Release Date: March 2003
Age Group: Young Adult
Received From: Bought
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.
I didn’t quite know what to expect going into Saving Francesca. I don’t know that I had ever actually read the description. I just knew two facts, it’s by Melina Marchetta and lots of people love it. That was all I needed to know. I’ll admit the it did take me a few chapters to fall into it, but after that I was completely captivated.
Saving Francesca is a coming of age story. A believable and very, very realistic one. Francesca is sad. She’s had to change schools and leave all of her friends behind. Her very vivacious mother isn’t getting out of bed anymore and her father isn’t doing anything about it. Basically Francesca feels alone, abandoned, but she doesn’t whine or complain. She tells her story with dry wit and honesty. Her voice was probably the most realistic I have read in a long time. I would go so far as to say that she is one of my favorite characters ever.
What I loved most about the story is that it has this quiet, subtle feel about it. I don’t really know how to explain it, but by the end of it I was just in awe of the beauty of the story. I also loved that we as readers see things that Francesca doesn’t really pick up on. Like how she is making friends. Really, really good friends. I loved them all. They were an odd assortment.
The romance is also a little subtle. It happens slowly and it was one of those that melted me. Just about every scene with Francesca and Will made me feel all warm and fuzzy.
I loved Saving Francesca. I can’t recommend it enough. Please read it. My review doesn’t do it justice at all. You need to find out for yourself.