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Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

Saving Francesca (2003)

by Melina Marchetta

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I do a monthly buddy reading with two of my Instagram buddies Aria and Melissa. We choose a monthly book based on the color of the rainbow. This month our color was orange and our book of the month was Saving Francesca.

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. Sebastian’s an all boy school that just recently opened its doors to girls. She hates school because her friends attend another school leaving her alone at St. Sebastian’s with girls she hardly spoke to because she’d become a social outcast if she did.

When we first meet Francesca we find out something is wrong with her mom. Her mom is upbeat, wants Francesca to be true to herself instead of her following the crowd. Her mom rarely relaxes nor does she take a break…then one day she just won’t get our of bed and life as Francesca knows it no longer exists. She has no idea what is going on and no one will explain. Her father tries to help but he’s struggling with things too.

I won’t lie there were times I wanted to put the book down because I hated Francesca. She literally only cared about herself and I hated her so much. But she evolves she starts speaking her mind, finding herself, and making friends – real friends. Deep down she’s confused because she doesn’t know why her mom won’t get out of bed and isn’t herself. She doesn’t want to tell anyone in fear they’ll make fun of her like her old friends from school would have. Instead her friends Tara, Justine, Siobhan, Thomas, and Jimmy are non-judgmental and help her through the worst times. Then there’s will who she has a crush on, he has a crush on her but it’s complicated. TEENAGE BOYS of course.

The book shows depression does not only affect just the person but those around them. I personally don’t know what I would have done if I was in the same position as Francesca, I probably would’ve snapped. It was so good to see evolve throughout the book she went from self-centered and caring what others thought to a young lady who cared about others and shared what bothered her. There were times when the book made me angry, for instance Francesca’s family not explain to her nor her brother what is happening with their mother. Her dad picking and choosing when Francesca was old enough to handle stuff for example she was old enough to call the university her mom worked at and explain she wouldn’t be returning due to her mental breakdown but when she asked questions about her mother’s health she was a child who wouldn’t understand. Then I would laugh or catch myself smiling at my kindle because some of the situations were funny.
“That’s not true. Because teenage girls who steal boyfriends today will be stealing husbands in ten years time. I’m a home wrecker in training!”

Then there were times, my heart would break:
“Tutto a posto; everything in its place. But my family is split into three and no one is in their place.”

Despite the rocky star to the book, I loved seeing the character development. I really loved how the story focused on the family issues instead of the romance. The romance was a very small part of the story but the whole idea of the story was dealing with the family issues. It showed how by not talking about them could hurt you much more then talking about them. Overall, I would recommend this book.
( )
  tina_thebookworm | Feb 12, 2016 |
A good coming-of-age story, much better than "Looking for Alibrandi". Francesca was a great character and I loved her friends. The only character I really didn't like Frankie's love interest, Will, he was rather flat and boring. ( )
  HeatherLINC | Jan 23, 2016 |
I love Melina Marchetta's writing. Like more than I think is normal to be honest. She writes in this real way. She doesn't write these tough strong women, she writes normal every day women who are tough in their own ways and strong in their own ways but are so relatable because they live the same lives as an ordinary person.
This book felt so real to me. Mental health issues are prominent in the book and it is portrayed accurately and it shows how it affects not just the person living with it but those surrounding that person. It shows very real relationships between people. How depression can tear a family apart, or bring it together. It shows how friendships are easy but also complicated. It shows how romantic relationships are usually complicated but sometimes simple.
Everything about this book was just so special. True, there was very little plot and was in all honesty very slow, but hearing about a girl just going to school everyday and her day to day life was actually really great in this book. Normally I want more, but I was happy with the basic storyline.
Melina Marchetta is brilliant. She writes stories taking place in Australia, already incredibly rare, she writes real characters that are often very uncomplicated, and to top it off she does all of this so beautifully. I recommend all of her books. Every single one she writes. ( )
  thatgirlbookworm | Aug 5, 2015 |
Wow. Starts out with a whiny teen in a 'Hallmark Hall of Fame' situation but quickly reveals itself to be real. Deft - we don't get to know Francesca for a long time, but that's because she doesn't know herself. We don't know much about Dad or brother, but that's because F. is wrapped up in her own coming-of-age challenges and being distracted by worries about Mummy. Good lessons for teens and for parents, told smoothly, almost lightly, with wit, insight, and heart. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
Fantastic characterizations and relationships, excellent voice, satisfying ending. Really enjoyed this! ( )
  devafagan | Jan 2, 2015 |
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For Luca
the St Mary's Cathedral College boys
... and for the girls there, too...
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This morning, my mother didn't get out of bed.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375829830, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:53 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Sixteen-year-old Francesca could use her outspoken mother's help with the problems of being one of a handful of girls at a parochial school that has just turned co-ed, but her mother has suddenly become severely depressed.

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An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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