Franny Parker by Hannah Roberts McKinnon
Franny has grown up in a small Oklahoma town surrounded by her loving family. She has become known for rescuing baby animals and the entire town now brings her tiny furry bundles. When Lucas moves in next door, Franny naively thinks that his past is similar to hers. But readers will realize before Franny does that Lucas and his mother have serious problems that they are running from. Rescuing Lucas proves much more difficult than rescuing animals, and Franny is not sure that they even want to be rescued at all.
McKinnon’s debut novel is very strong. Her characterization of the rather naive Franny also shows Franny’s wisdom about certain things. Lucas is portrayed as much more than a troubled teen with his own way with animals and children. The adults in the small community are drawn with history, clarity and style. This is a family that I loved spending time with.
Small touches in the novel make it even more grounded and real. The annual reading contest at the library, the local fair, and a strong connection to the rural landscape bring the setting fully to life. McKinnon has a strong sense of place and character.
And the cover! Love it! It has a freshness, a friendliness, that perfectly matches what is inside.
Franny is a character readers will love meeting. She is inspirational, interesting and unique. Highly recommended for ages 11-13.
Reviewed from library copy.
Also reviewed by A Patchwork of Books.