Winner of the 2016 Governor General's Literary Award for Young People's Literature — Text
In the town of Leamington, Ontario, a seventeen-year-old boy is suddenly stricken by a schizophrenic episode and wakes up in hospital. The boy’s name is Calvin, and he is plagued by hallucinations.
As the hallucinations persist, Calvin comes to believe that the answer lies in performing one grand and incredible gesture.
And so he decides to walk across Lake Erie. In January. The temperatures have been below freezing for weeks. The ice should hold…
The lake, it turns out, is more marvelous, and more treacherous, than Calvin had ever imagined — populated by abandoned cars (joy ride!), ice-fishing eccentrics, psychokiller snow beings, and a not-so-mythical sea witch named Jenny Greenteeth.
Not to mention the man-eating tiger that looms just out of his sight lines as he treks.
But the biggest surprise of all is that Calvin finds himself accompanied by Susie, the girl of his dreams. Or is it his dreams that have conjured up Susie?
Part romance, part adventure story, part quest novel, Martine Leavitt brings her inimitable gentle wit, humor and compassion to a story about a teenaged boy struggling to gain control of his own mind and destiny.
Martine Leavitt has written ten novels for young-adult readers, including the following: Calvin, winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award, longlisted for the Printz Award and selected for the YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults list; My Book of Life by Angel, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and winner of the Canadian Library Association Young Adult Book of the Year Award; Keturah and Lord Death, finalist for the National Book Award; Tom Finder, winner of the Mr. Christie's Book Award; and Heck Superhero, finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award. Her novels have been published in Japan, Korea, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, the Netherlands and China. She teaches graduate students in a low-residency program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts and lives in High River, Alberta.
Funny, intellectual, and entertaining, it’s a sensitive yet irreverent adventure about a serious subject.
Leavitt's writing is virtually flawless . . . just the right amount of comic savvy and emotional intelligence.
This is a gentle and unique story about a boy struggling with schizophrenia; while Calvin is indeed having grandiose visions that include a beloved cartoon character, he is funny, charming, and smart.
A fresh, funny voice that never diminishes the seriousness of schizophrenia. . . . Leavitt delivers an imaginative exploration of mental illness, examining what’s real and what’s true in this magical world.
The first-person narrative eschews quotation marks and dialogue tags, further blurring the lines between real life and what’s in Calvin’s head. . . . Memorable.
Equal parts coming-of-age tale, survival adventure, and love story, this outstanding novel also sensitively deals with an uncommon but very real teen issue, making it far more than the sum of its parts.