Author: Shivaun Plozza
Format: Kindle E-book
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication Date: November 7, 2017
“Frankie Vega is angry. Just ask the guy whose nose she broke. Or the cop investigating the burglary she witnessed, or her cheating ex-boyfriend or her aunt who’s tired of giving second chances…When a kid shows up claiming to be Frankie’s half brother, it opens the door to a past she doesn’t want to remember. And when that kid goes missing, the only person willing to help is a boy with stupidly blue eyes … and secrets of his own. Frankie’s search for the truth might change her life, or cost her everything.”
Available Editions: Kindle and Hardcover | Amazon
Disclaimer: I received an ARC copy from Netgalley and Flatiron Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Frankie by Shivaun Plozza isn’t usually the type of book I’d pick up, but the cover is stunning and so I couldn’t help myself. I was so happy to have had the chance to read this book because it turned out to be surprisingly funny as well as heartbreaking.
Frankie Vega is certainly angry, but she has good reason to be. Her mom’s a deadbeat, her boyfriend cheated on her, her classmates make jokes about her, the police think she’s no good, her aunt’s losing her patience, and she’s just discovered she has a half-brother. Does this excuse her violent behavior and string of questionable actions/decisions? Of course not. But Frankie’s story is written in such a way that makes it easy to understand her frustrations and to sympathize with her despite her various forms of acting out.
Despite the anger within her, Frankie is an easy protagonist to care for. She’s got a kick-ass sense of humor, she’s assertive and sarcastic, she’s clever, and best of all, she acknowledges her mistakes (especially towards the end). There were times when I was really frustrated with her decisions, but it was all a part of her journey which, unfortunately, involves getting suspended, trying to come to terms with why she physically lashed out at her classmate, meeting her brother for the first time, and then trying to find him upon his sudden disappearance. The story then becomes a quirky mix of black comedy and mystery, an effective combination that kept me engrossed from beginning to end.
While the ending was surprisingly heart-breaking, I’d have to say it would have had more impact if we were given a chance to know Xavier, her half-brother, a bit more. He seemed to be an interesting fellow with quite a few demons of his own, and I would have liked to know more about his side of the story, but he was only present in the beginning and mentioned here and there throughout the rest of the story, so it was a bit hard to connect to and care for him as a character. We had to rely solely on Frankie’s feelings for him and at times, it was not sufficient enough.
Also, the romance between Frankie and Nate was rushed and not entirely believable. And even it it was, I’d have a hard time supporting the romance as Nate is an atypical bad boy with some charm, a tired trope if there ever was one. He’s rude to Frankie more than half the time, and his constant mistreatment of her should not have been forgiven and forgotten so quickly, in my opinion of course.
Besides those two aspects, I’d have to say Frankie is an excellent read. I had a very hard time putting it down. It was a well balanced mix of dark humor and hopeful themes, and because of that, I’d recommend this book in a heartbeat.
About the Author
“Shivaun Plozza is a Children’s and YA writer. Her debut novel about a girl called Frankie is titled Frankie and her activity book about medieval Europe is called Medieval Europe. Because she’s inventive like that. Her short story ‘The Point’ is part of Where the Shoreline Used to Be, an anthology of YA fiction. Other short works have appeared in Above Water, Vivid and The Victorian Writer. When she’s not writing she’s beavering away as an editor and manuscript assessor.”
Visit her website at https://shivaunplozza.com/