Title: Henry Franks
Pub Date: 11/12
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: Henry Franks is about a boy covered in scars who thinks no one likes him because of his freakish appearance. His father is almost always at his mysterious work, and his mother is dead. On top of it all, Henry can’t remember his life before the accident that scarred him and killed his mother. As a premise, this book could have been interesting, if clichéd (the whole orphaned/amnesiac main character has been done many times before). Unfortunately, the plot was dragged out much too long, which made the ending anticlimactic.
Memorable or Forgettable: This book is on the forgettable side. It started out well enough, but after 60 pages, nothing had really happened or changed. I was consistently annoyed by the love interest, a bland girl-next-door who popped up every other chapter in nearly identical encounters: a page long description of her outfit, sharing a seat on the bus, and reassuring Henry that he’s not really a freak. This same encounter occurred about 8 times in the book.
The mystery of Henry’s possibly-serial-killer dad was much more engaging than the main character. This subplot was the main reason why I skipped ahead to read the end of the book. There was a decent little twist, though not enough to make up for the long, bland exposition that came before it. On top of that disappointment, the epilogue was downright dumb and ruined the slight enjoyment I got from the climax. I think this idea would have been better conveyed as a short story, where the twist would be enough to carry the plot arc.
Cover: The cover was the reason I picked up this book. A mysterious, ghostly image of someone picking up a skull and the clever “scar” intrigued me right away. Too bad the inside of the book wasn’t as engaging.
Age Range: 14-15
Quality: 2Q Needs more work
Popularity: 2P Only for special interest