FRANNIE AND TRU
By Karen Hattrup
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen (May 31, 2016)
When Frannie Little eavesdrops on her parents fighting she discovers that her cousin Truman is gay, and his parents are so upset they are sending him to live with her family for the summer. At least, that’s what she thinks the story is. . . When he arrives, shy Frannie befriends this older boy, who is everything that she’s not–rich, confident, cynical, sophisticated. Together, they embark on a magical summer marked by slowly unraveling secrets.
All of these debut books are starting to read as if they are the same. This was no different than the rest I have read recently. It started promising and then turned boring, leaving me to wonder what I just read.
This is the story of cousins Frannie and Tru(man). Frannie overhears her mother talking one day and mentions that Truman (who goes by Tru) is gay. Tru's parents are so upset by this news that they send him away to stay with Frannie for the summer. Frannie is elated to have her cousin around. I know there is more to the story, but it was so uneventful that it isn't worth mentioning.
This story should have had a bigger LGBT part but, alas, it did not. Clearly the topic was mentioned and it is supposed to be part of the story, but I felt it was barely touched upon.
France was an interesting character, but not enough that I found myself really liking her. She wanted to be liked and therefore tried her best to be "the good girl". She did everything her parents asked of her, did not cause a commotion in school or in public, and always told the truth. I was hoping she would change a little bit when Tru showed up for the summer, but instead, everything became repetitive. They did and said the same things over and over and over and.... She never became a risk taker outside of her own mind. I also felt there was more of a story in her mind than what was going on between the two of them. In the end, I ended up not really liking her character very much. There was also no character development for Truman as the story went on. He started out complex and ended the same way. He came from a family of jerks so he remained one as well. His father was a jerk (obviously) and Tru didn't think it was necessary to change. There was nothing redeeming about him so I'm moving on.
There was talk of "family secrets" in the blurb of this book, but I am sorry to relay that they will completely let the reader down. I was expecting something big and mind-blowing. Instead, what I got was incredibly anticlimactic.
Yet again, another disappointing book. I really had high hopes since this book promised LGBT and family secrets but none of those were really explored. What might have made this story a little better was if it had included Tru's POV. The entire books is told from Frannie's POV, but Tru's might have given this story depth. Regardless, the world will never know because that is not how it was written. From other reviews I have read, I am the black sheep with this book and I am okay with it. Maybe I am just not the right reader, but this one was not for me. That is why I gave this book 2 stars.