Tuesday, December 5, 2017


Shivaun Plozza
American Release Date: November 7th, 2017

I received this as an Advanced Reader Copy from Flatiron in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
The title says it all: Frankie makes this book so special. She's such a strong narrator that I fell in love with her in the first couple chapters. She's not the same sort of character I tend to read about, at least not in contemporary fiction. She's both super insecure about things, and is constantly questioning her decisions (but not in an annoying way, in the way that she doesn't quite understand herself and why she feels certain things for certain characters), but she's also very self driven. While she acknowledges that she needs help she's reluctant and afraid to take it. And, most importantly, she's a little afraid of herself.

A lot of Frankie's trouble stems from her reluctance to talk about and acknowledge her past. She has really deep anger issues that stem from the fact that her mother abandoned her when she was younger and that her mother is, in general, a dead beat. It's slowly revealed exactly how tragic and terrible Frankie's mother actually is and think this is done well because it helps validate Frankie's own character and feelings.
The whole cast of characters is really enjoyable. Everyone is multi-layered and no one is black and white. Frankie's brother, Xander, is the most multi-layered, at least in my opinion, because he's both a really sweet kid and also kinda a dead beat. In fact, exploring these characters, and sometimes not getting a complete understanding of everything that makes them tick, really made it a rich reading experience. 

I'm hesitant to say too much about the plot because I think it's a pretty strong book you shouldn't go into knowing much about, but I went in knowing quite a bit and I wasn't disappointed. Xander, a brother Frankie never knew she had, shows up in her life and wants to connect. She's hesitant but excited despite herself, but paired with the struggles she's been having at school after having beat up a boy, this complicates her life. And then Xander goes missing, turning her world upside down.

There isn't anything I disliked about this book but part of the romance did make me feel iffy. But another part of the romance made me so happy! Basically, Frankie has two love interests. One the ex from years before who's problematic and cheated on her but goes out of his way to prove he still loves her and would change. The other one is the new, tall, dark, and handsome guy from the wrong side of town. And no, he does not have a heart of gold, but he does have some room in there for Frankie regardless. Well, I won't tell you who she ends up with, because spoilers, but she definitely makes the right choice in my mind. The only thing I have a problem with is that, on afterthought, is that there was a little bit of instant-lovey, but I forgave it as I read it.

A quick note on the writing: I really loved it. It was subtle and delicate and beautiful. It wasn't super flowery but it didn't need to be to get across the points with efficiency. I plan to read more of Plozza's work.
TL;DR? Frankie is a pretty complicated novel that deals with classicism and missing mothers and mental health, all through the point of a view a well thought out and fleshed out narrator.
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.
Shivaun Plozza is the author of Frankie (Penguin, 2016), a darkly funny novel about searching for the truth, finding yourself and falling in love. She has published short fiction, flash fiction, poetry and essays, and works as an editor.
Description and author bio taken from Goodreads.
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