Today I managed to read all of Franny Parker by Hannah Roberts McKinnon. This is a great tween novel and I was sucked in pretty quickly. I do love realistic fiction for girls and am always on the lookout for a book that teaches a few life lessons without coming off as preachy. Franny Parker manages to do this, using some beautiful language along the way.
I've learned that some secrets a person shouldn't be asked to keep. But there are others that are easy to keep, that are downright delicious. Like the swirling circle of old friends in a wooded grove, the dance that calls the rain. Friendship is a powerful thing (148).
Franny is growing up in small town Oklahoma during a drought, enjoying the summer of her thirteenth year. She is especially excited about their new neighbors, Lindy and Lucas Dunn. Lucas is a reader like Franny and loans her his copy of The Yearling, giving Franny more attention than her older sister Sidda. Yet, something isn't right with Lucas and his mother who seem to have a secret to hide. Franny is also busy with her animal hospital where she cares for injured and unwanted animals. McKinnon's book offers a bit of suspense as readers find out what secret Lucas harbors, and wonder if Franny will be able to keep his secret and whether she should keep his secret. This story is not fast paced, unfolding much as real life does. McKinnon's book has a timeless feel to it; as I was reading it took me a while to realize that this book was not historical fiction. It could easily have been set long ago or during recent years. Franny's growing up is a universal experience and the issues she encounters bring about some grown-up realization.
This is McKinnon's first book and I will be looking forward to any of her future work.