by Melina Marchetta
published May 9, 2006 by Random House Children's Books
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. -goodreads
Review: Arghh I just simply can't get enough of Melina Marchetta's books! Ever since Jellicoe Road, I have been having these random moments of (for lack of better words) craving for Marchetta's books the same way pregnant people have random food cravings! Now while Saving Francesca did not have the same absolute profound/mind-blowing effect that Jellicoe Road did, I really really enjoyed it.
DON'T let the cover fool you! This book is not as lighthearted and silly and chick-lit-y as this cover portrays it to be. This book tackles some pretty tough issues like depression and its impact on others. Marchetta executes this perfectly. Honestly, there's just something about her writing--her style isn't particularly extravagant or Dickens-esque, it's authentic and real-- but it packs such an emotional punch! Her words have a way of worming its way to your heart and then BAM! Before you know it, you are emotionally invested in the novel! Seriously, her stories just have a way of tugging at your heartstrings and it'll have you laughing and crying before you know it.
And that's the thing--you don't actually realize how emotionally invested you are until it's too late! Saving Francesca started off a little...not slow exactly, but just not very exciting and engaging. Don't get me wrong, it was good and everything, but not wow! material.
Then, and I have no clue how this happened, but events started to unfold and it's like suddenly I was along on this emotional roller coaster with the characters! I was laughing at Francesca's humor, loving her group of friends as much as she does, and having some pretty emotional moments myself when it came to her family.
I think it's fair to say that Melina Marchetta is the Ninja of Emotional Writing...
Not only that, but she is the master of creating realistic and complex characters. Gosh, I could go on and on about how much I loved all the characters and relationships in this story because they were just crafted sooo darn well! I was seriously wishing that her characters could be real so I could meet and befriend them.
But enough of my ranting--bottom line: read this book! It's fantastic. But here, I'll let the book speak for itself...
"Do you think I look like Sophia Loren?" I ask him as we get into the car.
"I used to tell your mother she looked like Sophia Loren." He looks at me, frowning, and then it registers. "Oh God, some guy's using that line on you, isn't he?"
"Not just 'some guy,'" I tell him. "The guy."
“People with lost personalities will suffer a great deal more than those with lost virginities.”
“I miss the Stella girls telling me what I am. That I'm sweet and placid and accommodating and loyal and nonthreatening and good to have around. And Mia. I want her to say, "Frankie, you're silly, you're lazy, you're talented, you're passionate, you're restrained, you're blossoming, you're contrary."
I want to be an adjective again. But I'm a noun.
A nothing. A nobody. A no one.”
“It's a weird smile, but it reaches his eyes and I bottle it. And I put it in my ammo pack that's kept right next to my soul and Justine's spirit and Siobham's hope and Tara's passions. Because if I'm going to wake up one morning and not be able to get out of bed, I'm going to need everything I've got to fight this disease that could be sleeping inside of me.”
“Do you think people have noticed that I'm around?"
"I notice when you're not. Does that count?”