Henry Franks by Peter Adam Salomon

This was one of the books that my boss got me from ALA last year. I wasn’t actually expecting him to get me anything. I just asked in passing whether he could get me some horror books because I was jealous–one of these days I’ll get to go–but I didn’t expect him to send me five! But I came into work one day and there was this big old package on my desk. I duly wrote him a thank-you note.

Henry Franks is a YA horror novel, and one I really really liked. I loved the background of the oppressive Georgia summers, and I loved the secrecy and the way the author let slip that all was Not Right. Henry, the main character, has amnesia, which makes life really confusing and lonely for him. He’s also plagued by reoccurring dreams in which he has a daughter. And what the heck is up with his dad? His only real friend is his next door neighbor Justine.

So, I kind of got a good idea of what was going on when I realized that most of the characters had names of characters in Frankenstein. But that didn’t spoil anything because it made me want to read on and figure out just how Frankenstein plays into all this. I was not disappointed. I won’t say more than that, probably.

I enjoyed his relationship with Justine. He takes notice of her bare skin and her bra strap, but it doesn’t feel unsafe, you know? Henry never acts like a gross teenage boy, and Justine has a life and presence outside of her relationship and friendship with Henry. And that’s the thing too–they were willing to be friends. Justine’s parents didn’t want her dating anyone, so even after they share a kiss, they agree that they can be friends with one another, too. I also like how Justine gets along with everyone. Bobby the football player talks with her, and she’s relatively popular. It just really isn’t an issue though that she’s hanging out with Henry. But really, school isn’t even that much of a focus point in this story.

I had Lana del Rey’s “Summer Bummer” going through my head when I started this book, and that really set a good stage for the rest of the story. Just in case you wanna give it a try.

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