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.
About 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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.