Title: Saving Francesca
Author: Melina Marchetta
Genre: Contemporary, Coming of Age
Publication Date: March 2003
Rating: 5 stars
Synopsis (from goodreads):
Francesca is stuck at St. Sebastian’s, a boys’ school that pretends it’s coed by giving the girls their own bathroom. Her only female companions are an ultra-feminist, a rumored slut, and an impossibly dorky accordion player. The boys are no better, from Thomas who specializes in musical burping to Will, the perpetually frowning, smug moron that Francesca can’t seem to stop thinking about.
Then there’s Francesca’s mother, who always thinks she knows what’s best for Francesca—until she is suddenly stricken with acute depression, leaving Francesca lost, alone, and without an inkling who she really is. Simultaneously humorous, poignant, and impossible to put down, this is the story of a girl who must summon the strength to save her family, her social life and—hardest of all—herself.
When I was fifteen – this was my favourite book. It was the first book that I’d ever read where it was almost as if the characters were living my life. I didn’t have a mother with depression nor an adorable soccer-mad younger brother but I had a lot in common with Francesca. I must have read this book a dozen times before finishing high school. I even went to a book festival she was speaking at to get my copy signed!
There was so much I loved about this book. And that’s why I haven’t read it since. Because sometimes when you go back and re-read a book that you thought was amazing you feel let down. I was worried that it wouldn’t live up to my memories. Luckily when I do go back and I read it this week I liked it just as much as I did then.
This book means just as much to me now as it did 9 years ago when I read it for the first time.
The characters are brilliant – there’s a depth to all of them. They are all more than what they seem at first glance. From Thomas and Will to Justine and Tara, I loved them all. Francesca’s parents and family are really interesting to read too.
Francesca and Will’s romance was beautiful to read. I loved the tension and banter that passed between them. I was rooting for them from the start and I was so proud of Francesca with her retort after the drunken kiss at the party. She is stronger than she knows and it was brilliant to witness her discovering it for herself.
I think the biggest strength of this novel is how brilliantly it’s written. Melina Marchetta is one of my favourite authors and this books is a perfect example of how incredibly she manages to capture the teenage mindset.
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