Another book that has blown my mind from a few chapters. For me, it was one of those books where I’d read the blurb and—no reaction—start the book with zero expectations. I’m glad I went into Tribal Lores with that mindset! It took me a while to read since this is a lengthy novel and covers a lot!
A moving and explosive tale about what happens when tradition and the need to belong collide.
Frankie Rescio is struggling with the death of his sister. Next door, Lochie Marsh is about to have his world invaded by his estranged, pregnant half-sister and her layabout boyfriend. Despite tensions simmering just below the surface for both boys and their families, they form a bond that connects their different worlds. Until tribal lores threaten to bring everything crashing down.
Thank you to Walker Books, who provided a paperback copy to review. To AusYaBloggers, who is hosting this wonderful tour! You’ll catch the rest of the tour schedule below.
The flow of events tied this book together. Recently, I’m liking YA plots that not only involve friends but family too. It gives a more relatable aspect when reading. From the first chapter, introduces readers to our main characters. No sugar-coating it or melodramatic entrances, just to the point. Just how I like it! The writing itself was so authentic and sometimes metaphorical enough to enjoy. I’m not sure what year this took place in but there is no mention of mobile phones only telephones, the boys use public transport a lot and a few cars mentioned so from that I’m guessing around 60s or 70s. If so, then this book reminded me so much of The Outsiders!
Our main character, Francesco, or the way he likes to be called, Frankie is Italian and much rather influenced by his strict cultural family but also his best friend Lochie who’s Australian. Quite a divide as Frankie contemplates whether to enact as an Italian or Australian. Frankie was such an enjoyable character to read this book from. We definitely need more of him in Young Adult! He’s definitely a character with a lot on his mind. He feels the need to carry everyone’s problems and sometimes emotions. This was the story where stuff just happens around the pivotal character and they have no say in it. I think about once or twice he makes a decision, but Fusillo touched on the fact that it was only a few and how they all affected the people around Frankie. Sometimes, he didn’t make the best decisions, but it’s about growing up and how hormones and pressure can takeover.
Was I lost? No, but lately I seemed to be losing my way. - pg 130
The neighbor, Lochie, had to be my favorite! Sorry, Frankie… but Lochie’s introduction in the story couldn’t have been better. First impressions last and he revealed what type of character he was immediately. Lochie had a rough upbringing with his father being strict? They’re not the wealthiest and having Lochie’s half-sister, Emma, come with her boyfriend and baby bump doesn’t make things easier. Lochie had a lot on his plate, not only at home but with friends too. He’s abrupt and many mistake it as being less intelligent, but he’s indirectly the leader of their friend group. Lochie is street smart and understandable when it comes to having problems whether it’s at home, physically, mentally, or with friends. I loved him for that.
There are so many characters I’d love to cover, but I’ll only touch on a few who impacted the story. Frankie is driven by his father especially and can’t wrap his head around why he’s father gives into his friend, Zio Pete, even though Zio Pete isn’t the besets of friends. Yet further into the book, Frankie realizes his father isn’t gullible, just a good man that tries to provide for his family and loved ones. Frankie sees the contrast yet similarities with Lochie and his father. How they both go out of their way for the people they care about.
There’s also Gabby, Frankie’s cousin I’d like to mention. Gabby’s sister is getting married, and the wedding is sort of the major event of the book. Gabby is in a wheelchair, but she’s bright, bubbly, and snappy. Definitely breaks the cultural norms that their family tries to push. Frankie sees that in Gabby. They also touch on how since Gabby’s gay, she’ll never get married. It makes the wedding even more extravagant since the parents think they’ll only get one shot at this. It’s sad when you read it, but Gabby doesn’t let any of that impede what she wants, how she wants to live, or who she wants to be. Another favorite.
From my review so far, you can tell how important relationships become. The two boys have a unique bond that’s tested over family, other friendships, romance, and beliefs. Yet they pull through! Gotta love the boys. I’m not mentioning Emma and her boyfriend a lot because there are a lot of spoilers surrounding them. However, just know most problems, arguments and emotions arise from their presence. Ironically, I’m writing about an Italian character and took Frankie’s family as a resource. It was also great to see other nationalities mixed with the Australian life and how it’s tested—still relevant today!
It takes a good friend to see the good that isn't on the surface. - pg 412
Overall, this book pulled a lot of emotions out of me that I didn’t expect. I also didn’t mention Frankie’s sister’s death. Somehow Frankie assumes there’s this void in the family because of her. That leads to a self-discovery and slow character development in Frankie. Since he’s been the one who hasn’t grieved for his sister. It’s beautiful to read. In a sad way. There were slight moments of humor in the book I adored from the drama, arguments, and tension. I admit, in the end, I cried at how I related to such a book and ended up loving it so much! That’s another reason I’m keeping it spoiler-free! So you can pick up a copy!
We were good people. But even good people suffered. Some even died before they got to be "good people". - pg 134
I’m close to my family and to read a book where a traditionally well-bound family tested by outsiders was so refreshing. There are so many themes that this book touches on, I don’t think I’ve mentioned them all. You’d just have to give it a go yourself since I’m happy to give this book five stars!
About The Author
Australian Bloggers - http://ausyabloggers.blogspot.com/2020/07/tribal-lores-tour.html