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New Titles Teen & Young Adult - Fiction

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Escaping Limbo

ISBN: 9781643436159
Binding: Paperback
Author: Mike F. Elliott
Pages: 288
Trim: 6 x 9 inches
Published: 02/20/2024

Francis Paulson is an A student, altar boy, and the polar opposite of his friend Izzy, who fears no nun or priest, just his abusive old man. Francis plans to help Izzy, grieving the loss of his older brother, by secretly earning money for a taboo canoe trip north of their hometown, St. Paul, Minnesota. Not only will the trip ease his friend's pain, but it may allow Francis to face his creeping doubts about his strict Catholic upbringing.

Earning funds gets tough for Francis when incidents involving his younger twin sisters and a cute rambunctious girl threaten his relationship with Izzy. And while these teens navigate the chaos of their personal lives, they witness the turmoil of 1960s America firsthand.

Escaping Limbo is a historically accurate and touching coming-of-age story.


Mike F. Elliott is a lifelong Minnesotan who loves writing about historical periods. His other passions include exploring and writing about wilderness BWCA canoeing and off-the-beaten-path outdoor places and spaces. Elliott is a volunteer radio producer at Northern Community Public Radio. He helped raise four children in St. Paul and enjoys when his young grandchildren visit his "writing cabin" at the lake. He is currently looking forward to their first visits to his winter "writing hacienda" in Arizona's Superstition Mountains.


"If you liked 'This Tender Land,' you'll love 'Escaping Limbo.' Reminiscent of Huck and Jim and their journey down one river, Francis and Izzy's trip down another is just as sprawling and compelling. Taking place during the turbulent '60s, it is a coming-of-age story for all ages." - David Housewright, Edgar-Award winning author of In A Hard Wind

"For those who remember life in the '60s, 'Escaping Limbo' is a poignant trip back in time. For those too young to remember, it's an accurate yet entertaining education. Engaging from page one, Elliott's debut novel held me in its grasp, alternately through smiles and tears, until the final page." - Margaret Standafer, best-selling and award-winning author of the coming-of-age novel, I Know an Old Lady

"Readers will delight in Elliott's vivid reimagining of a boyhood in 1960s St. Paul with this unforgettable cast of characters as they discover the true meaning of friendship, family, love, and honor with charm and poignant bravura (and the occasional test of nuns' patience). This is a book to savor, with its homage to the candy factory and its honest depiction of friendships forged and hard choices made in complicated times." - Kate St. Vincent Vogl, author of Lost & Found: A Memoir of Mothers

"A joyride of a read, traveling through the '60s with Francis and Izzy as they walk a fine line between raising Hell and trying not to end up there. Their antics at the Paulson's family candy factory are a hoot, but as the author's dentist, I cannot condone Francis bartering boxes of chocolate in exchange for dental services. You will laugh and cry and be thoroughly entertained." - Tom Musser, DDS