Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
Description from Goodreads:
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.
Oh my goodness! I can’t even begin to describe how much I loved this book! Seriously – I wish these characters were real so I could move to Australia and be friends with them. The characters were just amazing and their story sucked me in.
I loved Francesca. She was so realistic as a teenager trying to figure out who she is and where she fits. I loved that she was pushed out of her comfort zone, forced to make friends with the girls and boys at St. Sebastian, and starts to discover that she likes it out in reality. She was just a wonderful character that I laughed with, I cried with, and just wanted to be friends with.
I liked Francesca’s family, especially her relationship with her brother. It was sweet. For all her dad’s faults, he was trying to figure out how to help his wife and raise two kids. His grocery shopping accomplishments made me laugh. I liked Francesca’s childhood relationship with her mother and how being like her mother caused Francesca to learn about herself and grow throughout the book. And of course, the extended family was great. I have a big family, so I could see some of the people I’m related to in Francesca’s family.
The girls of St. Sebastian were loads of fun. I liked that Siobhan, Tara, and Justine did stay in the stereotypes that they originally were in Francesca’s mind – the slut, the activist, and the nerd. They were really well rounded, pretty normal teenagers. I liked how much they believed in Francesca even when she didn’t realize it or understand it.
And finally the boys – Will, Thomas, and Jimmy. Will I loved and hated. He frustrated me, but I came to love him. Jimmy was awesome! I loved how he was completely comfortable in the Spinelli house and brought both Francesca and her mother out of their shells a little bit. His banter with Francesca was hilarious. And Thomas Mackee – yum! I loved his bad boy attitude that didn’t stand the test of time. I couldn’t help but laugh as he because friends with Francesca and her friends despite his best efforts.
I highly recommend this to anyone. It was just amazing. I can’t wait for The Piper’s Son to come out in March for more Thomas Mackee!
Read as part of the Aussie YA Challenge and my Melina Marchetta challenge.