juvenile lit, I found it quite enjoyable even though I am long passed my "juvenile" stage. It is so easy to relate to the young boy as he deals with the normal issues of growing up and wanting to fit in, surviving a plane crash but losing both his voice and the burial flag of his uncle, and family relationships. And having part of the story take place in my hometown of Jefferson, TX makes it that much more special. ...more
May 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the book Mayday Wayne Kovok demonstrates the character strength persistence because while coming home for his uncles funeral the plane crashed and he survived but he slowly learns that life without your voice is hard how will he talk to his soon to be maybe girlfriend. Wayne demonstrates persistence because he learns how to communication and overcome his lose of speech and along his persistent journey Wayne learns there are other forms of communication then just your voice.
Jun 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mayday is heartfelt, disastrous, and easy to read for anyone from 5th-8th grade. Wayne is having the worst year a kid could possibly have... his uncle died in the war, his plane goes down and loses his uncle's military burial flag, he has lost his voice, he's got a giant l- shaped scar in his face, his grandpa has moved in, and his dad is a deadbeat! That is a lot to take in a short amount of time, but Wayne muddles through and finds a new friend and a loving Grandpa who help him through the har ...more
Jeannie T.
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book! Talk about a quick read and a great way to discuss resiliency with middle school students. The main character, Wayne, made be laugh with all of his wonderful facts about the world. His honesty about being a boy in middle school was genuine. The book tackles military service, grief, cancer, identity, divorce and resiliency. It is perfect for all middle school age students and excellent choice for book clubs.
May 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
I could not put this book down! Reading from middle schooler Wayne's POV was brilliant and quirky and refreshing. I also really enjoyed Wayne's endless amount of facts that were sprinkled throughout the story, I learned things I didn't know. The resilience of this character is heart warming and inspiring.

I'm looking forward to reading more books by Karen Harrington.
Jun 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lone-star
3.8 Stars Surprisingly poignant and touching...about so much more than just a boy trying to find his authentic voice and his cantankerous grandpa who helps him find it. Expect the unexpected and your eyes cannot help but swell with tears.
Sep 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I finished this book early in the morning and there was no one to turn to and say "Read this! Right now!" Or at least no one awake. It was almost worth waking sound sleepers to change their life.

Get this book. Read it. Buy tisues. LOTS of tissues. Prepare for awe.

Oct 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really loved and liked it, but I could add a lot more to the ending because I really wanted to know what happened after everything. And how Wayne just lives his normal life now.
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Karen Harrington is an author and former speechwriter. Her books include SURE SIGNS OF CRAZY (2013), COURAGE FOR BEGINNERS (2014) and MAYDAY (2016) all from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. Her books have appeared on nine state reading lists.

Sure Signs of Crazy was also a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the year, a 2014 Notable Children’s Book selection from the Children’s Literature Assembly a

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