Frankie and Joely

Nova Weetman

Frankie and Joely
University of Queensland Press
24 June 2015

Frankie and Joely

Nova Weetman

‘Joely,’ says Frankie. ‘Before it starts …this holiday …it’s about us. Right?’

Frankie and Joely are best friends. They love each other like no one else can. It’s summer and, together, the girls are escaping the city and their mums for a week of freedom in the country. But when Joely introduces Frankie to her country cousins, Thommo and Mack, it soon becomes clear that something other than the heat is getting under their skin. As the temperature rises, local boy Rory stirs things up even more and secrets start to blister. Will they still be ‘Frankie and Joely’ by the end of their holiday?


This is a novel that, in the current market, might be called ‘quiet’. For me it was as much of a page-turner as anything you’ll find on the YA shelves because it’s a generous, intense study of that most important subject: friendship.

Frankie and Joely, two city girls, go on holiday to an outback farm owned by Joely’s warm and welcoming aunt and uncle. Once in Joely’s territory their friendship is put to the test. Frankie is a mischief-maker, who hides her vulnerability like a pro, while Joely scowls resentfully in her shadow.

The author deftly hops between several different teenage heads. Although slightly dizzying at first, this turns out to be a brilliant device. As much as we sympathise with one girl because the other is physical perfection and turns every boy’s head, in the next breath we see how worthless that is for the beautiful girl who longs for family but only knows how to be desired. Two brothers, one tough and dominant, the other more sensitive, also get a useful point-of-view.

I found my teenage self in these pages, and wish that I had actually read a book like this at the time. Subtle and perceptive, for ages 13 and up.

Emily Gale

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