Munro Maddux has a serious problem. Since his little sister died, his inner voice has taken control of his life. He calls it the coyote since it tricks and torments him relentlessly. It undermines his confidence, shames him, and encourages him to make psychologically and socially unhealthy choices. Munro decides he needs a dramatic change in his familial and social landscape in order to subdue the coyote. So, he leaves Vancouver, Canada for a six month exchange student arrangement with a family in Australia.
His host family and his high school are not informed of Munro’s struggle with anger, guilt, and depression but it soon becomes apparent that something is wrong. Fortunately for Monro he has a supportive and compassionate host family, new friends, and school administration. But, it is his volunteer work with the inhabitants of “Fair Go Community Village” that get past his barriers and enable him to face the truth about the coyote.
At times, I felt frustrated by Monro’s behaviour. So many people were available to support and cheer-on his recovery that his self-sabotage was confusing until the true version of his sister’s death was revealed.
Although Monro is not as loveable as Justine and Perry, Groth’s major characters in Are You Seeing Me?, and the voice of the coyote tends to distance the reader at times, I was anxious to see how Monro would rid himself of the negative inner voice. I did feel that he bordered on schizophrenia and should have been under the direct care of a psychiatrist while in Australia. His treatment seemed a bit casual for someone with borderline hallucinations.
The characters from Far Go Community Village stole the show. Monro’s two families and friends were nice but these people were rich, unique, insightful, and sometimes hilarious.
The loss of a sibling impacts differently on people. Not only due to the nature of the relationship but also because of the circumstances of the death. Groth examines this with sensitivity and a light touch. Well recommended.
I was given an advanced ebook copy to review.
Click here or on the cover for more info on Munro vs. the Coyote (purchase link)