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  • Wonderful!

    Kelly Vincent’s Finding Frances is a wonderfully insightful and intriguing coming-of-age story about a girl searching for her family’s history. As the story opens, Retta Brooks is being home-schooled by her apparently obsessive and possessive mum, Jenny. Retta has managed to persuade her mum to send her to the local Comprehensive – Buckley High School. Although language geek Retta has not mixed with others, be they either children of a similar age or adults, nevertheless, she manages to find herself a few friends on her first day. What follows is a fascinating and exciting tale as the reader gets a glimpse into the life of a girl being allowed to grow-up surrounded by both friends and foes. But there is one massive problem – Jenny. Retta’s mum hasn’t always been totally honest with her, so Retta dives headlong into her mother’s past, desperate to seek the truth about her mum and consequently, herself. But what will those discoveries reveal, and to what end? With its fair dolloping of typical teenage angst including; anxieties relating to acceptance; fitting-in; first love; and friendships, to name only a few, Kelly Vincent’s Finding Frances was a great read. The author’s characterisation was spot-on, regardless of whether the particular individual curried favour with me or not, as all had their relevant parts to play. Apart from Retta, who was clever, surprisingly outgoing and respectful, I also liked Jack for his perseverance and good-nature. I took rather a dislike to Retta’s Aunt Samantha virtually from her first emergence, as she appeared mistrustful and secretive, and I couldn’t quite shake off that feeling. The plot was evenly paced – quick enough and easy to follow, but never allowing for boredom or tedium to take root, holding my interest perfectly. Kelly Vincent’s writing was elegant and mature, not always seen in the YA genre. The ending was unexpected though fulfilling, and it befitted the story. Overall, Finding Frances is a delightful novel and I recommend it with confidence, so please don’t miss out! I received a complimentary copy of this novel from Goddess Fish Promotions at my request and this review is my own unbiased opinion.

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  • Highly recommended

    Reviewed by Tiffany Ferrell for Readers' Favorite Retta Brooks is a fifteen-year-old starting actual school for the first time in her life. Her mother, being a paranoid worrier, homeschooled her until Retta finally convinced her mother to let her attend high school like a regular kid. The more she tries to fit in and make friends with her peers the more upset and paranoid her mother gets. Every time the girl demands answers to the past, her mother shuts her down and refuses to speak. Wanting to know the reason why her mom is overprotective and worried about her having a life, Retta begins to search for herself. What she finds is something she doesn’t expect and it makes her question everything she has ever known, along with a series of events that will change her life forever. Finding Frances is one of those books that take you on a crazy journey with twists and turns that keep the reader on their toes. Kelly Vincent does a wonderful job of creating this young adult mystery about a girl just wanting to remember her past. The characters are well written and relatable. You feel for Retta and can relate to her and her desire to learn the truth. This novel was also full of surprises that I didn’t anticipate but liked. Just when I thought I knew what was going to happen, I would be completely shocked by something I didn’t even anticipate and I love that in a book. Finding Frances is definitely a book I would recommend to my friends. Also, I will be looking for more of Vincent’s works in the future.

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