Home > Katy's Korner > Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

Saving Francesca
by Melina Marchetta

Saving Francesca

By: Melina Marchetta

Release Date: May 9, 2006

Rating: 4 stars

Summary: Francesca is stuck at St. Sebastians, a boys’ school that’s 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, along, 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.


Review: I thought I read this book years ago, but I guess I never did. And I picked it up after a Lumatere Chronicles high, and I was in the mood for something light and cute. But this book ended up being way much more.

The reason I liked it so much was because it felt so real, and I found myself comparing some of the characters to people I actually know. Yes, it is a little strange to be a girl in a newly all-boys-turned-coed school, but it forced Francesca into a world outside her comfortable cliquish group. She lets her real self shine through and makes friends with people she never would have taken the time to know. Tara gives her strength; Siobhan shows her to find her fun self again; and Justine stirs up the compassion in her. And obnoxious, pigheaded, sex-driven boys may not be as bad as she originally thought. Thomas made me laugh; I just adored Jimmy; and Will was his complicated self.

At the same time, Francesca had issues to deal with at home, as her family tries to cope with her mother’s depression. Francesca, Lucas, Bob the Builder and everyone else each try to deal in their own ways. But the amazing thing was Marchetta did not try to overdramatize everything to pull at your emotional heartstrings. You can take that situation, and yes, you can compare it to real life because that’s what real people do go through.

This book felt so normal to read, as if I’m walking through the halls of high school – sure you have somewhat of your cliques, but they’re not too stereotypical.

And it had some really great one-liners and scenes that made me laugh (like the butcher paper discussion, “I’ve turned into a delinquent,” the random dancing and singing scenes, “Do that sober, and I’ll be impressed,” and the funtimes at camp).

So yes, it’s not totally mind-blowing or thought-provoking coming from the tailend of reading the Lumatere Chronicles (though I understand this was written years before), but it was just so refreshing to read something so normal and real.

EDIT – Ahhh!!! I just found out The Piper’s Son is about Thomas. Going to have to pick that one up next time I’m at the library.

Go to Katy’s review on Goodreads.

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  1. Celeste
    October 4, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    I can’t believe you didn’t read this until now! Glad you liked it, I did too. Now go read Harmonic Feedback!!!! >:D

    • Katy
      October 4, 2012 at 11:25 pm

      In my defense, I thought I HAD read it. I got your GR message (or I saw it in my email). I’ll read Harmonic Feedback when you read Looking for Alibrandi.

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