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3.54  ·  Rating Details  ·  741 Ratings  ·  169 Reviews
Justin Kramon’s debut novel, Finny, is a sweeping, enchanting voyage, an insightful story about a young woman’s complicated path to adulthood.

We meet Finny Short as an observant, defiant fourteen-year-old who can’t make sense of her family’s unusual habits: Her mother offers guidance appropriate for a forty-year-old socialite; her father quotes Nietzsche over pancakes. Fin
Paperback, 366 pages
Published July 13th 2010 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published 2010)
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Apr 28, 2010 Kristen rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction, first-reads
I'm done. No, I didn't finish the book but I'm done all the same. I just keep looking over at my nightstand with my nearly neglected Nabokov, that history book I've been reading for months now and my Maugham I mean to start momentarily and I keep thinking 'why am I forcing myself to read this?' So I'm not. I'm done. Sorry Mr. Kramon but your book is just too poorly written to continue with and as much as I'd like to help a new author like yourself, I can't in good conscience give you that extra ...more
Apr 16, 2010 BookMarc rated it it was amazing
There are times I read a novel and muse upon whether I should try and become an author myself as what was served up to me as sure fire literary goodness turned out to be yesterdays leftovers. Then there are times that I just have to hold my hands up in submission and face the fact that I could never write a novel as wonderful as the one I just digested. 'Finny' falls into the latter category and is an absolute treat that will leave your literary craving well and truly satisfied.
I have to admit t
Aug 24, 2010 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
From My book review blog (Rundpinne):[return]Through bizarre circumstances, eccentric characters, and extraordinary events lies an undercurrent of deep sadness in Justin Kramon’s debut novel Finny. The novel chronicles Finny Short’s life beginning at age 14, and for the next 20 years, the story is told in a straightforward manner and the reader may easily be taken aback at first by Finny. Finny is not an average 14 year old and the events surrounding her life are anything but dull. I will admit ...more
Nov 20, 2010 Robin rated it really liked it
This was selected for one of the real-life book clubs I'm in and the author is coming to talk to us as a group - always great to meet other authors and hear what went into their writing etc.

I wish Good Reads would allow partial stars - I would definitely give this a 3.5 or maybe even a 3.75 - but I'm a "tough critic". 4's are hard for me to pass out and 5's almost unheard of - so take that into consideration - a 3 on this site means "I liked it" and I did.

My biggest problem was I had a hard tim
Mar 27, 2014 Jessica rated it liked it
Recommended to Jessica by: Trish
Shelves: review-copy
I received this book for free from the publisher. All content and opinions are my own.

We first meet Finny as a pert 14-year-old who feels misunderstood by her peacemaker mother, pompous father, and people-pleaser brother, Sylvan. Running away from home one day, Finny meets Earl, whose easygoing personality and unconventional household speak to Finny. When her parents find out about her relationship with Earl, they pack her off to boarding school. We follow along as Finny grows into adulthood, as
Jason Pettus
Dec 08, 2010 Jason Pettus rated it really liked it
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

It's easy to see as you're reading Finny, the debut novel of the academically-trained Justin Kramon (an alum of the Iowa Writers' Workshop whose short work has appeared in Glimmer Train among others), that he means for this to be a quirky-cute multigenerational character-based dramedy, and that he most lik
Diane Ferbrache
May 19, 2010 Diane Ferbrache rated it really liked it
I really liked this book. I found myself smiling and thinking "WOW! What a great sentence!" many times. The author had me crying and then laughing on the same page. I love that!

Finny (short for Delphine) Short is 14 when we first meet her. She lives with her father who loves to spout quotes from notable people, her mother and brother. One day, she meets a boy. Earl lives in a small brown house up the road. They take a walk and fall in love -- a love that spans a number of years (we're not quite
Jul 15, 2010 Kari rated it really liked it
It's a really good and rare thing when you read the teaser of a book and think, "This will be amazing!" and then it actually lives up to the hype in your head and actually is amazing. That's what happened with Justin Kramon's debut novel, Finny.

Delphine "Finny" Short is a quirky, smart-alecky fourteen-year-old. And when I read in the teaser paragraph that this novel was going to follow this precocious character for twenty years of her life as she meets all kinds of eccentric, interesting charact
Sep 09, 2010 April rated it it was amazing
Justin Kramon delivers an amazing and all-encompassing story in Finny.

