Frankie – Shivaun Plozza
28th March 2016, 326 pages, 4/5 stars
In the first chapter of the book, Frankie meets a half-brother she didn’t know about. She likes him more than she expected to. But then he goes missing. Her only lead is a burglar with ridiculously blue eyes.
The character of Frankie Vega absolutely makes this book. She is tough, and she is angry, but there is something else to her as well which as a reader I couldn’t help but love. Although this book revolves around Frankie’s search for her mysterious half-brother, she ends up finding herself – sounds cliched but it works for this book!
Frankie Vega was abandoned by her mother at the age of four. She has A LOT of issues to work out stemming from this incident. Her school has threatened to expel her for breaking somebody’s nose (with a book of Shakespeare, no less). Most of the adults in her life see Frankie as a screw-up.
Aunt Vinnie has raised Frankie since her mother left. Vin desperately wants Frankie to succeed, and is always going in to bat for her, but she gets easily frustrated with Frankie’s seeming lack of motivation. As the reader I completely sympathised with Aunt Vinnie, but so did Frankie – she was upset that she caused her aunt so much anguish.
While there was romance, it was very slow to start. This is so much better than love at first sight romances! Frankie actually meets Nate (THE boy) as he is finishing up a burglary. She dislikes him, but doesn’t outright hate him. I really liked that Frankie’s ex got a look-in too. It made it so much realer that there was more to deal with – relationships and their aftermath are tricky, and this book reflects that.
There are also quite a few scenes set at Frankie’s counselling sessions. She didn’t want to be there, but is was interesting to watch her progression, as she came to terms with some of the past events from her life. I really liked her counsellor.
I liked that this book focused on a girl from a low socio-economic household. A lot of the Australian YA books I have read over the years have focused on students in private schools – while many of them were scholarship students, they still lead a fairly privileged life. Until this year, I hadn’t heard of many stories about teenagers from low socio-economic homes living their lives in their own communities. And now we have both Yellow and Frankie!
A very real Australian story, which explores diverse issues of class, crime, and mental health. I am truly excited to discover what else Shivaun Plozza has in store for her readers.
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.
Can anyone recommend any similar Australian books?