Becoming JiJi

A gifted teen struggles to turn defeatism into success, and helps empower her working class neighborhood.

Becoming JiJi

Becoming JiJi

First Place in the 2018 Writer’s Digest
Self-Published eBook Awards
Contemporary Fiction category

Quarterfinalist, 2019 ScreenCraft
Cinematic Book Competition


Becoming JiJi, Award-Winning Novel by David R. Yale

A gifted teen, challenged to win the love of her life and build a singing career, struggles to transform defeatism into success, with help from three wise women. In the process she helps empower her working class neighborhood.

Jill Frisk, 18-year-old daughter of a violent father and shattered mother, has no plans, no hope. She’s a straight A high school graduate, but her 1970s blue collar neighborhood in Minneapolis discourages women’s dreams.

Although she reads advanced chemistry books as a hobby, her father rules out college. The prospect of an existence like her mother’s holds Jill in the grip of depression.

Joe Stern, the young new recreation director, sees Jill differently. He hires her to run a preschool group. And he helps her found a teen council that teaches her friends leadership skills, and uplifts the neighborhood.

When Jill finds out that neighborhood Afro-American kids don’t feel safe at the recreation center, she sets up a buddy system that introduces black and white kids with similar interests, and gets the teen council to invite Afro-American kids to join, turning around a long-standing neighborhood tradition of racial separation.

With Joe’s encouragement, Jill rises above her depression, gets voice lessons, discovers she has a world-class singing voice, and starts performing, instead of singing quietly to herself.

Inspired by the promise of a future she never dreamed possible, Jill finds a safe home for her family and brings her mother back to life.

Jill has never before met a kind, smart, interesting man like Joe. She falls in love with Joe, but she’s too shy to tell him before he suddenly leaves for San Francisco. Convinced Joe is in love with her, Jill lands a music scholarship at San Francisco State University, with help and support from three wise women: her mother, her voice teacher, and a jazz pianist.

She phones Joe and asks to be his roommate in San Francisco. Joe agrees, although he sounds hesitant. When she arrives, he is overjoyed; he reciprocates when Jill seduces him. Joe is devoted to her, they are close, but something is wrong – and she doesn’t understand it.

Will newly-empowered Jill have the guts and skill to help him overcome his secret past, woo him, and win his love – all while becoming a successful musician?

Becoming JiJi is a moving story about “ordinary” blue-collar Americans changing themselves from defeated cynics to high achievers.