Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

Published: May 9th, 2006
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Rating: YA 13+
Format: Paperback
Source: Borrowed from Library

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 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.

This was my first Melina Marchetta book, after hearing various things about this one and Jellicoe Road. I decided to give this one a try and I was pleasantly surprised at the soft humor and the emotion in this book. Friendship, family and love– this book's a perfect example of the perfect contemporary.
I was intrigued to find out more, about what happens, because you just gotta know what happens when there's only a few girls in an all-boys (recently changed coed) school. Aussie boys, something behind the depression of her mother, and trying to cope with everyone around her, Francesca's story becomes one to remember.

I found the language to understand (likewise with British books) but nontheless, it was fun to look at the difference in the school system and setting from what I'm used to. I think this is the first Aussie book I've ever read to be honest. I definitely need to find more!
The only problem I had with this book is that it was pretty slow moving. I guess, this is one just to read for fun– nothing very seriously significant happens in this book. It's a series of different events during Francesca's first year at the new school. Definitely enjoyable though. Just a book to read on a sunny day, when you have time to spend.
I also got slightly confused as to who was who, but that may be because I didn't really pay attention to the friends of Francesca, as I mainly focused on the MAIN characters, which play most part in the book.

Francesca was a strong main character. I actually have no idea how she does it all– tries to keep a normal appearance, although so many things are going wrong in her life. I really admire her for that. I know I'd fall apart if something was wrong despite trying to hide it to the best of my ability. I didn't get Will's appeal though, I just thought he was quite desperate and quite a player. Just didn't really get him at all. I found Thomas Mackee hilarious though! I seriously think he's the best character in this novel. He's a total attention hog, but he's so worth it :)

Saving Francesca is a sweet story about growing up and learning the ups and downs to life. With laughs and serious moments, this novel's definitely worthy of all the praise and awards it's received. Cute and delightful, this one is the one novel you should definitely pick up when you have the chance. Can't wait to get my hands on the companion novel, The Piper's Son, which features Thomas Mackee as the main character!
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[(top) left to right: German, Indonesian, German; (bottom) l to r: German, Italian]


  1. Thanks for the rec. I read Jellicoe road and liked it but I do remember thinking there sure were a lot of characters to keep straight. I'll be adding this one to my TBR list.

  2. Nice review. This is not my usual kind of book, but reading your review makes me curious!! Thanks, added to my TBR list!!


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