Frankie and Bug Frankie & Bug

frankie and bug Gayle Forman

Some dangers are real - like the Midnight Marauder - the serial killer who keeps striking at night somewhere in the part of California where Bug lives.  Some dangers aren't real - they're made up in people's minds.  Bug is about to learn the difference.

It's 1987. Summer is coming. Bug is set with her plan.  While their mom is working at the Mayor's office all day, Bug and her big brother, Danny, will head to the beach and have their summer.  That's the plan all right until Mom tells Bug that Danny who now asks to be called Daniel, has declared he needs space.  He needs to have his own summer.  He needs to not have to babysit Bug.

There goes the summer.  Bug is flattened.  Hearing that their neighbor's nephew is coming out to visit from Ohio doesn't make her feel any better.  When she goes along to the airport with Phillip, the neighbor, to pick up his nephew, Frankie, Bug has a few heartbeats of hope.  Well, that is until Frankie announces he doesn't like the beach.  Yep, that sound is all the air going out of Bug.

Where does that leave her?  What kind of summer can she build with a kid from Ohio who hates the beach?  What's up with her brother anyway?

This is a great story that sends you careening around the occasional sharp turn at the same time it offers you tenderness, empathy and the wonder of a friendship being born.  These kids have courage.  These kids are up against some tough ones.  These kids are living in a layered world of differences that is slathered with caring and concern and fun and happy and acceptance.

Gayle Forman has turned her fine writing hand to middle grade with a beauty of a story.  Get ready to walk in the shoes of kids who have a hard time being them in a world that won't look at the truth and doesn't want to accept the unfamiliar, the people who aren't exactly the same as they are.  What a kick in the pants this story gives them.  It's awesome.

Frankie and Bug are cool kids.  Frankie and Bug probably won't ever show up on the cover of a magazine or be featured in a blog with millions of views.  But Frankie and Bug are worth a heck of a lot more than that trash.  These kids are the real deal- real people who have struggles and who know how to care for someone else.  Thank goodness for Frankie and Bug.  Courageous, insightful, warm and wonderful.

288 pages 978-1534482531 Ages 9-13

Keywords: summer, family life, friends, friendship, brothers and sisters, change, gender identity, acceptance, accepting others, discrimination, prejudice, LGBTQ, serial killer, 9 year old, 10 year old, 11 year old, 12 year old, 13 year old, historical fiction, Latino, Latina, Latinx, diversity, diverse books, detectives

Recommended by: Barb Langridge,


In the debut middle grade novel from #1 New York Times bestselling 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.---from the publisher

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