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Book Review: Finding My Voice by Aoife Dooley (Scholastic UK)

Illustrated by Aoife Dooley (double amazing talent!!)

For ages 9+

Finding My Voice by Aoife Dooley (Out 30.3.23 | Scholastic) For ages 9+. Created by an authentic autistic #ownvoice, you'll love Frankie's stories filled with many relatable tween-life highs and lows. In Book 2, Frankie and her besties are going too try out for the Battle of the Bands competition. However, starting a secondary school means there are new teachers, new rules and new bullies to deal with. Faithful friendships and a little sleuthing save the day. Find out more

About the book

🌱12 year old Frankie is excited - she’s starting secondary school tomorrow!! Massive Deal!! Readers of the first book in this series - ‘Frankie’s World’ - will know that Frankie was diagnosed as autistic and managed to reconnect with her Dad... then discovered he was autistic too!

🌱It’s going to be a fresh start and she’s so pleased that her two best friends, Sam and Rebecca, are going to be at her new school too. As you can imagine, things aren’t that peachy in reality. There are an overwhelming number of major first day of a new school experiences... the smelly armpit morning bus ride, the not-so-Frankie school rules, and new school bullies. Yikes! Overhearing them in the hall, she is horrified to find that being autistic might be something to be ashamed of or hide in this new place.

Words + Illustrations © Aoife Dooley

🌱Luckily Frankie and her friends are provided a balancing distraction with the announcement of a Battle of the Bands competition… Frankie is a massive Rock fan and plays the guitar (just like her Dad). Time to get a band together then! What I love about this series is that creator Aoife Dooley is autistic herself and doesn’t hide it; you really feel this throughout the story in the sensitive and simple ways that she translates Frankie’s inner thoughts and feelings into the illustrations and text whether it’s a barometer, an animated and labelled picture of Frankie’s brain in a given situation, or through the storyline as Frankie feels it is ‘safe’ to talk to the school counsellor to help guide her and make sense of things. Yes, the bullies try to make life hell for Frankie and her ‘different’ friends, but there’s no way that this band of buddies are going to let anyone stop them from making it to the competition and having the best of times.

🌱‘Frankie’s World’ and 'Finding My Voice' are hugely popular books with kids, with relatable stories, driving empathy and awareness for physical disability and neurodivergence at the same time as just being a stories about a bunch of kids who go through the ups and downs any tween might. Love the colour palette for the illustrations!! I hope there’s more in the pipeline!!

About the creator

Aoife Dooley (author:illustrator)

Author:Illustrator, Aoife Dooley

Aoife Dooley is an award winning illustrator author and comedian. She is also a graphic designer and public speaker. She is best known for her Your One Nikita series which follows the life of a 22 year old woman and her friends from Coolock. She published two books with Gill books based on Nikita in 2016 and 2017 'How To Be Massive’ and 'How To Deal With Poxes'. In 2018 Your One Nikita came to screens in an animated tv series for the RTE Player animated and produced by Digital Beast. She has spoken at a number of events including Offset, Zeminar, Creative Events and more. She was a regular panellist on the Elaine show on Virgin Media and has experience with both live tv and radio. Aoife has also performed at festivals such as Vodafone Comedy Festival, Body & Soul, Electric Picnic and more. In 2017 she won U Magazines 30 under 30 award for best comedian.

In 2018 Aoife was diagnosed as Autistic at the age of 27. Since, she has spoken about her own experiences at many events which have resonated deeply with audiences. She has shared how a diagnosis helped her to truly begin to understand herself and has created comics and diagrams around the subject of what Autism is to her.

Aoife published her first Children’s book in 2019 123 Ireland with Little Island books which won Specsavers Children’s book of the year at the An Post book awards. Little Island announced they are working on another book with Aoife, ABC Ireland, which will be published in 2022.

In 2020 Scholastic UK acquired world rights to Frankie's World, a graphic novel based on Aoife’s real-life experiences of autism. It was published January 2022 and with praise from the guardian, the Irish times amongst others went to reprint after a month of its release. Frankie’s World is being published by Graphix books and will be coming to stores across the US in August 2022.

‘Razor-sharp observational humour … has the zeitgeisty quotability of a contemporary Roddy Doyle.’ The Irish Times ‘How to Be Massive is funny, affectionate and very, very sharp. Almost social history and always great fun’ Roddy Doyle ‘Readers who like quirky, misfit heroes will snap up Dooley’s warm, funny and original graphic novel, drawing on her own experience of growing up autistic.’ The Guardian "I loved Frankie's story and could really identify with her character. This is such an amazing graphic novel that represents neurodiversity really realistically." Libby Scott



Key themes

Starting a new school

Starting secondary school

Making friends

Friendship issues



Autism / Autistic protagonist


Blended families

Finding your voice

Rock music

Battle of the Bands



Ireland-based story

Buy the book

Buy here through my affiliate link or purchase from your local independent bookshop...

Format: Paperback

Publication date: 30 March 2023

Also in this series by Aoife Dooley:

'Frankie's World' (Scholastic UK, 2022)


"I loved Frankie's story and could really identify with her character. This is such an amazing graphic novel that represents neurodiversity really realistically." Libby Scott

"Aoife Dooley captures Frankie's autistic experience with great care, humour and love." Lizzie Huxley-Jones

"A fun and relatable read about awkwardness, self-acceptance, family and friendship." Sarah McIntyre

"Unique and often funny ... I cheered Frankie on through her journey." Sue Cheung

"Frankie's World is funny, fresh and honest and I wish it had be around to read when I was little." Holly Smale

"Offers an amusing and relatable story that celebrates neurodiversity through its sensitive exploration of Frankie’s alienation from her peers" IRISH TIMES

"A wonderfully charming, honest and funny look at growing up... one of my favourite books of the year" IRISH EXAMINER

"Warm, funny and original" GUARDIAN

"A great story about growing up and learning who you are" BOOKTRUST

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