Aly (Fantasy4eva)'s Reviews > Saving Francesca

Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
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Apr 01, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: boys-that-make-me-swoon, fast-paced-and-engrossing, favourites, hilarious, oh-how-the-heart-flutters
Read on January 25, 2012

RATED: 4.5

“It's a weird smile, but it reaches his eyes and I bottle it. And I put it in my ammo pack that's kept right next to my soul and Justine's spirit and Siobham's hope and Tara's passions. Because if I'm going to wake up one morning and not be able to get out of bed, I'm going to need everything I've got to fight this disease that could be sleeping inside of me.”

i wasn't fair to this book the first time i read it. i see that now. at the time i read jellicoe road and i had such high expectations, that this didn't even seem to come close. but it took for me to read the pipers son to realise how much i missed these guys. because in the sequel, tom spends so much of his time being closed off and angry that all his mates that we grew to love from this book seem like strangers. And nothings harder. to see characters you grow to love seem so far away. so you see i needed to read this book. i needed to read it because i thought about them often. i wanted to go back. to see where it all started for tara and a certain so-and-so. if will was in fact as much of a prick as I remembered him. to know what francesca saw in the guy, i wanted to remind myself of that journey. of what it was that made her swoon when he was nearby, because i saw them through tom's eyes and he often wondered the same. but apart from the girls and will there were two characters i needed to visit again. jimmy and thomas. because i missed the thomas that was such a prankster, playful, crude and just so young. although it's only five years down the line in the sequel, that's a thomas that i'll never get to meet again, but i needed to meet that thomas again. and i needed to get to know jimmy and really soak him in this time, because he has always remained a mystery. but i plan to solve that boy someday.

Jimmy and Thomas. <3 *sighs*

i get ache-y just thinking about this book. there are so many beautiful moments. and although I stuggled to like francesca at times, it's close to impossible for her pain not to affect you. she wants to belong so so much, she wants her family to be whole again and for her mother to get out of bed. it doesn't help that she's so lonely, so she makes up for it by trying to please others. but when she starts hanging around justine, tara, shoiban, jimmy and thomas: she might just have to shatter this facade she's held as a safety net for so long.

the thing is that her mother has always wanted more from her. to pull her out of this comfort zone whilst her father has always been about their mother. so when she is faced with a mother who is ill, and a father that is determined to ignore the obvious, she's left alone to protect her family and herself. but as boy/mate drama enters the equation and thoughts start entering her mind that scare her, she doesn't know what to do with herself. and it's this fear and utter sense of hopelessness within francesca that really tugs at you. it was only now that i understood how much she was suffering. after it all i'm so glad that she met the people that she did, made these mates, met that guy because they are undeniably good for her. even THAT guy that i kind of hate to admit.

I WANT
to sit beside jimmy and tell him to pour his heart out.
to tell thomas mackee to pull his pants up ( trin :D ) and then let him know that it's time to get ready, because i know the boy behind that bad boy image, the real thomas. and shit, there's a whole lot worse to come
to tell justine that there's this wonderful wonderful boy that will steal her heart, and that he kind of stole mine before he did hers.. but that's okay. we can share, kay?
to tell tara that i admire her strength and passion, that he may be a bit of a annoying shit, but he's THE ONE. and that she'll be the one to get him out of that dark hole.
to tell siobhn that she's going to be just fine, to not give a fuck what others say or think and to keep on hoping
to tell francesca to stay happy, positive, and just the way she is. to let her know that those mates, and that boy, well, she's kind of stuck with them for life
luca: how about a cuddle?
to will you still suck.

it's tough to let them go once you know how much there is still in store for them. when you have a hint of just how tough things wll be, the challenges they will face. especially for jimmy and thomas.

this book is so lovely. i bookmarked more quotes than i dare count. i can't believe how much i actually underestimated saving francesca. what the hell was i thinking. it's a beauty.

I'm such a spoilsport. i should be content with just liking the quotes but i'm not quite satisfied. the quotes will be in the review, me thinks.

Thomas bulldozes past and grabs Tara under his arm and drags her away, almost hanging upside down. "Tom!" she snaps. She disentangles herself and walks back to us, trying to fix up her uniform. "Shut up," she says at the faces we're making.

I wipe her face and I finish buttoning up her shirt. She's looking at me, a little stunned. My eyes feel swollen and my face grimy, and I must look worse than her at the moment. "You used to be my best friend," she whispers. "Do you remember?" "I don't know who I was," I whisper back. (siobhan and francesca)

"He's not going to get it," Siobhan says, already bored. "Let me try." Jimmy faces Thomas. "From what I can remember from this film, The Boy and the Dolphin, Sophia has big tits." "Ahhh," Thomas says, nodding. "Is that all you guys notice?" Tara asks, disgusted. "No. I'm actually a great ass man myself," Jimmy explains, just to rile her up. "What about you?" he says, turning to Tuba Guy, with that evil/innocent look on his face.

