FRANKIE and AMELIA

If books narrated by animals aren’t your thing, you still might want to spend some time with Frankie the cat. He’s been on the loose and can’t find his way home. A series of chance meetings eventually lead him to Amelia, a girl whose choices and fears are ones often found with those on the autism spectrum.

Chester and Gus, from the previous story by the same name, play a part in this new story. No problem if you haven’t read the critically acclaimed tale about Gus and his his service dog before reading this one. Frankie and Amelia stands well on its own. Here’s the official background:

After being separated from his family, Franklin becomes an independent cat, until he meets a goofy dog named Chester. Chester is a service dog to his person, a boy named Gus, and Chester knows just the girl to be Franklin’s person—Gus’s classmate, Amelia.

Amelia loves cats, but has a harder time with people. Franklin understands her, though, and sees how much they have in common. When Amelia gets into some trouble at school, Franklin wants to help the girl who’s done so much to help him. He’s not sure how, yet, but he’s determined to try.

This sweet and moving novel demonstrates how powerful the bond between pets and people can be, while thoughtfully depicting a neurodivergent tween’s experience.

Frankie’s narration is superbly crafted and keeps what could have been a slow moving story into a journey of discovery. The loneliness and fears Amelia displays are heartbreaking. Frankie is a great observer. He wants to help but doesn’t know how. Thankfully, there is Chester who occasionally drops in for support and has some memorable conversations with Frankie.

Readers will learn about neurodivergence (a term for people whose brains function differently in one or more ways) and autism, one of the main types of neurodiversity. The thirty chapters would work well as a read-aloud and discussion starter toward understanding. There’s no resolution with Frankie’s previous family but maybe there will be more from these characters in the future.

FIVE MORE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT FRANKIE and AMELIA by Cammie McGovern

  1. I haven’t had a cat since I was 10 years old, but I sure understand them better after Frankie clued me in.
  2. A story about acceptance and love, something this world could use a lot more of right now.
  3. The bond between animals and humans is given center stage along with what makes the connection so important. Those that own a dog or cat will smile in agreement and others might just long for a pet of their own.
  4. The healing power of friendship is given a unique turn in this tale.
  5. The parent’s separation and Dad’s new life with another lady is another hurdle Amelia has to contend with and understand. This story line handled this nicely with at least some resolution.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cammie McGovern is the author of HARD LANDINGS, a memoir about the transition her oldest son, who has autism, made into adult services.  She has also written three books for young adults, SAY WHAT YOU WILL, A STEP TOWARD FALLING, and JUST BREATHE, and three books for middle-grade readers, JUST MY LUCK, CHESTER AND GUS, and FRANKIE AND AMELIA. All feature young people with a variety of disabilities at the center. She has been widely honored for her work advocating on behalf of people with disabilities.  Her books have been called “joyful, inspiring and unforgettable,” by Katherine Applegate. In addition to writing for The New York Times, Ladies Home Journal, Redbook, and other magazines, she has also written three adult novels and is one of the proud founders of Whole Children/Milestones, a resource center for children and young adults with disabilities and their families. She lives in Amherst, MA with her husband and three sons.

(For more about Cammie and her books visit her web site)

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I received a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. Comments are always appreciated.

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...writing middle grade novels.
This entry was posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to FRANKIE and AMELIA

  1. I love that this story clued you into the life of a cat. I don’t usually like books that feature animals as the main character, but this one sounds like one I might enjoy. Thanks for featuring it this week.

  2. Sue Heavenrich says:

    definitely going to look for this book – and I have friends seeking books about children on the autism spectrum so I’ll be passing this one along.

  3. K.A. Cummins says:

    It’s great to see more books featuring autistic characters. My son and I are on the spectrum and it’s often hard to find books that feature autistic characters, especially ones that do it well. This one sounds like a good one. We’ll have to check it out. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Danielle Hammelef says:

    I just read the first pages and fell in love with this narrator. Thank you for featuring this book.

  5. Such a wonderful feel-good story! I am not a fan of cats, but I do enjoy some of the stories written from the POV. I especially like the relationship with Amelia who is on the spectrum. This is one I should read.

  6. Interesting to have the cat as the narrator!

  7. I am intrigued! I have had Chester and Gus for a while, but haven’t read it yet. Hopefully soon. Frankie and Amelia’s cover is great. I can see my students grabbing for it already. 🙂 I will have to check this one out. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Completely Full Bookshelf says:

    This sounds like a wonderful read! Animals in books pretty much always make for a wonderful read. And it’s wonderful to see representation of neurodivergent characters/characters on the spectrum—I went to Cammie McGovern’s website, and it sounds like she’s written some serious stuff on the topic too. It’s nice to see an author as informed as her writing representation like this! Thanks so much for the great review!

  9. I’m not in love with stories narrated by animals, but once in a while, I find a real gem in one. This sounds like it might be a gem. Thanks for the heads up.

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