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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Paperback: 243 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (May 9, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375829830
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375829833
  • Product Dimensions: 2.3 x 3.2 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #112,022 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"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.

From Publishers Weekly

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.

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Customer Reviews

This book has made me like reading again!
Melissa
The style of Melina Marchetta's writing has matured and she has once again produced a compelling read.
Annomynous
Saving Francesca is the much awaited second novel by the bestselling author Melina Marchetta.
Jessica Peters

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Jessica Lux on June 30, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I picked this up because someone told me they loved it. I'm an adult and I had no idea this was YA fiction until I realized that it was set in high school from the point of view of a high school girl, but by that point, it didn't matter, because the story is so great that teens and adults alike can read it and relate.

I'm not too far out of high school, so Marchetta's descriptions really rung true for me. Francesca deals with feeling like a loner, worrying about doing "the wrong thing," worrying about which friends are her real ones, meeting people outside her "normal" friend circle and realizing that they are worthwhile, too, and dealing with her family. Everything was vivid and lifelike, including Francesca's mother's depression.

I went on highs and lows with Francesca, rooting for her the whole way through, and the end of the book has an excellent resolution that wasn't everything tied up with a pretty ribbon, but learning to deal with your place in the world and finding your own little pocket of happiness and worth.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Annomynous on October 24, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Saving Francesca is the much awaited second novel by the bestselling author Melina Marchetta. Marchetta's first novel was the award winning cross-over fiction Looking For Alibrandi and readers have been hungry for a second novel from this admired author. Finally Marchetta has produced a novel that satisfies expectations; Saving Francesca. This novel deals with many similar issues as her first novel; multiculturalism, Catholic education and the search for one's identity at a very significant time in life. The style of Melina Marchetta's writing has matured and she has once again produced a compelling read.

Francesca's mother, Mia, is a very motivated and vivacious Communications Lecturer, who plays a huge role in the Spinelli family. Mia insists on sending Francesca to St Sebastian's, an all boy's school which has just started accepting girls. At St Stella's, Francesca's former school, she had belonged to the "cool group," the group that every girl dreams of being in. St Stella's only caters for students up until grade 10 (the majority of the students continued their education at Pius Senior College). Mia believes that Pius Senior College limits students and does not want this for Francesca. Much to Francesca's dismay she is bombarded with testosterone and forced to move away from her comfort zone to associate with three other girls from St Stella's; Siobhan the `slut', Tara the `fanatic' and Justine the `loser'.

The students of St Sebastian's are thoroughly against sharing their school with females. They hate change and especially hate those who cause the change. They cannot deal with girls having an opinion and if faced with an opinionated female, label them a "lesbian".
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Lauren Wyly on November 22, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Saving Francesca is the story of a girl with so much on her mind, but without the right words to say it. At the beginning of the book, Francesca speaks of how irritated she is with her mother. She is sickened by her always be positive attitude, and her dramatic behavior. She is upset at her for making her attend St. Sebastian's, a school with 750 boys and only 30 girls. Francesca finds it difficult to be the social butterfly she was at her old school, and blames it all on her mother. She knows something is wrong when her mother begins sleeping late rather than waking Francesca up in the morning with uplifting music, but she figures that she is just sick. After several weeks of waking up to silence, Francesca is worried. She learns that her mother is suffering from depression, and she has a hard time understanding how this could happen to such an optimistic woman. She no longer looks at her mother as the woman who ruined her life, but as the woman who's life she ruined. She wishes that her mother would go back to normal, so that she could live the happy life she lived before the first day she awoke to silence.

I enjoyed every last minute of Francesca's battles to get back to a life of normalcy. She was incredibly easy to relate to, and easy to feel for. Melina Marchetta brilliantly created a character that any teenage girl would want to read about. She goes through many of the same problems that normal girls go through, such as boy and friend problems, but also goes through so much more. The things that she goes through that could not be compared to normal every-day life, such as her mother's depression, are the things I enjoyed the most about this novel. It makes the little problems in our lives seem so small.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By two sided freek on July 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover
this book reached me to the place in my soul i never go into. i could completely relate to this story. francis's voice is so real i think this actually happened. when i read it, it was like living through the book, feeling her pain, helplessness and anxiety. i found my self laughing out loud and smiling throughout the book as well as crying. just one word to the public. you don't find many books like these and it is truly special. you find yourself believeing in yourself and finding faith through francesca raw, emotional words. if i could find more books like these, i would live off them.

ALSO RECOMMENDED:

Sarah Dessen's Truth About Forever, This Lullaby, Kepping The Moon.

Scribbler of Dreams, a tearjerker.

Boy Proof
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