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When the Coin is in the Air

4.63  ·  Rating details ·  38 ratings  ·  18 reviews

Like most boys, Jason Blake wants to please his father and older brother. But this erratic father and hyper-competitive brother challenge beyond the norm. To find his way, Jason tries on different roles: schoolyard bully, football player, actor, student. At 20, Jason escapes his Midwest home and seeks independence and adventure: first to Cape Cod, later in Europe. Each adv

Kindle Edition, 283 pages
Published July 18th 2019 by Golden Antelope Press
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Katy Yocom
May 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Jason Blake's story of growing up with an unpredictable, sometimes violent, father and competitive older brother is a timeless coming-of-age novel that feels very much like a memoir. We come along for the journey as Jason navigates the turbulent waters of male power dynamics--first as a little boy trying to prove his worth through football, then as a young man trying to establish his independence and sense of worth while his father's temper grows ever more dangerous. I won't soon forget this sto ...more
Richard Slate
Feb 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Sadly as a recovering English major, I don't read nearly as many books as I used to. However, I can confidently say that this one was a joy to breeze through while I was on vacation this week in Florida. The characters are so vivid and complex yet still relatable. The mostly Indiana setting was foreign to me but it helped me understand the Hooiser state much better than ever before. The European adventure and trips to New England were very accurate and made me proud to be from the Boston area.
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to follow this young man’s personal journey. Lots of sitting on the edge of my chair with other periods of enjoying the serenity of the farm and woodlands.
Adrienne Quill
Nov 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
John Young's "When the Coin is in the Air" was an enjoyable read. Full disclosure: I grew up in the part of Indianapolis which is the setting for this book and attended Cathedral High School when Mr. Young taught there although he was not my teacher.

I highly recommend the book for young people in their 20's. Jason Blake is a young man with maturity beyond his years. His ability to maneuver the ups and downs he faces at a young age are remarkable.
His devotion to and recognition of his mother fo
Jun 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Five stars. This may be Young’s first novel, but with lama-like wisdom woven throughout his artistic and understated prose, this old soul accomplishes a brilliant (and cliché-free) coming of age story made riveting by its utter relatability. Regardless of where you are from, you will see yourself in protagonist Jason. You will laugh remembering your own rites of passage and painfully earnest attempts at self-discovery. You will weep alongside him in struggles to uncover and recover himself surro ...more
Marc Aiello
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Just finished the book. It's fantastic. I really enjoyed reading it. It felt like a real memoir. And I love how the main character stayed vulnerable the entire time. Always wondering what others' motivations were. And it ends on a hopeful note, but still wondering if he will inherit the violence and unproductive father/brother patterns in his family. Everything didn't get tied up in a neat bow every time. Just like real life. ...more
Don Slaviks
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a very good read. It was great how we went through life with Jason and his family.
Sep 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all adults and young adults
First, Love the title. The title says it all. Truth speaks to us when words get out of the way. An interesting title for a book that uses words to tell a story of anguish, passion and hope set in a young man's journey to find himself. "Who am I if I am not my father, my brother, my mother's son?" Jason, both the victim and the hero of the novel uses the coin of his own wisdom to not only survive but ultimately leave the "family story" and the wreckage wrought by the lineage of pain acted out by ...more
Jannette Emerson
Aug 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those rare books that you start and cannot put down until the very last page. I am a very impatient reader and need to be captivated right from the start or I will put the book down never to pick it up. In fact, I probably have a stack of those in the back of my closet. Not this time. The book was incredibly well written, written in a way that is very “inclusive” to readers of all levels and abilities. I am not a fan of what I call “thesaurus” books: books that are so full of sent ...more
Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a great story of family and choices and growing up in Indiana-the setting was a bonus for me. I went into this book without even reading the description and am so glad I did. It was pure joy not knowing what to expect and just taking the ride along with Jason the main character. My advice- read it!
Steve Ruemmele
When The Coin Is In the Air is a book that asks the question, how would one react, how would one grow and mature with the circumstances of a childhood, and the development into young adulthood, that challenges you from every direction. As a reader you ask, how would this effect me? What would I do? Written in an engaging first person narrative, it has you rooting for, hoping for this character to rise above and not be scarred by the events in his life. I would recommend this book to anyone comin ...more
John Cohen
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When The Coin Is In The Air, by John Young, is a great book. Very quickly into it, it became a page turner that I always looked forward to getting back to. It’s an exciting and sad story that has a heartwarming ending. I strongly recommend it to anyone who wants a great read with adventure, suspense, love and a story about the journey a young man takes to make his life better, overcoming family and life challenges.
I look forward to John Young’s next novel.
Oct 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Both of us read mostly nonfiction and rarely read the same novel. I picked it up because the spouse so enjoyed the book that I wanted to see why. It IS a page turner and a joy to finish. Memoirs & coming of age stories speak to me and this one is well written & the characters feel real. Have recommended When the Coin is in the Air to several friends & one has a copy. Can't Wait to discuss with her. ...more
Arlen Rissover
Aug 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Right off the bat, I was drawn into needing to find out what happens to Jason next. Seeing Jason's life unfold became an obsession that I was thinking about when I wasn't reading about it. This was the first story I've read in a LONG time that I got out of bed to read in the middle of the night. ...more
Mike Howard
Aug 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I got an early copy of this book from a reading. I have to say this book is astounding - one of my new favorites!
Don Tassone
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A riveting story of adversity, destruction and transcendence. This well written novel pulled me in from the start and didn't let me go. ...more
Brigitte Cordier
Sep 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A very touching story of a boy who try to find his way, not following his father, nor his brother, taking risks and going out of his comfort zone. A page turner!
Jul 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
When the Coin Is in the Air is John Young’s debut novel. It reads like a coming-of-age memoir. The protagonist, Jason Blake, is growing up caught between a mercurial father who is often violent and emotionally abusive, and an older brother who is very competitive yet consistently backs down from confrontations with their father. Jason tries to prove himself to both these male figures in his life. He attempts to excel in sports, but never quite reaches the apogee of his brother’s success. Later, ...more
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When John Young was eight-years old, he told his mother he wanted to be a scientist or a clown. So he spent many years in advertising, of course.

Born and raised beyond the suburbs in Indianapolis, John Young graduated from Indiana University, and earned an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College. His fiction appeared in Yankee and his non-fiction has appeared in several magazines.

Young also t

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Why not focus on some serious family drama? Not yours, of course, but a fictional family whose story you can follow through the generations of...
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