Frankie & Bug (Hardcover)
November/December 2021 Kids Indie Next List
“I loved this middle grade book by Gayle Forman. Bug loves summer and spending time with her brother, but when summer comes, it’s not what she was expecting. Realistic characters that are so relatable and fun to read about!”
— Sherry Fritzsche, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT
It’s 1987 in Venice, California; skinheads roam the streets, the AIDS crisis is full swing. Now Bug isn’t initially too aware of these big events, she’s just annoyed that her mom cancelled summer. But when a neighbor’s nephew, Frankie, arrives in town (obviously for the sole purpose of hanging out with Bug) they pass days at the beach and tracking down a serial killer: an agreed upon compromise between these two kids’ passions. I loved Bug SO much. Seeing the world through her eyes was a memorable experience. I was reminded that most of our prejudices are externally formed and a child’s view of the world is so beautiful and kind by nature. This book is so heartwarming and tackles large issues with grace and sensitivity. While I have enjoyed Forman’s YA books, I hope she continues to add middle grade to the mix as her talent shined brightly in here. Frankie & Bug is quite special and will be enjoyed by people of all ages. Found families for the win forever and ever.
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.
— Jennifer Holm
"I knew I would like Frankie and Bug from the moment I started reading it. What I didn’t know is how much I would end up loving it (a realization that hit me about halfway through the book, when it took a turn I didn't see coming). This joyful, occasionally heartbreaking, deeply moving thrill ride through the 80s has it all: a mystery to solve, boy bands, and the tender surprise of new friendships. I didn’t want it to end.”
— R. J. Palacio, bestselling author of WONDER
"This wonderful, bighearted book has everything a bored eleven-year-old could ask for: from ice cream and roller-skating to tabloid murders and family secrets. After you spend the summer with Frankie and Bug and their colorful costars, you'll want to go back to Venice Beach every year. Gayle Forman, please make me another!"
— Raphael Simon, a/k/a NYT bestelling author Pseudonymous Bosch
"A beautiful and tender story about the discovery of a powerful friendship, starring two fantastic kids and one extraordinary family."
— Newbery Award-winning author Rebecca Stead
* "Through Bug’s innocent perspective, Forman illuminates the pains and injustices suffered by so many, and readers will avidly watch this young girl stand up to skinheads and relatives, discovering that “family” are those who have your back, loving you without conditions, and allowing you to be who you are. The characterizations, setting, and messaging are genuine and heart-tugging, making this a must-read."
— BOOKLIST, starred review
"During a summer of change and big realizations, Bug learns vital and sometimes painful lessons about the power of embracing her true self and meeting people where they are. Forman (We Are Inevitable) tenderly depicts a girl whose understanding—of identity, sexuality, and prejudice—is rapidly expanding, and whose chosen family provides a safe, loving space in which to navigate her experiences and learn to show up as an ally."
— Publishers Weekly
"Readers interested in complex emotional development and relationships will appreciate each character's subtle nuances. Superb storytelling."
— Kirkus Reviews
* "Realistic and heartbreaking. . . . Forman has crafted a beautiful and important coming-of-age tale with just a bit of mystery thrown in. A must-have for middle grade libraries."
— School Library Journal, starred review