Frankie

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 07 Nov 2017

Member Reviews

I would like to know what the people of Australia are drinking because goddamn can they write. I have yet to read a book by an Aussie author that I’ve disliked. The quality of their writing is so superior to any other writing styles that I’ve encountered. Frankie was no different. It was such a fresh, riveting story with an extremely compelling main character.

I loved Frankie. She’s a giant ball of fury and I related quite a bit to her. She’s angry, pissed off and unapologetic about it all. I mean this is a girl who punches a douche-nozzle at school and gets expelled for it, but doesn’t care about it because he deserved it. Her life is thrown upside down when she finds out that she has a half-brother, Xavier, who gets in contact with her. Only a few days later, Xavier goes missing, and Frankie tries to look for him. You get to experience every emotion with Frankie as she navigates finding her brother, new discoveries about her mother, and as she battles real life, in general. Shivaun Plozza writes emotions really well, and I loved that I was so in sync with Frankie. I also liked Xavier a lot. He was such a sweet kid, with a heart of gold. He goes out of his way to connect with Frankie before he goes missing, and it’s the most endearing thing. Frankie’s aunt, Vinnie, who raises her is another character I absolutely adored. She’s a sassy spitfire who takes no bullshit from anyone. She’s so wonderfully strong and supportive though, and just the sort of loving person Frankie needs in her life. Even when Frankie drives her mad, she is just there for her niece and it warmed my cold heart!

I also loved how much attention was given to the Melbourne setting. It comes to life in Frankie, and I loved how the landscape was just as much part of a story as the characters were. It’s bright, vivid and I felt like I was in Melbourne while I was reading Frankie. It’s also a book that touches on issues like privilege, socioeconomic conditions and the importance given to people with more wealth and power, by the very people who are supposed to help you. There’s also a bit of a romance with a mysterious fellow in Frankie. It’s subtle, but I loved it. I constantly looked forward to their interactions. They had a hate-to-love vibe that I totally dug. Honestly, this is such a fantastic story, and it’s going on my list of re-reads for sure. I love it when a book makes me feel every emotion. By the end of Frankie I was an absolute mess, because it hit me right in the heart.

All in all, Frankie was a fantastic read. Be sure to add this to your TBR if you’re looking for a stellar YA contemporary, especially if you’re a Marchetta fan!
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To be honest, this wasn't my favorite and it took me a while to really get into it. The book follows Frankie, a rebellious teen trying to control her anger and figure out who she is. Some of the characters fell flat, and could have used a bit more development (especially Vinnie, Frankie's aunt) and some parts of the plot were illogical. That said, this is suitable for older teens as it deals with subjects such as: anger, grief, substance abuse, sexuality, violence, therapy, etc.
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I did not read this galley in it's entirety. Though I enjoyed what I did read.
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I tried to finish this title, but couldn't. I struggled to get into the story and had a hard time relating to or even liking the characters.
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The central plot isn't a new one, broad strokes wise. The central character seeking answers at the cost of all else, every friendship, familial tie, and her future. Its equal parts desire for answers and avoidance of other issues. I can't say I loved it. Admirable but not loveable
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Frankie lives with her Aunt Vinnie above Terry’s Kebab Emporium, her addict mother having walked out years before. Currently suspended from school for engaging in a fight with the class bully, Frankie is tough and scrappy because she has to be. As the novel opens, Frankie discovers a brother, a talented street artist, she never knew she had. However, shortly after their meeting, Xavier goes missing, and Frankie seems to be the only one who truly cares.

Frankie takes to back streets and junkie warrens searching for clues to Xavier’s whereabouts. Along the way she picks up bad boy pickpocket Nate, and together they question all who know Xavier.

I really like Frankie’s punk-yet-vulnerable voice. I love the author’s sensuous descriptions of street art hidden around the city; in fact, I would have enjoyed even more art. It was that rich. The author does a good--scratch that--great job of putting abandonment and its terrible legacy onto paper. Despite the tough love of Aunt Vinnie, Frankie is gripped by a sense of loss. Why wasn’t she good enough for her mother to keep? And it is this as much as anything that drives her search for the brother she never knew she had.

The middle bogged down for me in an endless Waiting for Godot loop. Blowing off school, lying to Aunt Vinnie, mistreating her childhood friend, searching for Xavier, mooning over Nate’s blue eyes, blowing off school--every day and every night the same. At times, you find yourself wanting to beat Frankie with a wet noodle for her less than stellar choices.

Although at times I felt I had entered a teen Waiting for Godot, a pitch perfect ending brought all the plot elements--high school drama, drug dealers, working class values, first love--together and, for me, proved worth the wait.

I received a copy of Frankie from Net Galley.
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I was unable to get past the use of Australian slang to actually enjoy the book. The premise is intriguing and I love a good sibling relationship but I honestly wanted to shake the main characters and tell them to use proper English. I don't know anyone, teenagers included, who use that much slang...unless I just don't notice it because it's slang I'm used to, which is possible, of cours.e
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Frankie is too angsty for me. Both her character and her story have little plot point other than her anger. I appreciate that as a focal point for teens and therefore for teen literature, but I’m also so tired of that routine of labeling and describing teens as angsty, particularly teens with trauma in their background. Sure, anger is often masked as a primary emotion, but there is so much more there for kids than just fear and anger, so this book didn’t do much for me.

