She started out life as Delphine, named by her father for the city where the Greek oracle was from, but she’d always had an independent mind about things like names, so she’d gone by Finny ever since she was old enough to choose.
Meet Finny Short, the precocious narrator of Justin Kramon’s remarkable first novel. Finny is the smallest oddball in her oddball family. Her father offers random quotes from random people at very random times. Her mother is a shallow woman, more worried about how things look to other people than to her own family. Her brother Sylvan gets on well with them. Finny does not. She is constantly picking little fights with her parents and, one night when things get to be too much, she “runs away.”
That night she meets Earl Henckel, kind, sensitive Earl, and instantly feels a connection to him. She finds every excuse to sneak out of the house to meet with him, finally starting piano lessons with his father as a cover. However, when her prim-and-proper mother discovers that Finny has been kissing Earl, it’s off to boarding school for her. Here she meets Judith, a rich, beautiful girl who may or may not be good for Finny, and the cast is complete.
It is these two relationships, with Earl and Judith, that will shape Finny’s life. It’s hard to tell from the first, if either will be good for Finny. She instantly adores Earl, instantly seems to know she can’t live without him. With Judith, however, it isn’t so cut and dry.
She felt the way she had when she’d just met Judith, as if this gorgeous young woman had handed her a heavy tray of glasses and Finny had to make sure not a single one dropped.
It’s really hard to say more without giving too much away and I am certain I can’t do it justice. Finny is definitely one of those novels where I just want to say, “Read it, please! Trust me.” I came to this book with nothing more than the description from the publisher and that was enough to tell me I was dying to read it. This fourteen-year-old misfit is a character you don’t want to miss. She is wry, innocent, wise, and so endearing. Earl is borderline too-good-to-be-true, yet also endearing. I couldn’t help but love him. Justin Kramon is a remarkable new talent. Honestly, I would have never thought this was his first novel. Finny is a funny, observant, and moving story with a unique love story and an unforgettable heroine. I will definitely be watching for more from Kramon.
Written by Justin Kronin
Category: Contemporary Fiction
Published by: Random House
On Sale: July 13, 2010
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