Death, Dickinson, and the Demented Life of Frenchie Garcia

Death, Dickinson, and the Demented Life of Frenchie Garcia

4.7 3
by Jenny Torres Sanchez
     
 

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TAYSHAS 2014 Reading list

Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Books of 2013

It is the summer after Frenchie Garcia’s senior year, and she can't come to grips with the death of Andy Cooper. Her friends don’t know that she had a secret crush on her classmate, and they especially don’t know that she was with Andy right before he committed

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Overview

TAYSHAS 2014 Reading list

Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Books of 2013

It is the summer after Frenchie Garcia’s senior year, and she can't come to grips with the death of Andy Cooper. Her friends don’t know that she had a secret crush on her classmate, and they especially don’t know that she was with Andy right before he committed suicide. The only person who does know is Frenchie's imaginary pal Em (a.k.a. Emily Dickinson), who she hangs out with at the cemetery down the street.

When Frenchie’s guilt and confusion come to a head, she decides there is only one way to truly figure out why Andy chose to be with her during his last hours. While exploring the emotional depth of loss and transition to adulthood, Sanchez’s sharp humor and clever observations bring forth a richly developed voice.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Sanchez’s expertly crafted narrative . . . [pulls] readers into Frenchie’s anger and pain without straying into clichés of teen angst. . . . An exceptionally well-written journey to make sense of the senseless."—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Sanchez (The Downside of Being Charlie) gets her heroine's tough exterior and vulnerable insides in just the right balance. . . . [She] provides a healing salve for teens who may know someone who has committed suicide, and also a strong testament against it.”—Shelf Awareness (starred review)

“This is a fast, well-written read with a satisfactory though not necessarily happy ending and a protagonist to remember-a survivor and person of action. A solid choice that is accessible even for reluctant readers.”
—School Library Journal

"With well-paced revelations, Sanchez gradually strengthens Frenchie’s resolve to heal and move forward . . . and the author wittingly ensures that the reader wants nothing less for her."—Booklist

“Sanchez deftly maneuvers between real time and Frenchie’s flashbacks, constructing a dreamy narrative that accurately captures the lingering repercussions of suicide."—The Horn Book Magazine

“I shed a few tears by the time I turned the last page on Frenchie’s story, and I recommend it for book clubs with girls aged 15 and up. Discussion can center on the effects of teen suicide and the difficulties teens face when graduating high school and determining what they want to do next."—Mother Daughter Book Club

"Sanchez is spot-on in her portrayal of depression and its repercussions. . . . This [book] will find an audience with any teen who has ever felt hopeless."—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"This is hands down my favorite read so far in 2013 in terms of cutting edge, contemporary fiction."—Teen Librarian's Toolbox

"This book is what YA literature should be." —The Tattered Thread blog

"A superb job of depicting teenage angst... The writing is fluid and the plot is engaging and captivating...Well done Ms. Garcia… a most enjoyable read.” —Feathered Quill Book Reviews

“As good as John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars and left a tight-hearted feeling in me because it touched me on so many levels that I felt abused by this paperback….I grant this book a 5/5 because it takes such sensitive topics as grief and suicide and effectively portrays them realistically without dumbing either subject down.” —amberskyeforbes wordpress blogger

“The piquant narrative voice and intelligent contemplation of the far-reaching consequences of teen suicide make this novel compulsively readable and a great discussion piece. Frenchie is salty, smart and real, and her ultimate take on life is both refreshing and affirming. Despite some strong language, this is an excellent teen-and-parent read that raises big questions and provides big answers in equal measure. Frenchie and friends won’t be soon forgotten; they are the kind of characters that seem more real the more they are contemplated. Simply excellent.”—Mamiverse.com

School Library Journal
10/01/2013
Gr 9 Up—Seventeen-year-old Frenchie is surprised when Andy Cooper asks her out-she has had a crush on him for years, but he barely acknowledges her. On top of that, it is a strange date as they trek to various places that seem to be important to him. When Frenchie finds out the next morning that he has committed suicide, she wonders why he chose to spend his last night alive with her. A bit of a loner, Frenchie discovers the grave of Emily Dickinson and pretends that the woman is the famous poet and makes her her best friend and confidante. After all, the grave is just down the street from where Frenchie lives in Orlando, Florida, convenient for get-togethers and gab fests. Grieving over Andy's death, Frenchie must discover why he thought he had to kill himself. She enlists Colin, a boy she met at a club, to help her retrace their steps on Andy's last night. Despite its dark topic and the depths of Frenchie's sorrow, there is an undercurrent of humor in her observations and her conversations with Em, which keeps the novel from becoming overwhelmingly a book about death and grief. There are also the realistic aspects of teen angst as Frenchie wonders why Joel, her best friend for almost forever, has a new girlfriend, someone Frenchie does not like at all. This is a fast, well-written read with a satisfactory though not necessarily happy ending and a protagonist to remember-a survivor and person of action. A solid choice that is accessible even for reluctant readers.—Janet Hilbun, Texas Women's University, Denton, TX
Kirkus Reviews
After one life-changing night with her secret crush Andy Cooper, Frenchie Garcia, a cigarette-smoking artist who quotes Dickinson and hangs out in a cemetery, is haunted. Frenchie is in the limbo of what-comes-next. She's finished high school but has been rejected by art school. She is sullen and anxious and can't seem to get her life moving. Gradually, what happened that night with Andy and its lingering impact on Frenchie are revealed. It was the same night that Andy ended his own life. No one even knows that she liked Andy, let alone about the time they spent together, so Frenchie keeps her guilt and confusion to herself. When her internal rage finally boils over, she embarks upon an all-night trek with Colin, a boy she barely knows, re-creating every step of her spontaneous adventure with Andy and desperately searching for whatever she must have missed. Sanchez's expertly crafted narrative moves seamlessly between "that night" and now, pulling readers into Frenchie's anger and pain without straying into clichés of teen angst. Frenchie's struggle to identify and process her own emotions rings out as authentic and honest. There are no easy answers for Frenchie Garcia as she attempts to recover from the tragedy of suicide. An exceptionally well-written journey to make sense of the senseless. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780762446803
Publisher:
Running Press Book Publishers
Publication date:
05/28/2013
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
210,726
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.80(d)
Lexile:
HL660L (what's this?)
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Jenny Torres Sanchez lives in Florida with her husband and children where she currently writes full time. Before her debut novel The Downside of Being Charlie she taught high school for several years, where she credits her eclectic students for inspiring her to write young adult novels.

