Three years ago I read a lovely debut novel geared more towards middle grade readers and, since then, I've been waiting for the author's next book to come out. Now we finally have a YA novel from the amazing mind of Gae Polisner. There are those novels you read that are contemporary, but have the slightest hint of magic, and you're not sure if the magic is REAL or if it's just believed to be real by the characters (which, sometimes means it is, right?), and that's something that's so hard to do. Honestly I've only ever found two authors who do it right, and Gae is one of those two. This book has so much feeling in it, and I can't seem to get over the fact that it's somehow both heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time. I mean really, how does that even work? There's a little bit of mystery, some kissing, death, redemption, and forgiveness all wrapped into one little book that has a really big heart. The main character, Frankie (the girl) was flawed, but it made her whole and real in a way that I totally understood. The other Frankie (the little boy) was so much fun, and I smiled every time I read parts with him in them. I would have liked to see a little more of the best friend and her boyfriend, but seeing as that's not really what the book was about I understand why there was only so much of them in there. Although I really don't have a lot in common with the girl Frankie in terms of what's going on in her life I felt like I connected with her perfectly emotionally. Overall the book has a slightly magical undertone with real characters and whimsical bits and pieces scattered throughout the novel that made it that much better. I do have some questions for Gae regarding how the book ends, but that's okay, because it does wrap it up nicely in a way that completes the story while still keeping a few things left to the mind of the reader. Everyone should at least look into this book because it's something that could appeal to almost anyone and has an underlying message that's just so important it should be shared. I can't wait to see what Gae comes up with next as I'm sure I'll be reading that too.
Out March 25, 2014
4.5/5 dust spirits
*Thanks to Algonquin for providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review