We here at YA Interrobang are so excited to be revealing the cover of Karen Hattrup’s upcoming novel Frannie and Tru! This is an absolutely gorgeous cover for what is bound to be an incredible book!
In Frannie and Tru, Frannie always idolized her charismatic and charming cousin Tru. Tru is everything Frannie wants to be. After a bad coming-out experience, Tru moves in with Frannie’s family for the summer. Frannie’s life is far more exciting with Tru around, but she begins to suspect that Tru could be hiding a dark secret – and if his life is a lie, what does that mean for her?
You may have heard the idea that all of literature can be classified as one of two stories: a man goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town. It’s a quote widely credited to Tolstoy, though I don’t think there’s any evidence he actually said it.
Whoever did come up with it, they’re partially responsible for Frannie and Tru.
Back in 2012, I’d been toying with the idea of abandoning nonfiction and writing a young adult novel, but I didn’t yet have the right inspiration. Then I heard a teacher describe those two types of stories – the journey and the stranger – and something about the stranger clicked with me. I thought of two characters.
Frannie Little: a shy, thoughtful girl who has retreated inward, having grown away from her best friends and now dreading the prospect of a new school in the fall. Truman Teller: her enigmatic cousin who is rich, confident, cynical, sophisticated. Everything Frannie is not.
I knew I wanted the two of them to have a life-changing summer together, and the story grew from there. Tru comes to stay with Frannie’s family for a couple of months under mysterious circumstances. While eavesdropping, Frannie gets the impression it’s because he’s recently come out and his parents are angry. In fact, the truth turns out to be far more complicated – a fact that comes clear only slowly, over the course of the extraordinary, if sometimes painful eight weeks of Tru’s visit.
I live in Baltimore and setting it there felt natural, particularly because it’s a beautiful, complicated city that seemed like the right place to explore some of the more thorny ideas that I wanted to touch on. Frannie and Tru is about forging new friendships, but particularly about the challenges that come with doing so across differences – differences in sexuality, race, class. I was interested in how someone like Frannie, a sweet person who thinks she’s open-minded, still makes mistakes and doesn’t understand others as deeply as she’d like.
Along the way, there’s fun and danger, too. Drinking. Tattoos. Music. Wild Horses. Car Wrecks. Kissing.
I enjoy a love story as much as anyone, and both Frannie and Tru have their own in the book, but I wanted the crux of the novel to be the relationship between these two cousins. High school friendships can be so complicated and painful, but often those that are difficult are the same ones that wake us up and change us. This can happen when we meet a person that has that extra spark, a person that’s a little more alive. Someone like Tru.
For Frannie, Tru’s friendship is a catalyst that sets her world back in motion, but what really matters in the end are the choices and changes she makes on her own. Who will she become under Tru’s influence and how will she shape her life after he leaves?
Or, to put it more simply: A stranger comes to town, and then…