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Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

First of all, I have to thank Mindy of propernoun.net for recommending this title (in the comments of an earlier post ). I had passed it on the YA shelves many times, but never picked it up (possibly due to the fact that the spine is plaid -- but this is my one and only complaint).

Melina Marchetta is apparently a bit of a celebrity in Australia, due to the popularity of her first novel Looking for Alibrandi* which was even made into a movie.

Francesca's mother has always been the driving force in her life. She was the one who made all the family decisions, the one who got Francesca up in the morning, the one who grilled her about school when she got home. But one day, Francesca wakes up to an oddly silent house; her mother has had a nervous breakdown and won't get out of bed.

But while Francesca has to work to hold her family together, she has other problems as well. To start with, she has just started at a new school, more specifically, a private school that had, up until that year, been an all-boys school.

And, the only people she knows from her old school are 3 other girls, but none of them are really good friends. And then there are the boys, who don't really know what to do with the 30 girls who have suddenly shown up on their doorstep.

I'm really not doing the plot justice, but this is an absolutely wonderful novel about friendship and family. Marchetta seems to know her teen subjects incredibly well (and she would, since she teaches English at a similar private all-boys school), and is never condescending to them. The relationships (platonic and not) between Francesca and her classmates are as real and complex as any adult ones, and their conversations and interactions just rang completely true to me. I highly, highly recommend Saving Francesca, especially to readers who enjoy the novels of Sarah Dessen. I was also reminded strongly of John Green's Looking for Alaska, especially in the strength of the friendships.

*I have it on my holds shelf, so I'll read and report back soon.


TadMack said...

I was sent this book from my editor, as a gift and as a favorite of HERS, and I love it, love it, love it.

Brian Mandabach said...

Sounds like a good one!

Little Willow said...

I really enjoyed this book, as well as Looking for Alibrandi.

Sara said...

Thanks for the comments! (And sorry for taking so long to respond to them!)

And LW, I have Looking for Alibrandi checked out, so I'll read it soon. :)

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