"I'm not into relationship advice," Tara explains "Based on the fact that she's never had one," Thomas scoffs. "Neither have you, except for the one with your hand." I'm impressed. So is Siobhan.

I'm shaking my head. "You are not coming home with me, Jimmy." "Don't be so cruel, woman."

"Why would Will want to talk to you?" I snap. "I offered him my cigarette and said, `Let's talk women, Will. How does one sustain two at the same time?" (jimmy)

"Would you like me to introduce you to her? Her name's dumb bitch." "Why don't you just take a Midol," he snarls. I ignore him, and as we pack up he grunts a thanks to Justine, who glances at me, distressed. "This doesn't mean we have to be his friend, does it?" (thoms,justine and francesca)

“I need voices of reason and of hysteria and of empathy. I need to have an Alanis moment. I need advice from Elizabeth Bennett. I need Tim Tams and comfort food.”

Justine has her arm around me and I'm crying my head off while I'm telling them, and then I see Thomas roll his eyes. "God, you're uncool," he says, "for even thinking that. Now can we stop talking about such trivia and talk about the real issues?" He makes himself comfortable on my bed and looks around with this stupid demented smile on his face. "So who's sleeping with me?

We watch in silence, but I look at the others' faces. All of them glued to the screen, a dreamy look on their faces. A hint of a smile on their lips. A sense of hope. They're all the same. Cynical Tara, couldn't-give-a-shit Siobhan, romantic Justine. And I want to cry. Because my face looks just like theirs and I haven't felt like anyone else since I was in Year Seven and Siobhan Sullivan and I did the Macarena in the foyer of the chapel and got lunchtime detention for a week. Justine catches me looking and she smiles, and with tears in my eyes I smile back.

“For a moment I can't help thinking how decent he is - that there's some hope for him beyond the obnoxious image he displays. Maybe deep down he is a sensitive guy, who sees us as real people with real issues. I want to say something nice. Some kind of thanks. I stand there, rehearsing it in my mind. "Oh my God," he says, "did you see that girl's tits?"
Maybe not today.” (thomas and francesca)

I think he's flirting with me and I have this ridiculous grin on my face but I can't help it. He goes to leave but then stops again. "And just so you know," he tells me. "I know you're behind the disappearance of the biscuits." "Biscuits?" "My nonnas S biscuits." "Funny, that. My nonna makes S biscuits too. She's actually the Queen of S Biscuits." He's trying not to grin. And I don't know why, but I sit on that step until the last person's gone home and I'm still grinning. Like someone who has a bit of a crush.

Thomas and Justine are sharing a Discman, one earphone in each of their ears. I put my face between them. "Tuba Guy's not going to be happy," I say, doing the smooching sounds that Thomas always does when I'm speaking to Will. Behind me, Tara and Siobhan are asleep, heads against each other, mouths hanging open, a bit of saliva on the side. I feel a wave of sadness come over me. I want the bus driver to turn the bus around and I want to spend the rest of my days in a whirlwind of the last few days. Of flirting. Of laughing. Of ridding the world of evil. Of folk songs.Of piggybacks. Of hip-hop dancing. Of foolishness. And most of all, of forgetting.

IN DRAMA, MR. ORTLEY plays "Venus." It's the version by this sixties band, Shocking Blue. And suddenly, out of nowhere, Thomas Mackee starts to dance. Later he tells people that he thought he heard "I'm your penis" rather than "I'm your Venus" and that's why he got up. But, as usual with Thomas Mackee, you never know the truth.

At one stage I have no idea what time it is. I wake up and Will's sitting on the floor, his back in front of me, leaning against my sofa. "Hey," he says quietly, leaning back so our faces are level. I can hardly speak but I try. "I was born seventeen years ago," I tell him. "Do you think people have noticed that I'm around?” "I notice when you're not. Does that count?" I close my eyes again and go to sleep

Later on, we walk back to Thomas Mackee's car and I ask him why he doesn't drink. "Because I want to be the first male in the Mackee family to reach forty and still have his liver," he says bluntly. In the dark I can't tell whether he's serious or not. I lean against a streetlight and throw up, just near his shoe. He looks down at the ground and then at me. "The guacamole was a mistake," he says matter-off factly. For the second time that night he makes me laugh. "Don't make me have to like you," I tell him.