The main plot is that Frankie, a long ago orphaned child who doesn’t know where either her mother or father is, finds her long lost half brother. She’s been suspended from school for punching another student, and she’s supposed to grovel her way back in. Meanwhile, she meets her long lost half brother, who she assumes was left by their mother a long time ago as well. Tension rises for her when she finds out their mother kept him until he was thirteen. Then he goes missing.

Frankie cannot keep it together. Usually I can empathize with young heroines who have a hard time saying the right thing, staying in school for behavioral issues, and conflicts with their parents or guardians. However, Frankie is just such a negative Nancy about everything, I have such a hard time relating to her. I can see how some people might find a connection to her anger, and she clearly has attachment disorder and probably a slew of other things from neglect, abandonment, and her youth in general. However, I didn’t find I liked any of the characters, and I liked Frankie the least, so nonetheless I found it difficult to get into.

I can’t even truly appreciate the ending because Plozza does nothing to wrap up all the loose ties! A paragraph per person is not enough for the conclusion of a novel, at least in my eyes. Am I missing something about this book that everyone else found enjoyable?

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley.com.
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I read this about two months ago, so let's see if I remember everything yikes. I'll tell you that I primarily read this because Melina Marchetta blurbed it, and she's my favorite author.

This book was pretty heartbreaking; the writing really shows you how Frankie is feeling, so you feel her anger and sadness throughout the whole book. I loved her sense of humor too, and her relationship with her aunt was really nice. However, the plot left a little to be desired, so I thought the book could have been a little longer. Also, I didn't care for the romance as much as I probably should have honestly.

If you liked Melina Marchetta's or Fiona Wood's or Cath Crowley's (all my favorite Australian authors lol) books, you'll love this one. The writing and the heartbreakingness and the FEELINGS, yeah, you'll all get that in this one.
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Frankie took me by surprise. As I first started to read Frankie I was unsure if this book was for me… something about it wasn’t quite what I usually go for when reading a book. Then I kept reading. That’s when I found myself hooked in this eccentric and angst filled read that took me on a journey I never expected to have.

No character is fully good or bad. Everyone was grey in the best of ways. Frankie especially. Frankie feels like she is cursed to be bad like all Vegas are and when she finds her brother with a checkered past and he leaves as swiftly as he comes she does anything and everything she can to find him.

This book is full of angst and dark humor as well as some relationships that seem to want to sink and some that are just becoming stronger. No matter the situation this story had a lot of heart and a lot of hope and that is what made me fall in love with it. It was quirky and at times quiet yet loud. It drew me in and I got caught up with all the lines that were crossed and the grey of the morality with so many of the things that had to happen for her to find her brother.

Frankie is an eclectic gem of a novel that leads you into some sticky situations where love kinda trips you along the way. Frankie is fun, funny, and heartwarmingly genuine in all the best of ways. I 100% recommend it!
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Frankie is a whirlwind story with great characters that will grab you and take you for a ride that will end quickly, and not as you expect it to. Reading just the brief description through GoodReads or Amazon let’s you know that Frankie is angry. Not just at the people in her life, but at the circumstances that have gotten her where she is.

The plot of the book picks up quickly and moves fast. After meeting Frankie and Ethan, you can’t help but hope these two kids are kindred spirits and can develop their relationship to be the missing link that each of them seems to be missing.

The characters of the book are strong. From Frankie, and her aunt, who is just as fierce as Frankie, to the supporting characters like Ethan, and even his partner in crime. The characters are fierce, and my feeling about them continued to grow throughout the story. While angry, Frankie is easy to like, and you find yourself rooting for her, not just to find Ethan, but to get her life straightened out and back on track.

The writing style is a bit simple, but it works well for the storyline. If the language was more complex it would be difficult to feel a kinship with Frankie, and to want to learn the rest of her story.

Overall, it’s a fast read that’s enjoyable. While the ending isn’t my favorite part of the story, it works to help Frankie appreciate what she has.
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I picked this book up on a whim, because of the beautiful cover, not knowing anything, not having any specific expectations. This book absolutely blew me away, made me laugh out loud, sob a puddle of tears, yell really loudly. In other words, this gorgeous debut novel tore my heart out of my chest, wrecked me completely. Every single page is so raw and packed with haunting emotions that will be left lingering even after you turn the last page. 

We follow Frankie who is a character that I loved so fiercely. She is an angry fiery badass that it one of my favorite teens that I’ve ever read about. In other words I can imagine her marching the streets of Melbourne as this kickass passionate feminist. Basically everything that I project onto myself, is what Frankie is but one thousand more amazing. I’m having a hard time her describing because it’s like fireworks and I’ve never wanted someone to be my best friend so hard before. 

