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FRANNY PARKER by Hannah Roberts McKinnon

FRANNY PARKER

By Hannah Roberts McKinnon

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: June 3rd, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-374-32469-8
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

A first-person narration recounts Franny’s 13th summer, in a drought-stricken Oklahoma town. Having taken on the care of wild animals in need, she spends much of her time in the family barn nursing baby birds, tiny mice and a broken-shelled turtle. When Lucas Dunn and his mother move in next door, it’s quickly obvious they’re hiding something, and secrets aren’t easy to keep in such a small town. All becomes clear when Lucas’s father turns up and resumes his abusive ways. Although she (having fallen for Lucas in a big way) and her parents reach out to the Dunns, as Franny’s father says, “It’s a strange thing, offering help. Sometimes the people who need it most don’t want to take it.” It is clear that Franny is recollecting a summer from a few years earlier, and McKinnon’s evocative writing is often lovely, offering a more mature perspective than a young teen would have as she sums up the themes of that summer. Believable dialogue and well-developed characters enhance this promising debut novel. (Fiction. 10-14)