Farrar Straus Giroux, Hardcover, 9780374324698, 149pp.
Publication Date: May 26, 2009
"Rings on a tree tell a story," Franny Parker tells Lucas Dunn. "They tell you about its seasons, if they've been plentiful or not." So far, the rings of Franny's life have been marked by her family, their farm, their dusty little Oklahoma town - all of it so familiar. But in the summer of her thirteenth year, the Dunns move in next door, harboring painful secrets. From the moment Franny meets Lucas, the two begin a friendship that introduces Franny to the large world beyond her barnyard fence. As their town endures one of the harshest droughts in decades, Franny learns that those in need are not just those others you hear about in church or school; they can be injured wildlife or even the family next door. When her own family suffers a loss, Franny must find the courage to look beyond her sadness to aid a friend in need.
This tender, beautifully written debut novel is the story of a summer full of promises and pain, a season that, although one of the hardest in Franny Parker's life, turns out to be plentiful.
“Franny is a relatable and consistent narrator, the homey rural setting is thoughtfully rendered and the easy prose should appeal to reluctant readers.” —Publishers Weekly
“This debut novel is a poignant, emotional, and beautifully written coming-of-age story.” –Starred, School Library Journal
“Believable dialogue and well-developed characters enhance this promising debut novel.” —Kirkus Reviews