Synopses & Reviews
“Rings on a tree tell a story,” Franny Parker tells Lucas Dunn. “They tell you about its seasons, if theyve been plentiful or not.” So far, the rings of Frannys life have been marked by her family, their farm, their dusty little Oklahoma town - all of it so familiar. But in the summer of her thirteenth year, the Dunns move in next door, harboring painful secrets. From the moment Franny meets Lucas, the two begin a friendship that introduces Franny to the large world beyond her barnyard fence. As their town endures one of the harshest droughts in decades, Franny learns that those in need are not just those others you hear about in church or school; they can be injured wildlife or even the family next door. When her own family suffers a loss, Franny must find the courage to look beyond her sadness to aid a friend in need.
This tender, beautifully written debut novel is the story of a summer full of promises and pain, a season that, although one of the hardest in Franny Parkers life, turns out to be plentiful.
"This quiet debut novel addresses big themes of family, friendship, abuse and love with subtlety and honesty. Life is largely predictable for 12-year-old narrator Franny, who is devoted to her family, friends, animals and small Oklahoma town. But things become complicated one summer, when a single mother and her son move into the cabin across the street. Franny is eager to befriend the new boy, Lucas, who warns her that 'sometimes people mean well, but they don't realize what they're getting themselves into.' When Lucas's estranged and abusive father shows up, Franny and her family are anxious to help, but Lucas and his mother pull away. The bonds of friendship are tested by secrets, and Franny's family's barn is destroyed in a mysterious fire. In the end, Franny learns that some secrets are worth keeping, while others are too dangerous to stay bottled up. Though a few characters (particularly Franny's five-year-old brother, Ben) occasionally sound overly mature, Franny is a relatable and consistent narrator, the homey rural setting is thoughtfully rendered and the easy prose should appeal to reluctant readers. Ages 10 up. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
“Franny is a relatable and consistent narrator, the homey rural setting is thoughtfully rendered and the easy prose should appeal to reluctant readers.” —Publishers Weekly
“This debut novel is a poignant, emotional, and beautifully written coming-of-age story.” -Starred, School Library Journal
“Believable dialogue and well-developed characters enhance this promising debut novel.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Believable dialogue and well-developed characters enhance this promising debut novel.” Kirkus Reviews
Franny Parker's life revolves around her family, their farm, and their dusty Oklahoma town. Then the Dunns move in next door, harboring painful secrets. From the moment Franny meets Lucas, the two begin a friendship that introduces Franny to a larger world.
About the Author
HANNAH ROBERTS MCKINNON lives in Sherman, Connecticut, with her husband and two daughters.