Justine is running toward me, and I can tell by the look on her face that she's found out about the musical, too. I sigh, shaking my head. "I have to give Justine a lesson in holding back," I tell him. "She's just way too enthusiastic."She grabs my arms in excitement. "We're doing Les Mis." I scream hysterically, clutching her as we jump up and down. Siobhan and Tara walk toward us. "You guys are so uncool. I don't know why we hang out with you," Siobhan says.

“So I ring Justine Kalinsky and I say, "It's Francesca Spinelli," and she says, "Francesca, you've got to stop using last names. How are you doing?" and I say "I feel like shit", and I don't know how it happens, but by eight o'clock that night I'm lying next to her on the couch with Siobhan and Tara and we're eating junk food and watching a Keanu movie. And I want to stay on that couch for the rest of my life.”


wow. so i'm getting carried away with the quotes as it is. Thought i'd hide the other half for those that really wanted to see them. :)

(view spoiler)


I think I'm a bit in love with these girls. They make me feel giddy. Like I haven't a care in the world. Like I'm fearless. Like I used to be.
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Reading Progress

01/25/2012 page 120
49.0% "Oh how I have missed you Jimmy and Tom. I love youuuuuuuuuu." 2 comments
01/25/2012 page 120
49.0% "Justine has her arm around me and I'm crying my head off while I'm telling them, and then I see Thomas roll his eyes. "God, you're uncool," he says, "for even thinking that. Now can we stop talking about such trivia and talk about the real issues?" He makes himself comfortable on my bed and looks around with this stupid demented smile on his face. "So who's sleeping with me? *sighs* Oh Thomas, how I miss you :("
01/25/2012 "Justine has her arm around me and I'm crying my head off while I'm telling them, and then I see Thomas roll his eyes. "God, you're uncool," he says, "for even thinking that. Now can we stop talking about such trivia and talk about the real issues?" He makes himself comfortable on my bed and looks around with this stupid demented smile on his face. "So who's sleeping with me? *sighs* Oh Thomas, how I miss you :(" 1 comment
01/25/2012 "When I think of you, I think of future stuff. I think of this is it and I'm not supposed to think this is it at my age. I don't look at you and think nice. I look at you and think, oh my God, I want to hold her and never let her go. I think, sex-right here, right now. "Frankie!" My dad is behind us and Will swings around in shock, instantly getting onto his feet and staring up at my father, who is glaring. LMFAO!!"
01/25/2012 "He's unstoppable. "But sometimes I get terrified and think that everything may change and I won't know where to fit in when I get back, after I've spent a whole lifetime fitting in. Or what if that dickhead Mackee and that psycho Hailler grow a brain and you start finding yourself attracted to them, if you aren't already?" OI YOU. I think you're a little confused there mate. BECAUSE THEY ARE THE SHIZZ! Humph!"
01/25/2012 "He's unstoppable. "But sometimes I get terrified and think that everything may change and I won't know where to fit in when I get back, after I've spent a whole lifetime fitting in. Or what if that dickhead Mackee and that psycho Hailler grow a brain and you start finding yourself attracted to them, if you aren't already?" OI YOU. I think you're a little confused there mate. BECAUSE THEY ARE THE SHIZZ! Humph!"

Comments (showing 1-20 of 20) (20 new)

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message 1: by Jo (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jo Have you read this one before, Aly?

Tell Tom I love him.


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

Tell Tom to pull up his pants ;)


message 3: by Jo (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jo .....spoilsport.


Kat T. I loved it!! Happy reading, Aly!:D


Aly (Fantasy4eva) Yes. A while back, but after reading 'the pipers son' i felt such an urge to go back and see Tom through Francesca' eyes. To see where it all went wrong for him, and at a time when he was just young and so different. And I just missed Jimmy so so much that this book has practically been calling me ever since

Hhahaha. I sure will Trin. That part made me smile. The first time I read this I thought Tom was unlikeable and gross. But after PS, its like this whole other experience, i find myself lean closer every time Tom and Jimmy make an appearance.

I think I'm loving this deffo more around the second time. And thanks, Corby :)


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

I felt like that too! And the Tara moments are just so much sweeter. (view spoiler)
I'm gonna reread PS soon :)


message 7: by Jo (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jo I think I need to re-read this again.
I read it the week after Jellicoe and I think I compared the two of them and did SF a great injustice.

This one makes me so sad though, I can really relate to the subject matter.

Also, I LOVE JIMMY.

:)

Enjoy Aly!


