I am an official Boyce fan. I loved this book. It was immense. It was so much fun. If you're world-weary, weighted down by stacks of bleak YA fiction, turn on your heel this very moment and snag a copy of Framed.
From the publisher:
A few things to know about Dylan. He is the only boy in his entire town—so forget about playing soccer. His best friends are two pet chickens. His family owns the world's only gas station/coffee house—their pies are to die for, but profits are in the hole. Criminal instincts run in his family—his sister is a mastermind-in-training, and the tax men are after his father for questioning. And one more small thing about nine-year-old Dylan—the crime of the century has just fallen into his lap.
With the same easy mix of wit, warmth, and wonder that made his debut novel, Millions, an award-winning international bestseller, Frank Cottrell Boyce tells the story of a boy who reminds an entire town of the power of art.
I just can't praise Boyce enough. He doesn't try to be clever--he is clever. He writes a story rooted in art--fine art!--that appeals to junior high boys. They won't even notice they're getting into paintings. Maybe Frank isn't clever--maybe he's a genius.
"It's a laughy book, isn't it?" said Robbie, walking past where I sat on the sofa, laughing out loud as I read. (He snagged it before I could.) It is. And your brain requires a "laughy" book every now and then. One with lines like,
It was a picture, a picture of a woman trying to read a book. The woman's face was in color, but her clothes were in black and white and the top of her head was missing. The most random thing though was that one of her boobies was sticking out of her dress, like you sometimes see on the front of the papers. I looked at Dad. Lester looked at both of us, then he said, "The Manchester Madonna." "Right," I said and looked at Dad again. It didn't look like Madonna to me.
"How come he's never heard of the Turtles?" said Tom. "Is he thick or what?"
"Your mam is short of money. The paintings up there are worth millions. We could nick one and swap it for one of these." He had three [paint by numbers] pictures to choose from. One was of a collie dog. One was of an alpine scene. One was a vase of flowers. I suddenly remembered that Nice Tom used to be called Daft Tom.
To top it all off, Dylan's dad owns a mini cooper. Have I ever told you that minis are my ultimate, number one, favorite car? Seriously, books don't get much better than this.