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Book Review: Frankie and Amelia

Title: Falling Short

Author: Ernesto Cisneros

Genre: Juvenile Non-Fiction

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Specs Spot

What's it about?

Franklin is lost. His people left him outside when they went on vacation and he's been left to figure out how to survive on his own ever since. Admittedly, he's done pretty well. He's survived and remain healthy, at least. But he's desperate for some security, a place to live and food he can depend on. Then he happens to catch Gus's eye as he stars out the window and when Gus's mom comes to investigate what Gus is staring at, she finds Franklin and decides to adopt him.

Inside, Franklin meets Chester, a service dog and Chester's boy, Gus who has Autism. Franklin isn't what he thinks about his new home, though he knows he really does not like his new name. But he has come to like Chester. Chester is teaching Franklin a lot. But then it becomes clear that Gus's family can't keep Franklin. He's a furry cat and Gus's dad is allergic.

So the mission to find Franklin a new home starts. Thankfully, they find him a home with Amelia, a girl in Gus's class who loves cats. She's been through a lot recently and making friends isn't easy for her, which means that adopting Franklin couldn't happen a better time. But what if things are about to get even harder and they learn that Amelia might have Autism, too? That's a hard thing to hear and, even for Franklin, now called Benjamin Franklin, to understand. If Gus and Amelia both have Autism, why are they so different? What does Autism mean? It's a transition for everyone, but all Franklin wants to do is be a friend to Amelia and help her be the best Amelia she can be.


Favorite Character: Franklin wins this title. I wasn't sure at first, I'll be honest. He does have some of that expected cat personality. You know, a superiority, cats rule and dogs drool kind of attitude. He kind of reminded me of a less sassy Sassy from the Homeward Bound movies. But...he made me laugh. He learned and changed his beliefs and perceptions based on his experiences. He had a simplistic view of life in a lot of ways but it was cute. And, like I said, he made me laugh. I also liked Chester, and expected him to be my favorite, but somehow Franklin won out in the end.

Favorite Part: My favorite part was a conversation towards the end of the book between Franklin and Chester. They were talking about Autism and what that means. They discussed things like having Autism just means that their brains work differently, not that there was anything wrong with them or that they were somehow less. They addressed that Amelia wanted friends but didn't know how to make friends or be a friend which hit really close to home because that's how my son who has mild Autism was when he was younger.

Least Favorite Part: I thought a lot about this because, well, nothing jumped out at me but then I realized I keep circling back around to the parts with Amelia's dad. He's probably one of my least favorite characters, but I didn't list him as such because he started to come around eventually and I feel like we didn't get to see enough of him to really judge so I just didn't go there. However, I did think dislike a lot of the interactions with her father. I felt like he wasn't listening to her and really hearing what she was saying. I felt like he wanted her to be someone she wasn't and put a lot of pressure on her to be that person which I wasn't a fan of. With that, said, I think he loved Amelia and I think he was trying which is why most of the interactions between them is my least favorite parts, but he's not my definitive least favorite character.