[Note: we occasionally review upper middle grade books which will appeal to readers ages 12-14.]
Wiles was able to capture the emotions of a ten-year-old girl growing up during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Political and public service announcement images are placed throughout the story that represent what would have been seen on TV and in the newspaper during the 1960s. Many of these images help evoke the sense of impending doom that Franny feels while she struggles with growing up. A mean friend, new boy on the block, first invitation to a boy/girl party, and crazy home life force Franny into deciding what kind of person she wants to be. There are several other layers of history embedded throughout with regards to civil rights, postwar veterans and popular culture. The manner in which historical depth and juvenile insight were handled makes this a unique read.