By: Jenny Torres Sanchez
Publisher: Running Press Teens
Publication Date: 2013
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: August 2013
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.