[Review] Frankie by Shivaun Plozza

18:00 Cilla P 4 Comments

Title: Frankie
Author: Shivaun Plozza
Publisher: Penguin
Source: Bought
Synopsis: Frankie Vega is angry.

Just ask the guy whose nose she broke. Or the cop investigating the burglary she witnessed, or her cheating ex-boyfriend or her aunt who's tired of giving second chances...When a kid shows up claiming to be Frankie's half brother, it opens the door to a past she doesn't want to remember. And when that kid goes missing, the only person willing to help is a boy with stupidly blue eyes … and secrets of his own. Frankie's search for the truth might change her life, or cost her everything.

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A couple of months ago, I went to #YASquad2016, whose line-up included Shivaun Plozza. Writerly advice and discussions were had, but there was one thing Shivaun said that stuck out to me. I'm paraphrasing here, but she mentioned that she had to get the voice of the character right before she could write. Not surprisingly, Frankie's voice is the strongest thing about Frankie.

Frankie, as a character, leaps off the page. That anger that defines her burns on just about every page without crossing the line to overdramatic. Importantly, as the story unfolds, you begin to understand why she's so mad. Understanding doesn't always make it easy to stand by her though. I flinched at every other decision she made. I have to admit that I was frustrated enough to nearly give up on her, and then wondered if that made me the same as most of the adults in her life.

The disappearance of Frankie's half brother was a compelling mystery to follow. I desperately wanted her to find him and for everything to end happily ever after. It was so frustrating to me that Frankie had to pretty much take matters into her own hand given the socio-economic background she and the missing teen came from. However, it is, I suspect, true to reality, which made me think about how many kids might be missing that we never hear about on the news.

As for the setting, it's always fascinating to read a book set in the city you live in. Reading this, it's almost like I live in a different Melbourne than the one Frankie lives in, but that's not to say that Shivaun has got it wrong. A city this big can have multiple faces, and Shivaun paints this particular one so well. I could almost smell the kebab.

All in all, this was an enjoyable story. Though the heroine was hard to love at first, she's also hard to forget once you get to know her. I'd recommend this to anyone looking for a YA contemporary with more grit and less fluff.

Reading this book contributes to the following challenges:

  • Goodreads Challenge
  • Around the World 2016


  1. Ahhh, this book is on my TBR, and I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed it! I'm not sure if I'd like Frankie from all the reviews I've read so far, but I'm keen to see it for myself.

    And it does feel super great reading a book set in a city you're in. I think the book that made me so giggly before for this reason was Melissa Keil's Life in Outer Space, haha. Have you read that yet? :D

    1. Let me know when you've read it! I'll be keen to hear what you think :D Oooh I haven't read that, but I saw that you posted a review of it - I'll go check that out soon!

  2. Voice is soooo important. When I'm writing, the book doesn't even start to sound right until I get the voice down. I'm glad Frankie has got a strong voice and I can't wait to read this one! I'd love to meet Shivaun Plozza too :)

    1. Yes! I think it's part of getting the character right - if we don't have a feel for them, it's hard to tell their story. Shivaun was so lovely, I hope you do meet her someday! :)


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