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Death, Dickinson, and the Demented Life of Frenchie Garcia 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
JBronder 25 days ago
We start this story with Frenchie grieving about a boy down the street that committed suicide. No one really knows much about her and what her connection to Andy was. Frenchie is in a dark place with her grief. But Colin sees through her dark demeanor and starts spending more time with her. Frenchie starts opening up to Colin and he finds out that Frenchie has had a crush on Andy for years and that she was the last person with him on the night that he committed suicide. Frenchie reminds me of myself when I was in high school. She is artistic, dark, and sarcastic and I just loved her. Here she is suffering with grief from Andy’s death and not knowing what she can do to get through it. Then there is Colin, he sees through this shell that Frenchie has created and wants to be with her. At the same time we learn about what Frenchie and Andy did on his last night as she starts to reveal it to Colin. This is a great story for both young adults and adults. I loved how Frenchie worked through her grief. I couldn’t help love Frenchie and I think she has left a part of her in me. Make sure to get a copy of this book, you will not be disappointed. I received Death, Dickinson, and the Demented Life of Frenchie Garcia for free, a long time ago, in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Frenchie goes on a road trip with a super-cute new “friend” Colin to make sense of what happened the one and only night she hung out with Andy Cooper, the boy she loved from afar through high school. Frenchie is haunted by the usual questions when grieving: Why? Why him? What could I have done to help him? Could I have stopped him? The last two questions are most painful because she was the last person to see Andy before he died, and, therefore, feels responsible. Sanchez easily blends heart-wrenching grief with regular teen angst, serious moments of conversation with quips like, “Get up, Loser!”from Robyn, Frenchie’s friend who knows something is wrong, but isn’t sure what. Also, Frenchie Garcia is a Latina protagonist in a book that isn’t about being Latina. Frenchie is an artist who likes punk rock and Emily Dickinson; she’s a young Latina who doesn’t speak a single word of Spanish in the novel. Some readers/writers/bloggers have asked for more books with diverse characters who are not dealing with issues of ethnicity, culture, race, etc. This is a good example.
FeatheredQuillBookReviews More than 1 year ago
Jenny Torres Sanchez has served up a healthy portion of good read in her current novel Death, Dickinson, and the Demented Life of Frenchie Garcia. Seventeen year-old Frenchie Garcia has too much weight on her shoulders. Her quest this summer is to figure out why death surrounds her. For starters, there’s the obvious because she lives down the street from a cemetery. Then there’s the notion that her crush since ninth grade, Andy Cooper, up and committed suicide shortly before school let out. As she sat on her front porch, she wondered why the old man who lived across the street had to up and die too. She watches the County Coroner wheel the old guy’s body away and reflects upon the rejection notice she received from the art school of her dreams in Chicago. No matter, she and Joel still had plans they’d made forever to get a place in Chicago and live the artisans’ life come summer’s end. Wait until she learns those plans are destined for a back burner somewhere in the file labeled 'next day after never.' It’s not easy being a teenager, but when all that death is added to the equation, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out it was going to take a little more than summertime and sunshine to snap Frenchie out of her despondently blue state of mind. Fortunately, there was a fragment of silver to Frenchie’s black cloud lining when her gal pal, Robyn, introduces her to Colin. Even though things may be looking up, Frenchie isn’t so sure she is ready to accept Colin’s proverbial extended hand upon first meeting. Besides, she still needs to sort out the why to Andy Cooper’s death. When Frenchie and Colin have the opportunity to break away from their group one particular night, they embark upon a journey. Perhaps this was destiny and the needed answers to Frenchie’s questions would be found. She takes Colin on a tour of the last day of Andy Cooper’s life and how she was the last person to spend it with him. As they revisit each of the places she and Andy had experienced, things start falling into place for Frenchie. The question, however, is whether Colin will be the one who is able to help Frenchie realize the time has come for her to break the protective barrier she carefully constructed around her wounded inner person. Jenny Torres Sanchez has done a superb job of depicting teenage angst. In Death, Dickinson, and the Demented Life of Frenchie Garcia, she has nailed the persona of her main character, Frenchie Garcia. This character is an extremely believable teenaged girl complete with all the drama and “insurmountable problems” she must endure daily. Ms. Sanchez masterfully moves the story along from the very beginning to its final page and does so effortlessly. The writing is fluid and the plot is engaging and captivating. Sanchez knows her audience well and zeroes right in on her YA target with Death, Dickinson, and the Demented Life of Frenchie Garcia. Well done Ms. Garcia… a most enjoyable read. Quill says: Even with a sublime plot of death throughout this book, Death, Dickenson, and the Demented Life of Frenchie Garcia truly does have a silver lining as the end comes into sight.