Frankie has some serious abandonment issues because of her complicated family situation, but when she finds her half-brother Xavier and witnesses a crime being committing, she gets wrapped up into the story of his life. Throughout the whole book, she stops at nothing to try to find Xavier, who mysteriously went missing a couple of days after she first met him. 

The fact that the author has mastered the craft of write realistic and imperfect teens makes me appreciate this book hundreds of times more. I’ve heard some people say that she comes off as an unlikeable character, however I thought the fact that she was a flawed human being who’s so real made her all the more interesting dammit. 

If you know my reading tastes at all, I’m not usually someone who loves romance and a plot point or side thing in YA novels. However in this one it was very subtle and side-lined because of the laser focus for the search for missing Xavier. If it was overpowering, I would be really disappointed, but here it’s portrayed as a background thing while there is much more urgent goal. 

To all my Australian friend, this is set in Melbourne, in her aunt quaint kebab shop a lot of the time. There is a strong sense of setting, the author talk about the park and places where Frankie grew up her whole life. So if you’re familiar with the area you’ll instantly recognize some of the regular sights. 

One of my favorite things was the strong female friendships Frankie and her bestie, as well as the complicated relationship with her aunt (who adopted her at a young age). They’re just portrayed as messy,soul-sucking, and life-giving relationships as teenage girls tend to have. At some points I felt myself screaming “Don’t forget about the wonderful women in your life who love you so very much!” in frustration as a reminder that Frankie doesn’t have to do this completely alone. If I learned one thing from this book is that you’ll show up when your loved ones are in trouble with fire inside your bones. If you want to play with fire, go read this book. You’ll get burned and not regret a second of it. 

**Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me a copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own**
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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.

Link to blog review: https://amwillisjournal.wordpress.com/2017/11/06/arc-review-frankie-by-shivaun-plozza/
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Frankie is the living and beating heart of this book. I was impressed with the writing since it never once breaks character (hehe). Every word echoes her anger which is volcanic levels of angst and frustration. She can be hard to like - if not for a few genuine moments which are few and far in between, I would have given up on her.

It's a character driven plot and Frankie doesn't really undergo too much character development until the very end. She's very smart and is quick as a whip to snap back at anyone. It's entertaining but then Frankie will push back against those who are trying to help her.

Her younger brother is only in the picture for a bit of the book, and the few glimpses we get of him aren't that much. Yet it has a profound effect on Frankie. I wasn't completely sold on that connection between them but her determination to find him is touching. The chance of a family is something she fights for and is admirable. Every bad decision she makes (and she makes quite a lot of them) are for him. 

Ultimately, I enjoyed this book but I wasn't completely taken with it. It does a fair job of exploring family issues such as abandonment and identity.
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I just could not get interested in this book. Half the time, I forgot who Xavier was. The writing was great, the characters were just... forgettable.
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This book didn't really work for me. I'll admit that I was largely interested in it because of Melina Marchetta's blurb on the cover, but I'm afraid that the quality did not quite live up to Marchetta's work. Frankie's anger was realistic, but it felt like it was going nowhere, and I didn't feel like there was any potential for her to change. It took a while for the story to get going, and I understand that it's complicated to establish a character as new in someone's life, and then emphasize the horror of their disappearance, but I don't think Pilozza accomplished that. I just didn't care about Xavier, nor did I see why Frankie was willing to break down her walls for him and not for anyone else.

I read some reviews on Goodreads that mentioned the importance of Frankie's neighborhood. I think that significance was lost on me because I'm not native to Australia and thus did not recognize the references. While I believe that a book should be able to convey that to universal audiences who are unaware of the context, I also understand that some things will just always be irrelevant to foreign people, and it's acceptable for that neighborhood's  meaning to be saved for native readers.
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I know Frankie is angry, but that doesn't mean her voice is supposed to be difficult the whole time. Also the big spoiler that happens is very easy to predict which sucks.
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I. Love. Frankie. She's spunky and different from any character that I have read about in a long time. Interesting premise as well. I can't wait to buy a finish copy of this!
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A dark but ultimately hopeful read, this book is definitely intended for OLDER teens.  The subject matter is creepy and Frankie, the protagonist, is no role model, but she is likable, a fighter, and Plozza writes her so well.  

I teach 7th grade at a school with a lot of students who are what you might term “at risk.” A lot of them have stories similar to Frankie’s: drug addicted parents, half siblings, school suspensions for violence, and extended family members, like grandmas or aunts, who step up to do the actual parenting.  Plozza made me feel like I was finally seeing the world through their eyes.  I understood, listening to Frankie’s thoughts, why someone who’s smart would still engage in risky self-destructive behavior.  The sullen no-man’s land that adults see in the eyes of defiant teenagers was suddenly peopled by a host of understandable and relatable emotions, when navigated by Frankie’s bold narration.

The only part that made me raise my eyebrows was the love story.  Only there did I have trouble suspending my disbelief.
All in all, a wonderful story ably told!  Best kept out of the hands of those younger than 15, if possible.
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