One of the things that I noticed, from the first sentence, was the delightful prose and smooth writing style of the author. The main character of Finny is a delightfully engaging and a marvelously captivating character that readers will easily and quickly be drawn to. This is the story of a young girl, Finny, who is a bit of a misfit, especially within her family's world. Not obsessed with social presence like her mother, nor
May 03, 2010 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Finny is a wonderful novel about a young girl named Finny Short. We first meet her as a smart-alecky 14 year old. She has a pretty typical life with an overbearing mother who is obsessed with manners and what other people think and a father who doesn't talk as much as he walks around spouting off not-so-famous quotes. Overall, she seems pretty bored with her life.

Then she meets some neighbors Earl Henckel and and his eccentric father, a piano teacher. She and Earl fall in love and she spends mo
Lydia Presley
Aug 16, 2010 Lydia Presley rated it liked it
FINNY is the story of Finny Short - an unfortunate name for a girl who has quite the unfortunate life, all told.

At first I thought this was going to be a coming-of-age story. The first section of the book had all of the markings of it. Young girl in a strange family, boy next door (who I got the impression was some kind of a dwarf? but he wasn't or something - still confused on that). Each family member had their own little quirks, their ways of being different.

Then young Finny gets sent off to
Apr 27, 2010 Jill rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
The thing that I like best about reading fiction is that it transports me away from reality - things are sharper, clearer, more colorful, and definitely more meaningful than real life. The more chances I get to experience different lives, the better, which is why I appreciated getting this advance copy from the publisher.

Unfortunately, Kramon tells a story that could have happened to any of us, and he tells it in a way that is not terribly original. The thing that sets it apart from being boring
Jul 20, 2010 Lori rated it really liked it
From author

As I wandered aimlessly through the crowd at the Book Blogger Convention Reception in NYC back in May, collecting business cards and finally putting faces to the names of bloggers I had been interacting with for months, I had the pleasure of meeting Justin Kramon - debut author of Finny.

It was that sort of bumbling, awkward I-turned-around-and-he-turned-around-and-now-we-are-facing-one-another moments in the middle of the conference room, those moments that are more common than not in
Dec 03, 2010 Kirsten rated it really liked it
In general, I liked this book, but I do think it has issues. The central cast of the characters are interesting and (mostly) charming, and I liked them, but the rest of the characters are bizarre bundles of aggressive in-your-face quirkiness, in a very unpalatable way (funeral home scene, I'm looking at you. Or Prince's sister.). The book rambles and meanders a bit - I can't decide if that's supposed to be a slice-of-life this-is-how-the-real-world-is thing, or if it's just unfocused and needs a ...more
Feb 08, 2011 Kate rated it liked it
I found Finny to be an enjoyable easy read. I kept wondering thru the whole book how a male author was able to follow a young girls life thru 20 years. This is one of the things that kept me so interested in reading more of the story.
I did find myself laughing out loud at some of the antics of the characters. The story settings varied widely and I never found myself bored during the entire book.
Apr 16, 2010 Brenda rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010, first-reads
I won this book on first reads giveaway! I love having this pre-release book, it make me feel like I'm in on some secret : ) This is a good, solid book. It covers an interesting portion of Finny's life as she grows into herself. The characters are relatable, I think most every girl has had a friend "Judith" in their lives, especially in middle/high school. I love Mr. Henckel and his "smile frowns"!
Jun 21, 2012 Cat. rated it really liked it
Recommended to Cat. by: Amy
Shelves: fiction
What a lovely little book! There's not a lot of major plot here: we meet and follow Finny Short through her childhood and teenage years and watch as she grows into her 30s. The people around her are regular people. She has a great deal of heartache, but is generally a kindhearted, serious person who pulls no punches and has a sassy wit about her.
Sep 10, 2010 Kelsey rated it it was amazing
I'm not quite sure why this book received so many negative reviews. I loved it and I couldn't put it down. Rarely does a novel come along without one single boring character. Every one of the characters in this book (even the minor characters) had their own little quirks, and I felt like I connected with them all. Lovely!
Aug 05, 2015 Emily rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club
I absolutely adore this book. It's so beautifully written and is such a lovely story. I fell in love with every character and all of the attention to detail. I didn't want Finny's story to end! I highly recommend this book. Simply wonderful.
Oct 03, 2010 Gretchen rated it it was ok
I had a really hard time with this book -- the voice alternately felt hyper-real and patently false. I kept at it, but was ultimately let down. Some images and characters are sticking with me, though. A tough one to recommend.
Jan 31, 2015 Kris rated it really liked it
Sometimes, it's nice to read a book that develops a character that reads exactly like the person you've seen in the mirror your entire life. For me, that's Finny. Yes, we could pick apart the unembellished Finny as perhaps a too simple girl growing up. But why? Why must we always make things more complicated than they need to be? Sometimes, it's best to just tell and in so doing a good writer hits upon a relatable character that is embedded in many lives. Yes, for us literary types our instincts ...more
Aug 21, 2010 Allison rated it it was ok
Shelves: bookclub
I liked the idea. I didn't think it was wonderfully executed for my taste.
Dec 25, 2014 Inaniel rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014-readings
I like Finny. Lovely told. I enjoyed reading it.
Andrea Homier
May 31, 2011 Andrea Homier rated it liked it
We recently discussed this book in my book group, and someone reminded me of how much the young Finny resembled Ramona in the famed Ramona and Beezus series. There are some really funny, laugh-out-loud moments in the first section of the book, and it's my favorite section. As she matures in the next two sections of the novel, Finny meets a lot of fascinating characters who contribute to her coming of age. I couldn't always follow the impact they made on Finny's psychological growth or the corres ...more
Sep 19, 2010 Joanne rated it it was amazing
I loved this book so much that I just worry that my review will not do it any justice. Justin Kramon did such a wonderful job of showing us the life of young Finny and what I appreciated the most is that it wasn't a perfect life. Finny had a pretty good life even though she made mistakes along the way, but I've always been a firm believer in how our mistakes can make us into stronger individuals. I could definitely see the strength in Finny's character within this book.

