Advance Reviews for John Young's WHEN THE COIN IS IN THE AIR

“I appreciated reading this book because it took me deeply into Jason’s personal history and psychology. …I found much there that was relatable, simply because it was deeply human. I’m grateful John Young wrote this book. When the Coin is in the Air is a novel that will stay with you, remind you of a version of the Midwest that might be fading, and bring to mind key pivotal moments in your own life, moments that led you to flip a coin to decide which road to take—and to determine which way you really wanted to go.”

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Kelly Blewett

NPR affiliate WVXU


“It is a rare coming-of-age-novel that strikes an elegiac tone—the trembling anticipation of youth, a decidedly modern hero’s journey, in combination with a grief-struck plunge into conscience—but John Young pulls it off. This novel, like its main character, makes its way from early promise to settled accomplishment, from a staggering opening to a quiet self-acceptance that seems wholly earned—and leaves a reader grateful.”

James Carroll

National Book Award Winner and author of The Cloister


“An abusive father keeps his son—and the reader—in suspense in When the Coin is in the Air, a well-told coming -of age tale.”

Dan Wakefield

author of Going All The Way and New York in the Fifties


When the Coin is in the Air follows Jason Blake from early promise to settled accomplishment, with dramatic adventures, tough decisions and heart-stopping risks along the way. “It is fiction, John explains, “but the bones came from my life.”

The story is sometimes sweet, often poignant, and frequently funny. You find yourself rooting for Jason, hoping his choices will work out. The heroes and villains are all satisfyingly complex and multi-dimensional.

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Cynthia Smith

Wyoming Living Magazine


“I loved John Young’s wise and moving novel. A young man is forced to navigate the difficult choices of early adulthood while protecting his own life and his mother’s from a violent, abusive father. Reminiscent of the novels of Pat Conroy, When the Coin is in the Air explores the complexities of the pull between duty and self-determination, tempered by love.”

Susan Neville

author of Invention of Flight and The House of Blue Lights


When the Coin is in the Air is a riveting story of adversity, destruction and transcendence. John Young weaves a gritty but ultimately uplifting tale, sure to speak to anyone who has wrestled with demons. From the start, Young’s debut novel will grab you, and it won’t let you go.”

Don Tassone

author of Drive