Book Giveaway, Guardian Angel Publishing, Henry Franks, Little Isaac's Big Adventure, Peter Adam Salomon, Tracy Helixon, Writing

The Mysterious Henry Franks

Thought for the day:

“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” ~ Richard Bach ~
A gift for my writer friends:
 Here are a couple of links I think you will find valuable.
Anne R. Allen’s blog has 8 Sure-Fire Ways to Improve Your Writing, tips from Ruth Harris, NYTimes best-selling author and former editor at Bantam & Dell. It’s worth a look:!+Mail
Donald Maass and Natalie Goldberg weigh in over at Kathleen Temean’s wonderful Writing and Illustrating blog about whether or not to write what you know. This is also worth a look:!+Mail

For my fabulous giveaway, the winner is Tracy Helixon! (Cue the balloon drop please!) Congratulations to you, Tracy. I will be sending you an AUTOGRAPHED copy of The Diamond in the Desert. It is a terrific book, and I know you’ll enjoy it. I have another giveaway for today, so stay tuned. By the way, Tracy is also a writer and her first picture book, Little Isaac’s Big Adventure,was recently released by Guardian Angel Publishing. You can find out more about it by clicking HERE.

I really wish I had a better memory. I read a lot of blogs that have book reviews on them, always searching for interesting books to read. And I have very catholic taste. I like just about anything other than romance, but historical fiction and what my Sweet Baboo calls “murder and mayhem” are high on my list. On one of those many blogs (but I don’t remember which one!), I read about a book called Henry Franks by Peter Adam Salomon. It had an intriguing premise, so I ordered a copy and took it on my recent trip to Albuquerque. I’m glad I did.

Henry Franks is a sixteen-year-old boy who lost both his mother and his memory in a terrible accident. He has literally been stitched back together. (“Four thousand, three hundred and seventeen stitches, his father had told him once. All the King’s horses and all the King’s men had put Henry Franks back together again.”) The surgical scars, red and itchy in the insufferable Georgia summer heat, make him the most noticeable boy in school, and not in a good way. He is losing feeling in parts of his body and fears he is dying bit by bit. He has no friends and is teased and bullied a lot.
Henry spends three afternoons every week seeing a psychologist, trying in vain to regain his memory. He lives in a big, rather spooky house with his father, a doctor at a local hospital, who is seldom home, and when he is, locks himself into his room for long periods. He brings bags of fast food home for dinner each night and leaves some on the back porch, where it quickly disappears. Bodies start turning up in the local area, and Henry can’t help but wonder if maybe, just maybe, his father might be involved.
“Long moments passed with Henry hitting the glass with the heel of his palm, not even feeling the impact. He ducked down, squinting to see inside. A flash of lightning illuminated his father, slumped over the wheel. Henry ran around the car, sliding through a puddle and ramming his shoulder into the bumper of the minivan next to him. His ear rang from hitting the light fixture above it, but he didn’t feel any pain.”
Peter Adam Salomon Photo by Jimmy McDaniel

Beautiful Justine, who lives next door and takes the same school bus, begins talking to Henry on the bus. She is rather insistent on becoming his friend, and finally that is just what happens. Henry starts to open up to her about his life, and she helps him try to discover who he really is. All he has to go on is a photo album with a few very old family pictures. Henry and Justine are both pulled into the dark mystery of Henry’s life at the same time a hurricane comes crashing into their town and lives while the serial killer is on the loose. (Whew! That’s a lot to deal with!)

This is a coming-of-age story unlike any I have encountered before. You have to completely suspend your belief in reality to read this, but it is a fascinating, highly-imaginative read. Kids from upper middle-grade through high school will particularly like this one, but I liked it very much as well and think a lot of adults will enjoy it.
I have a gently-used copy I am giving away this week. Just leave a comment and I’ll put your name in the hat. Blog, link on Facebook, or Tweet a link to my blog and let me know for an extra entry. For more middle-grade book reviews, always check on Shannon Messenger’s great blog by clicking HERE.
On the book giveaway, this is for U.S. only. Sorry, but it would be too expensive for me to send books out of the country. But please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you. Remember, if you have trouble leaving a comment, click on the title of the post and it will give you just this post with a comments section on the bottom. Also, if you haven’t signed up by email, please do. Just look in the upper right-hand corner of this page, pop your email address in, and you will receive an email each time I put up a new post. Your information will not be shared with anyone.           

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