Tatiana's Reviews > Saving Francesca

Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
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Jun 26, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: 2010, favorites, ya, aus-nz, 2012, 2016
Recommended for: fans of realistic YA fiction
Read from July 29, 2010 to June 29, 2016 — I own a copy

Updated 6/29/2016
Nobody writes friendships and dialogue quite like Melina Marchetta.
Weird attitude towards anti-depressants though.

Updated 8/16/12
So, two years later after my original reading of Saving Francesca and I am removing a star. I've been claiming for a long time that this novel was my favorite by Marchetta, but it's not true any more. Let's see where my rereading of the entire Marchetta catalog leads me, however at this point I am certain I now prefer her fantasies. Truly, her later novels are simply better.

Original review

Within just a few days (and books) Melina Marchetta has become one of my favorite YA writers. Just like my other favorite author E. Lockhart, she writes about teens and she knows what she is talking about, unlike some YA authors who should not be named.

Let's take Saving Francesca. The story is set in St. Sebastian - a not so long ago all-male school that just recently turned co-ed. You might expect this book to be quite a romp - this school at first appears to be a paradise for girls with male to female ratio of 25 to 1. But Marchetta knows better. St. Sebastian is a deeply sexist place where girls are either completely ignored or viewed as sexual objects. Neither are the boys portrayed as suave sex gods (as seems to be the trend these days). They are quite obnoxious, sometimes infuriating and stinky creatures with (maybe) some redeeming qualities.

Francesca Spinelli is one of the "lucky" 30 girls. She is having a tough time. She doesn't have any friends in her new school and acquiring new girl friends out of so few is not easy. Plus, her mother, the rock of her family, suddenly succumbs to an acute depression.

Saving Francesca is about Francesca's journey to find her strength and save herself from despair, to find friendships in the most unexpected places and maybe love.

The book covers all familiar topics from Marchetta's other novels. It is about mothers and daughters, friendships, finding strength in yourself. It is full of humor and honest emotion. It is funny and it is heartbreaking.

I enjoyed every sentence of it.
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Reading Progress

07/29/2010 page 20
6.0% "Love it already"
02/17/2016 marked as: read
06/27/2016 marked as: currently-reading
06/29/2016 marked as: read
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Comments (showing 1-17 of 17) (17 new)

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message 1: by AH (new) - added it

AH Great review, Tatiana. Adding to my to-read list.


Rosanne So glad you liked it! My favorite thing about Marchetta's work is that she understands human relationships so well and she writes with such truth. I recently read a book that dealt with the issue of mental illness of the protagonist's mother. I couldn't help thinking of Saving Francesca and how well Marchetta had done it, it was not even in the same league and made it hard for me to enjoy as a result. Marchetta writes with such skill, subtlety, and honesty. I find the stories both heartbreaking and uplifting, I just think she gets what life is all about.


message 3: by Tatiana (last edited Aug 02, 2010 05:42PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tatiana I completely agree with you, Rosanne. Marchetta is a great writer and has a tremendous understanding of human nature.


Beth Oh I loved this book. Still do. One huge part of that was the writing. It's got this knowledge of people and this depth and honesty. I also love the way she brings the book full circle at the end.

The sequel is shattering, though. It's not so much a sequel as a companion book, I guess, and it's brutal and gut-wrenching and so, so real. I can't wait for everyone to read it.


Tatiana That's what I heard about The Piper's Son. Can't wait to read it.


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

Ugh oh I so agree. Gut wrenching is exactly right. I fucking loved it. But it tore at my soul.


Rosanne The Piper's Son is gut wrenching, but it is not a depressing read, at the end you feel uplifted. I find that true of all of her books that I have read.


Sasha A re-read? :)


Tatiana Yep. It's a year of rereads for me:) It's quite interesting to see how my tastes have changed over time.


Tatiana I think it means I will like TPS more this time around, just like you wish it:)


message 11: by Jami (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jami I have to agree with your (re)assessment. I really thought this one was my favorite, but after having read her recent fantasy novels, I have been completely in awe of how much better her writing has gotten. And I thought Marchetta's earlier novels were fabulous! I did just re-read On the Jellicoe Road, but if anything, I loved it more the second time around. Less frustration and more appreciation on my part, I think.


message 12: by Tish (new) - added it

Tish So far I've only read Jellicoe Road, but I'm really looking forward to the others--especially her fantasies!


oliviasbooks Somehow that lost star makes me very sad, Tatiana.


Tatiana oliviasbooks wrote: "Somehow that lost star makes me very sad, Tatiana."

Don't be. When I read Finnikin for the first time. I gave it stars, and then changed it to upon reread. So it's a wash, essentially.


Ronyell Awesome review Tatiana!! I really enjoyed this book so thanks for recommending me this book! I actually posted a review on this!


message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

Really want to read Marchetta's novels. Great review, Tatiana!


Teryna90 Great review ^^


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