A monster hurricane is approaching…the power goes out…panic ensues. Is it Frankenstorm?
No! It’s HENRY FRANKS, debut author Peter Adam Saloman’s young adult novel, released last month from Flux. Booklist gave HENRY FRANKS a starred review, calling it “The thinking teen’s horror novel of the year.”
Here’s the blurb from the author’s website:
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.
One year ago, a terrible accident robbed Henry Franks of his mother and his memories. The past sixteen years have vanished. All he has now are scars and a distant father—the only one who can tell Henry who he is.
If he could trust his father.
Can his nightmares—a sweet little girl calling him Daddy, murderous urges, dead bodies—help him remember?
While a serial killer stalks their small Georgia town, Henry unearths the bitter truth behind his mother’s death—and the terrifying secrets of his own dark past.
Sometimes, the only thing worse than forgetting is remembering.
As a librarian and teacher, there are a few things I’m particularly excited about with this book:
* First, the format–chapters are short with doctors’ notes and newspaper articles sprinkled in. This makes varying points of view accessible particularly for reluctant readers. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if HENRY FRANKS makes the YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers list.
* The writing is spare with description that is both powerful and accessible to struggling readers.
* Yes, it’s a horror novel. And yes, I’m usually a scaredy-cat when it comes to horror. Yet this is a book I would hand to even the most squeamish of teen readers. The story and the setting, especially, are indeed creepy. But it doesn’t have any slasher gore, even though there’s a serial killer in the mix.
* The ending. Is. A Shocker. And with those last lines in the book, your classroom will explode with discussion–about ethics, science, true human nature.
I asked author Peter Adam Salomon about how HENRY FRANKS fits into classrooms and libraries, and here’s what he had to say.
Biblio Links: A student walks into my library and I think: That kid needs a copy of HENRY FRANKS. Who is this kid?
Peter Adam Salomon: Henry himself is a loner who is struggling to fit in and figure out who he is, but he has a tremendous capacity for love and ends up completely overwhelmed by his friendship with Justine. That’s similar to how I was in high school and, I’d imagine, similar to most teens. I think that Henry’s struggles are relatable to most people, and therefore every kid needs a copy of HENRY FRANKS.
On a more serious note, I think that Henry will appeal to any reader looking for something with that haunting, creepy sensation that maybe not everything is quite what it appears to be.
Biblio Links: If we were to peek into a classroom where a teacher is using your book in a lesson or with a small group, what might we see or hear?
Peter Adam Salomon: There are a number of ethical dilemmas touched on in the book: how do you define who you are? How important are memories? And, of course, the greatest of all: If something is possible to do in science, should it be done? I think discussing subjects such as identity and figuring out how each individual fits into society as a whole would be tremendously interesting.
Biblio Links: Where can teachers, librarians and students learn more about you and your book?
Peter Adam Salomon: The book has its own website: www.henry-franks.com which includes an excerpt of the opening scene as well as some extra scenes, a photographic tour of the book (where readers can even submit their own photographs that they feel reflect different scenes in the book!) and will also include the discussion questions. I have my own website: www.peteradamsalomon.com which includes my blog, photography and poetry. And, of course, Twitter and Facebook.
Peter Adam Salomon: Thanks for joining us, Peter!