Aly (Fantasy4eva) I know, I'm looking so forward to the Tara and Tom moments. I'm eager to know just how they hit it off, and for any clues that indicate his interest. I'm thinking about the comment about her smile. That was sweet. And THAT moment. I loled! He's such a dorky rebel. But he's a hot dorky rebel. ;) I still don't like Will, but he's so closed off through Tom' eyes in PS, that I'm kind of enjoying getting to know him all over again in this one.


message 9: by Jo (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jo I love the bit at the end when Francesca says something like I think Tom is in love with all of us but it's Tara who makes his heart beat faster.

Awwwwwww. :)


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

Aaawwwwwww!

Now I want to read it again and I only just read it.
I'm still not a Will fan but I like him better than I did before :)


message 11: by Anya (new) - rated it 4 stars

Anya Great book. I am sure you'd like it (:


Aly (Fantasy4eva) Jo wrote: "I think I need to re-read this again.
I read it the week after Jellicoe and I think I compared the two of them and did SF a great injustice.

This one makes me so sad though, I can really relate to..."


Jo, EXACT same problem. It seemed like nothing compared to JR at the time and it had a huge affect on the rating. I'm loving it a lot more this time around. I seemed to have not paid as much attention to Francesca' hint of (view spoiler) back then too, but it's so evident now and so sad.

I know most will read this before PS, obviously. But for me, once I had read PS, since it had been a while when I had read SF, I found myself hugely missing the girls. And honestly, you can only know them, Tom, Jimmy and Will through Francesca' eyes, because Tom is in such a different place in PS that they seem almost like strangers. So I've been waiting a while to read this and get to know them all over again. It makes me all sad and mushy seeing this cheeky/prankster Tom.

Ahhh, Jimmy. <3

Thanks love :)


Amelia, the pragmatic idealist *raises hand* I read JELLICOE first, then totally compared/contrasted SF to it. Need to read SF again sometimes. It's been almost a year! :o


Devyani great review :D
it makes me want to go , crack up the book and read it all over again .
i'm thinking maybe i'll do just that and then hop onto The Piper's Son because i miss Thomas and then again it's the Marchetta Bomb .
lovely review again , Aly .


Aly (Fantasy4eva) Devyani wrote: "great review :D
it makes me want to go , crack up the book and read it all over again .
i'm thinking maybe i'll do just that and then hop onto The Piper's Son because i miss Thomas and then again i..."


Why thank you :D Hhahahaa. I re-read this for Thomas and Jimmy. I'll be reading PS next just because I need to get in his head again. I appreciate them so much more now.

Amreen wrote: "You are SOOOOO lucky I want this book NOW >.<"

GET IT ASAP. And the sequel with it. They are fantastic :D

Amelia, the pragmatic idealist wrote: "*raises hand* I read JELLICOE first, then totally compared/contrasted SF to it. Need to read SF again sometimes. It's been almost a year! :o"

Amelia!!!!! Feels like ages! And yes, you deffo should. I made the same mistake but it took to read the sequel to see how wrong i was :)


Devyani Getting into Thomas's head .
(boy , i do like the sound of it :P )
and did i mention that this one line above in your review , AGAIN related to Thomas , made me smile a lot ...

'to tell Thomas Mackee to pull his pants up'

Oh God . i'm a perv when it comes to this boy . o.O
and i missed Jimmy so much in PS !


message 17: by Jo (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jo Will does still suck.
*grumbles*

I love this review, Aly. I think I need to read all of these again.
Maybe I'll just have a week where I get them all out. :)

ps. Dev- Marchetta bomb. HA. :)


message 18: by Devyani (last edited Jan 26, 2012 02:51AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Devyani okaaay , I'm having my fan-girl moment now .

and it's definitely serious .

the Marchetta Bomb .

dangerous and highly intoxicating .

it comes in forms of beautiful , attractive things with names that start from J and T and are versions of Gods from the male species sent by the fiery lady of awesomeness because of whom , i think , i wish i was a Man .

(just imagine , A Cup of Coffee , My Darling MM as my wife and a draft of her next venture .

PEACE to the literature-lusting heart .

fan-girl moment over .

and considering Jo's mention of Will .
My love for MM grows more . because she knew what Thomas did to us in SF and what it would do to us if we saw him like the boy he was in PS .
and that's called intelligent Marketing by an author .
Throw a guy you love in a gutter , with the line ..'Thomas Mackee needs saving' and you have millions of copies sold .

like i said before , intelligent .


Limonessa I should plan a re-read soon!
Nice review!


♥Rachel♥ Great review Aly. Love the quotes. Makes me want to read this all over again. :)


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