Friday, June 21, 2013

Freaky Fast Frankie Joe

Freaky Fast Frankie Joe
by Lutricia Clifton
Publisher: Holiday House

Ages: 8 to 12
Themes: Family & Relationships, Divorce and Single Parent Families, Siblings, Acceptance and Belonging, Inter-generational friendships, kid entrepreneurs.

Holiday House description: Twelve-year-old Frankie Joe Huckaby can’t find anything good to say about Clearview, Illinois, where he must spend the next ten months living with a father he knows only through birthday cards, a stepmother he didn’t know existed, and four half brothers intent on making him the “freak” of the town. His mother is in jail, so he has no choice . . . or does he?

When life in Clearview becomes unbearable, Frankie Joe hatches a plan to ride his old Rover Sport bicycle 1,400 miles through the middle of the Corn Belt back to the Lone Star Trailer Park in Laredo, Texas. For that he needs money, and so he opens Frankie Joe’s Freaky Fast Delivery Service. But Frankie Joe hasn’t counted on quirky clients, unpredictable winter weather, and his equally unpredictable new family.

His deliveries win new friends for Frankie Joe, a place in the rural Illinois community, and a sense of achievement. But his planned escape is destroyed by a heartbreaking betrayal, and Frankie Joe needs all his incredible resilience and the loving support of his new family to survive the devastating loss.

My take:

I was pleasantly surprised by Freaky Fast Frankie Joe. I suppose because I had put off reading it for a long time because I simple did not like the book cover. It did not appeal to me. Boy, am I glad I decided to read it. I really enjoyed it and made connections to my own life immediately. I have always been blessed with good friendships with older people and learned early on that they are a wealth of good advice and guidance. Frankie's older friends at the Lone Star Trailer Park are unique characters themselves and have influenced Frankie Joe in the way a parent would. He has difficulty adjusting to his new life with his new family and handles his rocky transition with good grace while planning to escape back to Texas. Frankie Joe starts up a delivery service and quickly impresses many residents of Clearview with his enterprising, respectful, and hardworking behavior. Always loyal to his mom, he clings to the hope that she  is doing everything she can to get the two of them back together.

Freaky Fast Frankie Joe will appeal to kids who have a bit of entrepreneurial and adventurous spirit. It would be a good choice for a book club with its social, emotional, and moral issues for discussion.

Download the Freaky Fast Frankie Joe Educator's Guide

Check out my Bluebonnet Book Club wiki: Freaky Fast Frankie Joe page. It includes games and activities that will enrich the reading experience.

AWARDS and HONORS for Freaky Fast Frankie Joe
IRA-CBC Children's Choice Award
Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List
South Carolina Children's Book Award Master List
Nebraska Golden Sower Award, Intermediate Nominee

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