Finding Frances

Young Adult - Social Issues
324 Pages
Reviewed on 08/23/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Kelly Vincent wrangles data weekdays and spends the rest of her time playing with words. She grew up in Oklahoma but has moved around quite a bit, with Glasgow, Scotland being her favorite stop. She now lives near Seattle with three cats who help her write her stories by strategically walking across the keyboard, with her first novel, Finding Frances, a fine example of this technique. She has a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Oklahoma City University’s Red Earth program. Find her at and @kvbooks on Twitter and Instagram.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Tiffany Ferrell for Readers' Favorite

Retta Brooks is a fifteen-year-old starting actual school for the first time in her life. Her mother, being a paranoid worrier, homeschooled her until Retta finally convinced her mother to let her attend high school like a regular kid. The more she tries to fit in and make friends with her peers the more upset and paranoid her mother gets. Every time the girl demands answers to the past, her mother shuts her down and refuses to speak. Wanting to know the reason why her mom is overprotective and worried about her having a life, Retta begins to search for herself. What she finds is something she doesn’t expect and it makes her question everything she has ever known, along with a series of events that will change her life forever.

Finding Frances is one of those books that take you on a crazy journey with twists and turns that keep the reader on their toes. Kelly Vincent does a wonderful job of creating this young adult mystery about a girl just wanting to remember her past. The characters are well written and relatable. You feel for Retta and can relate to her and her desire to learn the truth. This novel was also full of surprises that I didn’t anticipate but liked. Just when I thought I knew what was going to happen, I would be completely shocked by something I didn’t even anticipate and I love that in a book. Finding Frances is definitely a book I would recommend to my friends. Also, I will be looking for more of Vincent’s works in the future.

Esther Archer Lakhani

Retta doesn't know who she can trust. Raised by single mother who is protective to the point of damaging, Retta has been told the rest of her family died in a car crash long ago. Her life changes when she begins to question the truth of this. What unfolds is a heart-wrenching story that moves along at a fast pace, going totally unexpected places, and reaching deep into the dark reality of family abuse. It's a tense and tragic read, but one I am glad I've read because it deftly deals with this subject face on without sweeping any of the ugly uncomfortable aspects under the rug. I didn't know this topic was what I was going to be reading about when I picked up Finding Frances. I was shocked about midway through the story, but did not once think about putting the book down. Kelly Vincent does a wonderful job of telling a complex tale in a fully developed and relatable manner. Mystery, tragedy, yet also, Triumph. Retta has grit. She never gives up. That's a great message to send any young adult.