Saturday, May 08, 2021

#BookReview: The Life and Deaths of Frankie D. by Colleen Nelson

Synopsis: Could a hundred-year-old circus sideshow be the key to Frankie’s mysterious past?

Seventeen-year old Frankie doesn’t trust easily. Not others, and not even herself. Found in an alley when she was a child, she has no memory of who she is, or why she was left there. Recurring dreams about a hundred-year-old carnival sideshow, a performer known as Alligator Girl, and a man named Monsieur Duval have an eerie familiarity to them.

Frankie gets drawn deeper into Alligator Girl’s world, and the secrets that kept the performers bound together. But a startling encounter with Monsieur Duval when she’s awake makes Frankie wonder what’s real and what’s in her head.

As Frankie’s and Alligator Girl’s stories unfold, Frankie’s life takes a sharp twist. Are the dreams her way of working through her trauma, or is there a more sinister plan at work? And if there is, does she have the strength to fight it?


Rating: 2 Stars 
My Review: I was full on loving this book early on. A girl with lizard skin who was goth and had no memory of her past. Sign me up!! But as the story got started I lost interest. That initial love of the first few pages started being lost in the tale of her going through school etc.  I just starting losing interest in the story and started not charing about the characters plight. I think that even though with what I read that this would be better suited to those reading high middle grade and lower young adult as well as those who don't mind stories that are slower and more life heavy vs. story.  

From School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up—Life as an orphan is hard enough, but Frankie D. must also deal with a skin condition called lamellar ichthyosis, which means her skin looks and feels scaly like an alligator's. Having been found on the street as a child, Frankie knows nothing about her past. Things get strange when she starts having visions of someone else named Frankie. This Frankie is young and works in a carnival side show as "alligator girl." Each vision gives her a little more information about this other Frankie and why she is having these visions in the first place. Nelson has crafted a magical realism story that will keep readers wondering until the end. Most teens will relate to Frankie, as she wears her insecurities literally on her skin. While Frankie's ethnicity isn't stated, a few other characters are BIPOC. VERDICT Readers who like mysteries and a little bit of magic will enjoy this one.—Rena Gibson, Ralph Ellison Lib., Oklahoma City


Frankie's voice is authentic, strong when needed, confused when vulnerable, and always real ... Colleen Nelson makes us care, and shows us that we can be hopeful that Frankie will get the life she deserves, unencumbered by those who deem to use her to get the lives they desire.-- "CanLit for Little Canadians"

Nelson has crafted a magical realism story that will keep readers wondering until the end ... Readers who like mysteries and a little bit of magic will enjoy this one.-- "School Library Journal"

The Life and Deaths of Frankie D. is a powerful, genuinely creepy novel rooted in well-developed characters and vivid imaginative leeps ... an immersive and utterly pleasurable read.-- "Quill & Quire"

Readers who zero in on Frankie will likely find her memorable long after all the rest has faded.-- "The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books"

Full of ancient Egyptian curses, time travel, and high school mean girls, The Life and Deaths of Frankie D. is an intriguing puzzle box of a mystery as well as a powerful statement about human connection and empathy. Highly Recommended.-- "CM: Canadian Review of Materials"

About the Author

Colleen Nelson is a teacher and and an award-winning YA author whose novels include SadiaBlood Brothers, and Finding Hope. She lives in Winnipeg.

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