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"This morning, my mother didn't get out of bed." So begins the saga of Francesca Spinelli, the hilarious and achingly real creation of Aussie author Melina Marchetta. Francesca used to think her biggest problem was transferring to St. Sebastian's--a school only recently turned coed: "What a dream come true, right? Seven hundred and fifty boys and thirty girls? But the reality is that it's either like living in a fish bowl or like you don't exist." But now there's this matter of her usually vibrant and annoyingly optimistic mother Mia refusing to get up in the morning. Her taciturn father doesn't have much to say on the subject, her beloved little brother Luca is anxiously looking to her for answers, and her so-called friends from her old neighborhood seem to have abandoned her. So, Francesca keeps it all inside--her frustration with school (there aren't enough girl's bathrooms and no girl's sports teams); her fear making new friends (with the few girls who do go to St. Sebastian's); and her overwhelming hatred of the smug Will Trombal, who despite being completely infuriating, is also incredibly cute. Keeping this to herself when all she wants to do is spill it to her mother is killing Francesca, but with Mia trying to make herself well again, Francesca will have to figure out how to save herself.
What makes Saving Francesca an exceptional standout in a vast field of mediocre teen chick lit is Frankie's painfully nuanced characterization. It has been ten years since high school teacher Marchetta's break out hit, Looking for Alibrandi, came out in her native Australia, and the care and precision she took in getting Francesca's voice just right is evident. As a result, there isn't a girl alive that wouldn't feel right at home in Francesca's skin. Her frank observations about boys, with their hygienically-challenged habits and their ineptitude in dealing with the opposite sex, are dead-on and riotously funny. Marchetta deftly balances Francesca's humor with a sympathetic depiction of Mia's struggle with clinical depression, creating a well-rounded novel that will prompt both laughter and tears. Fans can only hope that they won't have to wait another decade for Marchetta to gift them with another of honest and moving story. --Jennifer Hubert --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Sixteen-year-old Francesca's compelling voice will carry readers along during a transitional year in her family and school life. The narrator's vivacious mother falls into a deep depression soon after the teen narrator starts "Year Eleven" at St. Sebastian's, a Sydney boys' school now accepting—but not particularly accommodating to—girls (a teacher refers to the class as "gentlemen"; Francesca describes being outnumbered 750 to 30, as "either living in a fish bowl or like you don't exist"). Slowly, she begins to put down roots at her school, bonding with the girls from St. Stella's (her former school) whom she had considered misfits, and with some unlikely guys. She even finds herself falling for Will, whom she originally called "a stick-in-the-mud moron with no personality." Francesca also lets out her own personality, which she had kept hidden at St. Stella's because of her conceited friends. Her mother's illness takes its toll, though. Marchetta (Looking for Alibrandi) beautifully depicts the pain experienced by Francesca's whole family (at a wedding without her mother, Francesca observes while dancing with both her father and brother that even "combined, we feel like an amputee"), and Francesca's anger towards her father starts to escalate ("You think you can fix everything by forgetting about it but you just make things worse," she tells him). Readers will applaud the realistic complexity in the relationships here, the genuine love between the characters, as well as Francesca's ultimate decision to save herself. Ages 12-up.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Genre: YA Contemporary
Read: August 13
This book is so raw and real that I felt so emotional throughout the whole thing. Read more
I can't remember the last time a book has made me actually laugh out loud in one page and then be on the verge of tears in another. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Noura
This was my first venture into Melina Marchetta’s “territory”. Although, her “Jellicoe Road” usually takes all the glory, “Saving Francesca” happened to be the last of her books... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Darkxy
When I first saw the title I was left wondering what would Francesca need saving from?
Francesca is our main character (obviously). She’s in year eleven at St. Read more
Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta impressed me in so many ways. I enjoyed the Australian dialect and how the simple things in life can make a person the most happy! Read morePublished 5 months ago by LynnDell P. Watson
The thing about Melina Marchetta’s writing is that there always comes a point in her novels where it’s easy to get swept up in the cadence of her words, the subtlety of her tone,... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Alexa @ Alexa Loves Books
I sat here on my couch reading from 7 or 8 to now at 12am, and peed very infrequently (my bladder is sore), and none of my limbs shook impatiently and my eyes didn't wander and the... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Mine for the Reading
Francesca Spinelli hates her new school, a formerly all-boys academy with 750 male students and only 29 other females. Read morePublished 11 months ago by The Compulsive Reader