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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

Title: Saving Francesca
Author: Melina Marchetta

Release Date: 31st March 2003

My Rating: 5/5

Francesca battles her mother, Mia, constantly over what's best for her. All Francesca wants is her old friends and her old school, but instead Mia sends her to St. Sebastian's, an all-boys' school that has just opened its doors to girls. Now Francesca's surrounded by hundreds of boys, with only a few other girls for company. All of them weirdos, or worse.

Then one day, Mia is too depressed to get out of bed. One day turns into months, and as her family begins to fall apart, Francesca realises that without her mother's high spirits, she hardly knows who she is. But she doesn't yet realise that she's more like Mia than she thinks. With a little unlikely help from St. Sebastian's, she just might be able to save her family, her friends, and - especially- herself.

In A Nutshell:
I adored Saving Francesca! It is a story of family, friendship, acceptance, strength, and looking deeper at people to discover who they really are and not just the public persona they put on.

My Review:
Oh gosh. Why oh why did I wait so long to read this?! I absolutely adored Saving Francesca and it has gone straight to my all-time-favourites list.

What I love most is that it is so real. I can picture Francesca, Tara, Justine, Siobhan, Thomas, Will and Jimmy as if they were going about their lives. There is a warmth in all of them as they are just ordinary kids, searching to be allowed to be themselves and belong without ridicule, something that is not easy in high school. People will often put on the face that they think others want them to be and they become half the person they could have been, because they are trying to please others rather than be themselves.

Saving Francesca focuses mainly around the themes of family and depression. Francesca’s once strong-willed and vibrant mother wakes up one morning and doesn’t get out of bed. This continues for months and Francesca’s dad is left to try and hold the family together. Francesca begins to question the way her parents have always interacted and her own place in the world, and while she just wants everything to go back to the way it was, her family will never be the same and she has to learn to adjust to the new family dynamic.

Amongst the trouble at home, Francesca is struggling at her new school, Saint Sebastian’s, which for the first year is accepting girls to the once all-boys school. As one of 30 female students, Francesca, who has come from an all-girls school, struggles to fit in as both the girls and the boys try to find a way to understand and relate to each other.

As Francesca begins to make new friends and rediscover those from her pre-teen years, her life begins to look up until a run in with some old ‘friends’ threatens to tip everything off balance again.

It is a story of family, friendship, acceptance, strength, and looking deeper at people to discover who they really are and not just the public persona they put on.


In 2010, Melina wrote a companion novel called The Piper's Son which looks at where Thomas McKee is, five years after the events of Saving Francesca. I read The Piper's Son before I read Saving Francesca. Click here for my review.

1 comment:

  1. Saving Francesca is a favourite of mine, too! It's absolutely amazing. I re-read this a couple weeks ago and loved it even more the second time round. Now that's saying something!
    And yes to EVERYTHING you said, I agree with it all. Great review :)


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