One Sentence Summary: At 14-years-old, Finny Short runs away, and the boy she meets while on the lam changes her life for the better.
One Sentence Review: Finny was the perfect light but impactful read that I wanted while on vacation at the lake.
Why I Read It: I met the author at BEA, and he gave a great pitch for his book that made me want to read it.
Long Review: Finny is the story of Delphine Short – who decides at a young age to go by the name “Finny” because “she’d always had an independent mind about things like names.” At 14, Finny decides she’s had enough of her family and runs away. On her flee, she meets her teenage neighbor Earl Henckel, and the two immediately hit it off.
All that happens within the first chapter. The rest of the book is the story of Finny growing up – off to boarding school, then college, then a first job and close friends, and on and on. The constant among the pieces is Finny’s on-again off-again relationship with Earl and her quest to figure out who she is and what she wants.
I read Finny back during my 4th of July vacation – yes, I’m way behind in reviews – and really loved it. The book was the sort of light but deep reading that I wanted on a vacation. Finny is a great main character – full of flaws and mistakes, but a good person that you want good things for. The story is compelling without making you think too much, but it’s one that stayed with me when I set the book down. I can see re-reading this book.
In addition to Finny, the book is full of other quirky but not crazy or outrageous characters that are easy to like and dislike. Many of them evolve along with Finny, and help explore the idea of friendships – how people can evolve and change and make choices, but that friendship sometimes transcends those changes.
I’m a big sucker for structure, so I loved parts of the way this book was put together. The book is divided into three sections – “Growing Up,” ‘Reunions and New Friends,” and “From Here on Out” – and each section focuses on a transformative part of Finny’s life. The book covers a bit span of time, but really only focuses on the moments that matter, using “interludes” to show that a story happens in parts, but that we don’t necessarily need all the moments in between. I thought that was cool.
Although I’ve seen it billed as a love story – Finny’s relationship with Earl is sort of central to the plot – I think Finny is more of a story about growing up. But it’s about the fact that growing up is a process that ever really ends. Even at 34, Finny is still learning and growing – she’s a woman with a real life who makes mistakes and is ok about it. I love that about this book.
If you have reviewed this book, please leave a link to the review in the comments and I will add your review to the main post. All I ask is for you to do the same to mine — thanks!