Title: Frankie and Bug
Author: Gayle Forman
Genre: Middle Grade, LGBTQ
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: October 12, 2021
In the debut middle grade novel from #1 New York Timesbestselling author Gayle Forman comes a poignant and powerful coming-of-age story that follows a young girl and her new friend as they learn about family, friendship, allyship, and finding your way in a complicated world.
It’s the summer of 1987, and all ten-year-old Bug wants to do is go to the beach with her older brother and hang out with the locals on the boardwalk. But Danny wants to be with his own friends, and Bug’s mom is too busy, so Bug is stuck with their neighbor Philip’s nephew, Frankie.
Bug’s not too excited about hanging out with a kid she’s never met, but they soon find some common ground. And as the summer unfolds, they find themselves learning some important lessons about each other, and the world.
Like what it means to be your true self and how to be a good ally for others. That family can be the people you’re related to, but also the people you choose to have around you. And that even though life isn’t always fair, we can all do our part to make it more just.
1987: Ten-year-old Bug just wants to spend the summer with her older brother at the beach like they’ve done for the past few years. Instead, her fourteen-year-old brother Danny, has decided he needs to spend time with his friends instead of his little sister. Their neighbour’s nephew, Frankie, comes to visit for the summer and spend time with Bug. However, Frankie isn’t interested in the same things as Bug. He doesn’t want to go to the beach. Instead, he wants to investigate the murders happening in the area. Throughout the summer, Frankie and Bug learn life lessons, including that family can be the people you choose to be close to, instead of your relatives.
This was such a beautiful story. It included some important life lessons that Frankie and Bug had to learn. They both had problems within their family, with some family members not treating them fairly. Bug often pointed out when things weren’t fair, but not everything in life is fair.
There were some emotional subplots in this story. I won’t give away what happened, but there was a transgender character as well as a gay character. Neither of these characters were treated fairly when others knew their gender identity. Though these were tough subjects, they were handled really well for a middle grade reader. There were some upsetting scenes, but generally these topics were treated in a positive way.
Frankie and Bug is a beautiful middle grade coming of age story!
Thank you Simon and Schuster Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
What to read next:
Shark Summer by Ira Marcks
Shirley and Jamila Save Their Summer by Gillian Goerz
Have you read Frankie and Bug? What did you think of it?