Review: Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

August 24, 2012 Book Review, Coming of Age, Contemporary Fiction, Melina Marchetta, Random House Children's Books, Realistic Fiction, Saving Francesca, YA, Young Adult 6

From Goodreads:

Francesca is stuck at St. Sebastians, 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.

My Thoughts:

Saving Francesca is the first contemporary fiction novel I have read from author Melina Marchetta, and I found it to be a beautifully realistic coming of age story.

Francesca is a young girl dealing with some major changes in her life, the most important being her mom’s sudden depression. Her whole world has been turned upside down and she struggles to come to terms with what has happened to her family. Seeing a sad and lonely girl fall apart and missing her mom was heartbreaking, yet I found a beauty in the ways her family came together to try to support each other and work through it. It was broken and ugly at times, but that just made everything more amazing. Francesca’s passion for her mother was truly inspirational.

Francesca was quite complex character, almost an enigma. She could come off as shy and self-conscious, but she could also be very straight forward and confident at the same time. She was also extremely clever and snarky, which I loved about her! It reminded me once again of my love for another amazing Melina Marchetta character, Evanjalin from the Lumatere Chronicles. Marchetta has an incredible knack for creating these powerful and beautiful female characters that remain unforgettable in my eyes.

Through all of Francesca’s struggles, she was able to develop some strong new friendships with some remarkable people. They all had some quirks but I think Jimmy was my favorite. He just stormed right into her life, and made himself welcome. There was also the workings of a romance, but it really wasn’t as prominent as I had hoped. I think this was my only qualm with the novel because it would seem like we would finally be going somewhere but then the plot would turn again and we would go backwards. I don’t think this type of storyline needs much of a romantic element, but at times I felt like I was getting whiplash. It was definitely more of a slow building plot, but I enjoyed where it all lead to in the end.

If you love coming of age stories, than this is definitely one you need to pick up! Saving Francesca was just my first taste of Melina Marchetta’s contemporary fiction and I look forward to reading more!

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Sara @ Forever 17 Books

6 Responses to “Review: Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta”

  1. Kapri (Book Fanatics)

    I’ve been meaning to read this one for quite some time now. I’m glad to hear that it’s good! I really enjoyed Marchetta’s other novels, and I can’t wait to read this one!

  2. Ashley @ Book Labyrinth

    Francesca is definitely a great book, but the companion book, The Piper’s Son is AMAZINGGGGG. It focuses on Tom, but it also features most of the rest of the gang.

    Also, have we talked about my love for Jellicoe Road? I pimp this book to everyone who ever mentions Marchetta (and some that don’t, hehe), so I can’t remember if we’ve talked about it. Anyway, Jellicoe is my favourite book of all time, so you definitely have to check it out. =)

  3. Dazzling Mage

    I loved this book. Sadly, it’s the only book I’ve read by Melina Marchetta, and I look forward to reading the rest. What I loved about Francesca is not only her growth throughout, but that her personality is like this shy friend who is secretly awesome when you get to know her. Loved all the characters and their friendships.

    Great review!

  4. Jen Ryland/YA Romantics

    LOVED this book. But then, I love every Melina Marchetta book.
    And I also love the new blog design. My blogoversary is coming up and maybe it’s time for a little freshening up on my blog…

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