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frannie and truWhat: Frannie and Tru by Karen Hattrup

Who: HarperTeen

When: May 31st 2016

How: A copy of this novel was provided by HarperCollins for review via Edelweiss.

When Frannie Little eavesdrops on her parents fighting she discovers that her cousin Truman is gay, and his parents are so upset they are sending him to live with her family for the summer. At least, that’s what she thinks the story is. . . When he arrives, shy Frannie befriends this older boy, who is everything that she’s not–rich, confident, cynical, sophisticated. Together, they embark on a magical summer marked by slowly unraveling secrets.

2cats2I was drawn to Frannie and Tru because of the supremely gorgeous cover (I mean just look at it), and also the blurb. I thought it sounded pretty interesting, and from what it said I thought there might have been a possibility that it could be LGBTQIA+ (sadly, that wasn’t the case).

To be honest, I am not entirely sure what to think about Frannie and Tru, because I don’t really feel like there was a lot to this novel. I would describe it as a snap-shot book. Sure, most books are just a snap-shot into the lives of our characters, but those snap-shots are usually the most drama-filled or exciting or whatever moments of those lives. Frannie’s snap-shot didn’t really fall into that niche.

The snap-shot of Frannie and Tru followed Frannie’s summer, when she was fifteen and her cousin, Truman, came to stay because of troubles back home. Frannie was desperate to be his friend, to show that she didn’t care about the fact that Tru is gay, and wanted to have the best summer of her life.

Tru was Frannie’s manic pixie dream boy. He was sassy and sarcastic but also had an underlying sadness. He introduced Frannie to super cool friends, and took her drinking and clubbing, and tried to get her to smoke weed. He made her think about the assumptions she made about people and herself and experiences and life in general. He made her step outside of her comfort zone. He made her appreciate herself. He changed her. Manic pixie dream boy indeed.

Frannie was quite an interesting character. She did a lot of imaginary scenarios in her head, which really reminded me of, well, me.  When I was a teenager (and let’s be real, sometimes I do it now), I’d lie awake just trying to go to sleep, and I would conjure up these massive fantasies about what would happen with my life, and with certain people. So to read a character that has that same trait was kind of awesome, really.

During the book, Frannie realised her own prejudices and assumptions that she made about people, especially people of colour, and gay people (I say only gay because she didn’t mention any other queer identities). I liked the fact that she realised the way she had been thinking of people outside her own white, straight existence were wrong, and that she shouldn’t have been thinking like that at all. I liked that she confronted herself, and also brought those confrontations to the reader, as well. I think this aspect of the book was probably one of the best because it could bring these important discussions to people who need them or have never thought about them or wanted them confirmed. I’ve never read a book where the main character realises that their way of thinking is wrong and harmful and naïve. A+

That being said, there were moments when Frannie and her family were talking about the kid that Frannie babysits, Duncan – who is autistic – and they were very ableist discussions. II felt a little let down by the fact that the realisations that Frannie has regarding race and homosexuality didn’t also extend to her inherent ableism.

Overall, I felt like I didn’t really get much from Frannie and Tru. I felt, most of the time, like I wasn’t getting a grasp on ~ the point~ of the book. Why was I reading about Frannie’s summer with her manic pixie dream boy? Her first kiss? Her first drink? I didn’t really know what I was supposed to take away from it all. But that’s entirely personal. Everyone takes something different away from a book and perhaps that something was just missing for me in Frannie and Tru.

I think if you’re a fan of snap-shot novels, and ones where characters realise who they are in a more broad sense in that snap-shot, then Frannie and Tru is something I would recommend.

© 2016, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.

trigger warning: sexual assault (of a minor), ableism (mentalism), racism, homophobia, separated parents (due to affair), physical assault, emotional abuse, and bullying in this novel

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Posted on: May 27, 2016 • By: Chiara

6 Responses to Review: Frannie and Tru by Karen Hattrup

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