Break in Case of Emergency

A Novel

by Brian Francis

On Sale: 09/10/2019

Break in Case of Emergency

Enlarge Book Cover

Break in Case of Emergency

A Novel

by Brian Francis

On Sale: 09/10/2019


Apple's Best Books

CBC Best Book of the Year

Globe and Mail Best Book of the Year

Governor General’s Literary Award for Young People's Literature – Text

OLA Best Bets

Quill & Quire Best Book

White Pine Award Finalist

About the Book

Dads can be such a drag

Life has been a struggle for Toby Goodman. Her mother died by suicide five years ago, and her father left their small town before Toby was born. Now a teenager living on her grandparents' dairy farm, Toby has trouble letting people in. She keeps even her closest friend, the brash but endearing Trisha, at arms' length, and recently ended her first relationship, with Trisha's burnout brother, Mike. Convinced that she is destined to follow her mother's path, Toby creates a plan to escape her pain.

But with the news that her father is coming home and finally wants to meet her, Toby must face the truth of her family's story. Not only is her father gay, but he's also a world-famous female impersonator—and a self-absorbed, temperamental man-child who is ill-prepared to be a real parent.

When Toby's careful plans go awry, she is forced to rebuild the life she thought she knew from the ground up. While she may not follow an expected path, through the support of a quirky but lovable circle of friends and family, Toby may finally put together the many different pieces that make up her past, her present, and her future.

Critical Praise

“Brian Francis’ first book for teen readers and fans of YA is a knockout. . . . We promise every last person in Toby’s orbit will stay with you.” - Apple Books

"Francis beautifully explores issues around mental health and suicide in a story that packs a powerful punch and stays with you long after you close the book." - Globe and Mail (Toronto)

“Believable characters and a lot of heart mark this book.” - Toronto Star

"Brian Francis’ first foray into the young adult genre is just as likely to appeal to adult readers." - Post Media

“A carefully crafted story that explores the inner lives of ordinary people facing tragic circumstances. . . . Richly layered and powerfully developed. Highly Recommended.” - CM Magazine

> “Francis sensitively and unerringly depicts the thoughts and feelings of a teen who skillfully hides her many layers of guilt, self-loathing, and pain. While her suffering is palpable, the story is also filled with warmth and moments of humour as she navigates the relationships in her life.” - Canadian Children's Book News

“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

“Brian Francis writes with sensitivity, empathy, and humour. 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

“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

“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.” - Sarah Henstra, Governor General’s Award-winning author of The Red Word and We Contain Multitudes

“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

“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

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9781443457705
  • ISBN 10: 1443457701
  • Imprint: HarperCollins
  • On Sale: 09/10/2019
  • Pages: 368
  • List Price:22.99 CAD
  • BISAC1 : YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Social Themes / Mental Illness
  • BISAC3 : YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Family / General (see also headings under Social Themes)

Break in Case of Emergency by Brian Francis

The broadest selection of online bookstores. The links will take you to the web site's home page.

Other Booksellers

The broadest selection of online bookstores. The links will take you to the Web site's home page.


Specialty Booksellers

Interest-specific online venues and gift accounts that offer books for purchase. The links will take you to the store’s home page.

International Customers

If you are located outside Canada, the best way to order online is to choose from the following bookstores listed by region and country.