Finny is introduced to us
Ash Bruxvoort
Feb 08, 2011 Ash Bruxvoort rated it it was amazing
I have always been a huge fan of bildungsroman, or coming-of-age novels (see I did use that useless piece of information I got out of my major). When I was asked to read Finny by Justin Kramon for this TLC Book Tour I could not have been more excited because it was described as a coming of age novel about a girl. From what I've read, Kramon feels like me: coming-of-age novels are great but there are very few about girls- and he decided to fix that with Finny. The novel follows Finny through abou ...more
Sep 15, 2010 Crystal rated it it was amazing
Why I read this: I was offered this book through TLC Tours and when I read the description I knew I wanted to read it and be a part of the tour.

How is the novel driven: Character - the character of Finny is front and center in this book with secondary roles of Earl, and her friend Judith.

My thoughts: I was captured in the first few pages and transported to Finny's world, which was much like any other teenager's world when the book beigns. But what captivated me so was Finny herself and her way o
May 05, 2011 Pam rated it it was amazing

To summarize Finny like any other book, would be to cheat it of so much of the praise and depth it deserves. In short, it is an epic telling of friends and family, through several decades, as each discover loss and love and longing.

Our heroine, Delphine Short, or Finny for, um, short, is hands down, one of my favorite written characters in my history of reading books. Perhaps it isn’t her, at all, but, rather, the other people painted around her that build
Chocolate & Croissants
Feb 06, 2011 Chocolate & Croissants rated it really liked it
Finny is a book that I both loved and at times was bothered by. We are introduced to Finny as an adolescent who just cannot fit in. At home she has problems with her mother who has expectations as to how a young woman should behave. When her parents discover her "crush" with Earl Finny is sent off to boarding school where she rooms with Judith, who always seems to know what to do in every situation. For as innocent as Finny is Judith is mature. I loved the coming of age aspect of the book as we ...more
Aug 27, 2010 Janice rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed this authors debut book. Here's a small sampling that I particulary enjoyed:
"...Mr. Haberdasher let loose a gigantic sneeze that echoed in the small room. Holy Chirst! Mrs. Haberdasher yelled, and jumped away from her husband, much more dexterously than you would expect a woman with a cane to jump. .....Mrs. H. was unable to finish the sentence, though, because her nose began to twictch. She rubbed her finger againt it, but it was of no use, and very soon she let out a sneeze tha
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Justin Kramon is the author of the novel Finny, published by Random House in July, 2010.

A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he has published stories in Glimmer Train, Story Quarterly, Boulevard, Fence, TriQuarterly, and others. He has received honors from the Michener-Copernicus Society of America, Best American Short Stories, the Hawthornden International Writers’ Fellowship, and the Boglia
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