Thursday, September 30, 2021

Review: Frankie and Bug by Gayle Forman

And now, it's time for today's second book! This one is a historical set in the 1980's...can I tell you how weird it always feels to say 'historical' to books like this for me? (Yep, I'm feeling old). 

This one flows in reality and tells the story of two kids, who each need to find a way to get past their uncomfortable situations (very different ones) and find a way to friendship and themselves. And it's written by a well-known author...

So, let's take a peek! 

by Gayle Forman
Middle Grade Contemporary
288 pages
ages 8 to 12

OCTOBER 12th!!!

In the debut middle grade novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Gayle Forman comes a poignant and powerful coming-of-age story that follows a young girl and her new friend as they learn about family, friendship, allyship, and finding your way in a complicated world.

It’s the summer of 1987, and all ten-year-old Bug wants to do is go to the beach with her older brother and hang out with the locals on the boardwalk. But Danny wants to be with his own friends, and Bug’s mom is too busy, so Bug is stuck with their neighbor Philip’s nephew, Frankie.

Bug’s not too excited about hanging out with a kid she’s never met, but they soon find some common ground. And as the summer unfolds, they find themselves learning some important lessons about each other, and the world.

Like what it means to be your true self and how to be a good ally for others. That family can be the people you’re related to, but also the people you choose to have around you. And that even though life isn’t always fair, we can all do our part to make it more just.



These two characters come across so naturally, they could be waiting for the reader on the doorstep and invite them for a day of friendship and fun.

Bug is ten and not exactly happy, since her favorite part of every year is falling flat thanks to her brother, who wants more space from her. Yep, her brother and that hurts. When she accidentally suggests staying at home as the best alternative, she's even less excited to learn she'll be spending time with the neighbor's relative, Frankie, a kid none of them have ever met, and a person, who has their very own reasons why they don't quite fit in. But this isn't the only issue as a serial murderer combs the city,  gangs cause issues and more.

Set in the 1980's, this book takes a look at a time before cell phones and internet...allowing the life of Bug and Frankie to evolve in a world, which really centers on the world around them. Bug is a very normal girl, who isn't pleased to learn that her favorite vacation spot has been cancelled because her brother has gotten older (14) and wants his space. From her. This sibling and family dynamic, and that set with just a mother raising two kids, is already a theme in and of itself, but the author adds so much more.  Wonderful neighbors and many outside issues give it depth and more than a little food for thought.

The arrival of Frankie, with his/her oddities, and the later forming friendship lay at the heart of this story and show how amazing friendship can be. The theme of acceptance and individuality is very clear as well. But the wholesome messages meld with more troublesome and even dangerous plot lines to create an intriguing tale, which does have the reader more than curious what the end will bring. A serial murderer is on the loose, Bug's mother is working hard on it in the mayor's office, and the local gangs and such also make life more than difficult. That's not even including the gun shot noises Bug hears every now and then. So, this is more than a calm, emotional tale of friendship.

All of this is woven into a very, well-told story. The writing is more than smooth and allows the world to come to life. The characters, especially the neighbor named Phillip, carry wonderful attributes and quirks, which make them hard not to like. Some of the problems pop-up a little out of nowhere in the scenes, but it does keep suspense higher too.

And here she is...

Gayle Forman is an award-winning author and journalist whose articles have appeared in numerous publications, including SeventeenCosmopolitan, and Elle in the US. Gayle Forman’s novel, If I Stay, was released as a blockbuster movie starring Chloë Grace Moretz in 2014. Her most recent YA novel is We Are Inevitable. Gayle lives in Brooklyn, New York with her family.

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