Do you know the feeling when you’ve outgrown one of your favourite childhood authors? No? Good – it’s not nice.
Name: Love Frankie
Author: Jacqueline Wilson
Frankie is nearly fourteen and teenage life certainly comes with its ups and downs. Her mum is seriously ill with MS and Frankie can feel herself growing up quickly, no thanks to Sally and her gang of bullies at school. When Sally turns out to be not-so-mean after all, they strike up a friendship and are suddenly spending all of their time together. But Frankie starts to wonder whether these feelings she has for Sally are stronger than her other friendships. Might she really be in love?
Frankie doesn’t want Sally to just be her friend. She wants her to be her girlfriend. But does Sally feel the same?
This was probably my most anticipated release of 2020. Like so many other Gen Z kids, Jaqueline Wilson was my favourite author growing up – I used to have the magazine and everything – and I can now boast an almost complete collection of her books that I have no use for anymore. So, when I saw that she was writing a book for teens about a girl falling in love with her best friend, I was so excited. Despite the fact that I may be a little too old for Jaqueline Wilson, this was a topic that’s so infrequently covered in children’s books and I really wanted to read it. Because, after all, how bad could it really be?
The book opens on Frankie hanging out with her boy best friend Sam, who seems a little too interested in whether she’d be up for dating anyone (any ideas where this might be going?)… but, anyone, not just him. Obviously. In a true Jaqueline Wilson fashion, we then learn that Frankie’s dad left them when she was younger and her mum has just been diagnosed with MS. Obviously.
IF YOU CAN NAME A JAQUELINE WILSON BOOK WHERE a) the parents are together AND b) one of them isn’t dying THEN YOU CAN WIN AN ALMOST COMPLETE SELECTION OF HER BOOKS
– courtesy of 9 year old me 🙂
Love Frankie shouldn’t have been set in 2020. All the characters talked as if they were extras in a film promoting how Eloquent The Youth Of Today Are. It was sort of comforting – heart-warming to see how a 74 year old woman thought teens addressed each other. Some parts were heart warming and cosy, but in others it seemed too rose-tinted and Frankie often came across as just a bit cringe-inducing. Plus, it meant we were treated to the fabulous insult ‘at least I’m not a Billy no friends like you!‘. Which isn’t quite what the kids are calling each other these days Jaqueline, but 10/10 for imagination.
The pace was slow and for the most part of the book Sally and Frankie weren’t together which honestly waiting was boring. It was a thick book, and when things eventually went down, I couldn’t see the attraction between them. No matter how good your character developments, or fancy descriptions of fields are, if the love interest and the main character don’t work well together then I’m not going to like it. My favourite romance books are the ones where the characters get to know each other for a bit; you can see the connection between them and you’re rooting for them to get together so much it’s much more powerful when they do. That didn’t come across as much in Love Frankie, which was a shame.
Stop! Can we stop for a moment to appreciate how freaking cute this image is. Pretty much all my images are taken from the Pixels Free Library which comes with WordPress (would recommend to add a little *spice* to your page) and I’m thinking of doing a post where I share some of my favourites?
The ending is the most important part of the book. It’s what gives you your lasting impression; like how a decent plot twist might save a terrible mystery. So you need to take time giving the characters a nice, rounded conclusion (yes I’m talking to you Rainbow Rowell) and I felt like the ending of ‘Love Frankie’ was too rushed. I’m so glad that books about lesbians are coming out into children’s fiction, but I think it would have worked better written by an author who had a better understanding of how modern teens view sexuality – and how they talk! Jaqueline Wilson will always have a special place in my heart but this wasn’t her best book.