Skip to main content

Monday's Not Coming

Review

Monday's Not Coming

Claudia and Monday have been best friends for ages. Claudia turns to Monday for everything --- inside jokes and homework help, hair braiding and summer afternoons. Monday almost never invites her over, but that’s fine --- Claudia’s more than happy to have her stay at Claudia’s house, and she doesn’t like Monday’s mother very much, anyway. But she didn’t get to see her at all for two months --- every summer, Claudia gets sent to visit her grandmother in Georgia.

"Well-paced, tightly crafted and deeply moving, especially in an era when the notion of missing and endangered children is all too relevant, [MONDAY'S NOT COMING] is an absolutely necessary read."

When she gets back to her hometown of Washington D.C. just before eighth grade starts, the very first thing she asks when she lands in the airport is “Ma, have you seen Monday?” They had promised to write to each other over the summer, because even though Claudia hates writing, she couldn’t stand losing touch with Monday for that long. But Claudia sent out letter after letter of stories and drawings and gossip, and for the first time, got nothing in return. Her mother hasn’t heard from Monday or her family. And when Claudia dials her number --- the only other number she has memorized other than her own home phone number --- an automated lady says it’s been disconnected. Claudia’s mom says she’s sure Monday’s just been busy taking care of her little brother and sister over the summer, and reassures Claudia that she’ll see Monday when eighth grade begins.

Claudia doesn’t want to wait until eighth grade begins. She wants to get ready for school with Monday. She doesn’t want to face a new school year by herself. Without Monday, she doesn’t know where she fits in. She isn’t even quite sure who she is. When she walks into school…no Monday. The next day, she tells herself. The next. The next. Eventually, she ends up asking her teacher, who tells her Monday’s no longer registered at the school. How is that possible? She goes to Monday’s house, even though she really doesn’t want to, and Monday’s mother, irritated to the point of being scary, tells her Monday isn’t there.

Claudia embarks on a journey to investigate just what happened to her best friend, how a little black girl can just go missing, why grownups can just let this happen and how far a terrifying story has to go before anyone takes her seriously. At the same time, Claudia has to endure middle school without the most important person in her life. Without Monday to help her, she has to navigate a new school year and her own coming of age --- while also investigating the disappearance of her best friend.

MONDAY’S NOT COMING is a must read for any fan of contemporary fiction. Tiffany D. Jackson has a background in film and TV, and it shows in her writing. Like in her debut novel ALLEGEDLY, Jackson’s skill for cinematic storytelling is evident not only in the heart-pounding, brilliant drama of her work, which is always prescient and rooted in real experiences, but in how vividly she brings her characters to life. Claudia, Monday, their families and their friends all breathe off the page with verve and complexity. Jackson leans into tough subjects and expertly maneuvers Claudia through time periods, crafting a full, chilling and fulfilling story. I love Claudia’s point of view, and was often in awe of Jackson’s deft writing. I also love how even in a desperate situation, Jackson maintains the balance of granting Claudia agency while she and the reader come to recognize what she can and can’t change. Well-paced, tightly crafted and deeply moving, especially in an era when the notion of missing and endangered children is all too relevant, this is an absolutely necessary read.

Reviewed by Maya Gittelman on June 28, 2018

Monday's Not Coming
by Tiffany D. Jackson