cover image Original Fake

Original Fake

Kirstin Cronn-Mills, illus. by E. Eero Johnson. Putnam, $17.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-399-17326-4

Cronn-Mills (Beautiful Music for Ugly Children) tackles guerilla art, gender norms, and sibling rivalry in a whirlwind of a novel, aided by comics panels from Johnson (The Outliers). Seventeen-year-old Frankie Neumann doesn’t feel like he belongs in his theatrical family, with a mother and father who impersonate Frank Sinatra and Frank N. Furter from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, respectively, and a hellion of a younger sister, Lou, who alternates between theater practice and co-opting Frankie’s belongings for herself. When Frankie is asked by his crush, Rory, and her skirt-wearing cousin David to help street artist Uncle Epic with his installations, he says yes, despite the late nights and resultant irritated parents. Just when Frankie finds confidence in his own art, Lou begins to unravel, threatened by her friends over a prank gone viral. Johnson’s bold black and orange illustrations spotlight key plot points and emotions, emphasizing Frankie’s view of the world and his budding affections for David. Cronn-Mills’s consideration of the intersections between art and family is striking and heartfelt. Ages 12–up. [em]Agent: Amy Tipton, Signature Literary Agency. (Apr.) [/em]