Love Frankie by Jacqueline Wilson
|Love Frankie by Jacqueline Wilson|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Lovely kitchen sink story about Frankie, who is awakening into a sexuality while worrying about her mum, who is ill with MS, and disliking her dad, who upped and left and has a new girlfriend. Wilson's lightness of touch and kindness make this a tender but real read.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 432||Date: August 2020|
|External links: Author's website|
Frankie is nearly fourteen. Being nearly fourteen is not easy when your mum has been diagnosed with MS, when your dad has decided to leave her for another woman, when your older sister has turned into the girliest girl who ever lived, and, above all, when Sally and her mates are bullying you at school. Oh, and when Sam, your best friend since forever, suddenly starts sending out signs that he might fancy you - and you don't fancy him back.
But then Sally stops being mean and starts being friendly. And she turns out to be rather... charismatic. Soon, Frankie and Sally are spending almost all their time together and Frankie spends all her time thinking about Sally when they're apart. These feelings aren't like any others Frankie has had before. Is she falling in love with Sally? And, if she is, is Sally falling in love with Frankie too?
I love Jacqueline Wilson. After all this time writing relatable stories for young girls, she still hasn't dimmed.She doesn't shy away from the most serious of issues but she has a lightness of touch and a deep well of clear compassion so reading her opens the heart rather than sends fear into the souls of her young readers. In this story, Frankie's mum is quite seriously ill, dealing with a relapse in her MS. The trap many children's writers fall into is to cast the child as an heroic figure, fighting their parents battles for them. But taking on the responsibility for a parent's wellbeing isn't what a child should be doing and Wilson always makes this clear. Children worry about their parents in her novels, as Frankie does here, but Wilson never assigns them sole responsibility for making things better. That's an important message for young people to hear.
Frankie has an ill mother and is dealing with resentment over her father leaving home for another woman. But she also has her own life going on - a new and burgeoning sexuality, tied up into a crush on another girl and an affection for the boy who's been her best friend ever since she can remember. That's the focus of Love Frankie and that's how it should be. And who couldn't like Frankie? She's passionate and impulsive and she feels things deeply. Sometimes she lets her bad side go - in particular at her father and grandmother. Every girl with a sister will recognise her relationship with Zara - by turns supportive and close and competitive and bitchy.
First love, eh? It never runs smooth. But who else would we turn to in order to reassure ourselves that it'll turn out alright in the end? Nobody but Jacqueline Wilson, of course!
Skylarks by Karen Gregory is pitched at slightly older readers but also features a young same-sex attracted girl in a romance with an underpinning of social issues.
You can read more book reviews or buy Love Frankie by Jacqueline Wilson at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Love Frankie by Jacqueline Wilson at Amazon.com.
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