Review Blog

Jul 22 2015

Frankie and Joely by Nova Weetman

cover image

University of Queensland Press, 2015. ISBN 9780702253638
(Age: 13-14) Themes: Friendship, boyfriends, first love, family, small town life Australia. Best friends Joely and Frankie don't have much in common but they recognise in each other some shared need and they have become close as only 15 year old girls can be. Joely invites Frankie to spend a week of the summer holidays at her aunt and uncle's outback farm. Joely's mum is overprotective and anxious but agrees to let them go, while Frankie's mum hardly registers if Frankie is around, let alone if she is ok, and sometimes she is not OK when her mother's sleazy boyfriends get too close.
The drought affected farm and Joely's boy cousins hold a special place in her heart and she can't wait to show Frankie around but typically Frankie does her own thing and gets to know everyone without Joely's help. Miffed that she has lost control of the situation Joely accepts a ride on her cousin's motorbike and they crash into a kangaroo resulting in the death of the roo. Best friends can't be mad at each other for long and the girls set out to see what the small country town can offer, Joely hoping to see local boy Rory, unaware that Frankie has already met him and he is attracted to her.
The heat and isolation seem to intensify everything and the mix of jealousy, boyfriends, first love and ultimately the importance of friendship and loyalty forged through shared experience gives this story its strength. The intense focus on the girls' relationships leaves the rest of the characters sketchy and one dimensional but this book's audience of 13 to 14 year old girls will love it.
Sue Speck

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