Why I'm Here

Jill Frayne | 240 Pages May, 2022 Forthcoming, Canadian North, Ebook, Fiction, Nunatak First Fiction Series, Women's Literature

About this book

Fifteen-year-old Gale is desperate to get out of Whitehorse, a fact that is immediately clear to counsellor Helen Cotillard when Gale walks into her office with her reluctant stepmother. It’s 1995, and one counselling agency for kids and families serves all of the Yukon. Gale has been having anxiety attacks, the last one so severe it landed her in the hospital.

Helen soon begins to realize that Gale’s distress at being separated from her little sister Buddie too closely parallels a calamity from her own past. This tragic similarity leaves Helen uneasy about her profession and her ability to help her clients. When Gale does escape back to her home in Cobalt, Ontario, to protect Buddie from their brutal mother, she risks her own future.

Through arresting, compelling images, Jill Frayne shows both the fierce beauty of the Yukon, and the damaged, enduring landscapes of two human hearts.


"From the boreal forests of the Yukon to Canadian Shield country in Ontario, Frayne writes with graceful, devastating power about the hold of place and family on people, and the way love runs strange and wayward and deep through both. The result is a novel with all the clean lines and stark beauty of a glacier, revealing the crevasses that tear lives apart but also, despite everything, link them together.”

~ Kate Harris, author of Lands of Lost Borders

"I loved reading this exquisite portrait of a therapist’s relationship to a teenage girl whose violent past has followed her to the Yukon, where the landscape can both wound and heal. Jill Frayne writes about the far North with the same wisdom and tenderness she brings to the lives of her unforgettable characters."

~ Marni Jackson, author of Don't I Know You?