Eleven-year-old Frankie Greene’s life is filled with complications.
She lives with her dad and maternal grandmother in a quirky bed-and-breakfast acquired after her mother’s death, where she cheerfully carries out her share of responsibilities, including baking the guests’ welcome cookies. The white, nonobservant, Jewish family (indicated by references to Jewish traditions) keeps Mom in their lives in many ways, and Frankie converses with her via her journal entries. But there are secrets to be uncovered. Gram’s hoarding is encroaching on public space, her backyard storage shed sets best friend Elliot’s ghost-hunter meter soaring, and someone is spreading rumors of ghosts at the B&B around town, causing cancellations at the inn. Frankie must work on a school assignment with her former best friend, Jessica, who abruptly ended their friendship back in fourth grade. Frankie has also established an online profile in her father’s name so she can select someone who might meet her strict criteria for a new mother. Frankie is honest and ever hopeful as she narrates her own fast-paced tale of confusions, worries, and headlong lapses of judgment. She is fully accepting of her charmingly eccentric family and friends. All the pieces come together in the end with many surprises. Ghost rumors are dispatched, friendships restored, and problems acknowledged and addressed. Their Vermont community seems to be a mostly white one.
Readers will laugh and commiserate and root for Frankie all the way. (resources, acknowledgements) (Fiction. 9-12)