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Saving Francesca
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Previous BRs - Authors; M - P > Marchetta, Melina - Saving Francesca - Start Date June 2nd 2012

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message 1: by Moderators of NBRC, Challenger-in-Chief (last edited Sep 13, 2012 04:58PM) (new)

Moderators of NBRC | 30807 comments Mod
This topic will be open shortly for discussion of Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta.

Synopsis:

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, alone, 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.


message 2: by Lisa Kay (last edited Jun 05, 2012 08:15AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Kay (lisakayalicemaria) | 15159 comments NBRC: ~ Saving Francesca ~ “June: Group Read” Start Date: June 2nd

Saving Francesca, by Melina Marchetta

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Chapter Breakdown:
FOUR DAYS
Date Chapters = Pages PPDQs*
June 2nd 01 - 08 = 65p Lisa Kay
June 3rd 09 - 18 = 68p Lisa Kay
June 4th 19 - 28 = 58p Lisa Kay
June 5th 29 - 35 = 52p Lisa Kay

*PPDQs = Person Posting Discussion Questions

Participants
Kim L.
Mary
Laura
Lisa Kay

Lurkers
Sashana
Lady Jayne


message 3: by Kim (new) - added it

Kim Are we doing the 3 day or 4 day reading schedule? My vote is for the 4 day. :)


Lisa Kay (lisakayalicemaria) | 15159 comments I thought I'd get a consensus, Kim. :o)


Mary (merinwe) | 1043 comments Excited about this one! 4 day schedule looks good to me, but I can do a 3 day schedule, too.


message 6: by Lisa Kay (last edited Jun 02, 2012 07:41AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Kay (lisakayalicemaria) | 15159 comments Great, Kim & Mary! A four day schedule works for me, too. ☺

I took down the three day proposal to avoid confusion.


message 7: by Lisa Kay (last edited Jun 02, 2012 07:35AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Kay (lisakayalicemaria) | 15159 comments Lisa Kay’s Questions for Chapters 1 – 8

1. Consider fantasy verses reality; how would you feel if you were sent to a predominantly all-boys’ school like St. Sebastian’s? Does it make a difference that this is the first time St. Sebastian’s is opening its doors to girls?

2. Siobhan Sullivan and Tara Finke. Could two girls be more different? (Not to mention Justine Kalinsky.) What to you make of Francesca being friends, at some time in her life, with these polar opposites?

3. What do you think of the girls’ list? Are these legitimate complaints? First, Francesca wanted to ‘lay low,’ but she somehow ends up with it! Yet, William Trombal tells her to ‘lay low’ it pushes her button. Comments.

4. William Trombal, Thomas Mackee, Javier, and Jimmy Hailler. Which one of the guys stood out the most to you? Would he be a “perfect match” for Francesca? Or is she going to have a different type of relationship with each of them.

5. Why do you think Francesca’s mother Mia doesn’t get out of bed? Do you think this book is going to have an unhappy ending? Saving Francesca puts the dynamics of Francesca’s family under a microscope during a critical time in their lives. Is it tugging at your heart strings? Or do you find it just depressing? (Okay, I’ll admit that part about her mother’s Cesarean scar had me tearing up.) And speaking of the title, what do you make of its meaning?

6. As a nurse, I believe in being honest and open about illness. Yet, I understand why people would want to keep something like that private from the general population. I was wondering why the adults don’t tell the kids what is going on with Mia; but then, it has been so recent a “breakdown” that they probably don’t know. True? Comments.

7. What do you think of Francesca’s father, Bob the Builder? It is obvious he is ‘in love’ with his wife, which I think is neat. Could you be attracted to a male that was less successful than yourself? Why is he telling Francesca that her mother is ‘just a bit down’?

8. What about Francesca’s brother, Luca? I think it is neat that they have a close relationship. Do you? What do you think of the book’s dedication? Think this story is based on a real person? (BTW, I was pretty pissed when Mr. Brolin ‘separated’ them. What a %$#*&.)

9. Do you think that Francesca is a thought-provoking and realistic character? She’s convinced she has no personality; in fact, it appears she wants it that way: to be ignored, overlooked, left to her own devices. With her mother illness, it seems she’s getting what she wants. Do you think she’s happy with this result? Will she remain that way?

10. BTW, which one of the bookcovers above to do you like the best?


message 8: by Lady Jayne *~*The Beach Bandida*~* (last edited Jun 02, 2012 07:35AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

 Lady Jayne *~*The Beach Bandida*~* (ladyjayne) | 155 comments Oh, I LOVE this book, Lisa Kay! I remember staying up until the wee hours reading it. It was something that really resonated with me because I understood what Francesca's mum was going through, as I was going through something similar, at the time.

I love Melina Marchetta's characterisations. I think she's an excellent writer.

I met Melina Marchetta and she said that the inspiration for this book was that she taught at an all-boys school, and her experiences of being one of the few females there inspired her to introduce Francesca and her friends into an all-boys school.

The sequel to this The Piper's Son, involving Thomas (Tom) Mackee just broke my heart.

Have a great discussion!


message 9: by Lisa Kay (last edited Jun 05, 2012 09:54AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Kay (lisakayalicemaria) | 15159 comments Leichhardt, Australia

Leichhardt Town Hall
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Leichhardt Falls
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message 10: by Lisa Kay (last edited Jun 02, 2012 07:38AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Kay (lisakayalicemaria) | 15159 comments Lady Jayne wrote: "The sequel to this The Piper's Son, involving Thomas (Tom) Mackee just broke my heart."

Thanks for stopping by, Jayne! Good to know you liked this one. I'm enjoying it, too. I saw there was another one after this, The Piper's Son. It looks good also. ☺

The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta


message 11: by Lady Jayne *~*The Beach Bandida*~* (last edited Jun 02, 2012 07:48AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

 Lady Jayne *~*The Beach Bandida*~* (ladyjayne) | 155 comments Lisa Kay, I couldn't resist popping by when I saw you were reading a favourite book and author of mine! ^_^

The Piper's Son is more adult and is darker. I was extremely emotional reading it as it was a very raw look at the effects of grief on a family, and it was released, and I was reading it, around the anniversary of my brother's death. It's set a few years after Saving Francesca.


 Lady Jayne *~*The Beach Bandida*~* (ladyjayne) | 155 comments Wow, I didn't realise there were so many versions of the cover of this!


Lisa Kay (lisakayalicemaria) | 15159 comments Lady Jayne *~*The Beach Bandida*~* wrote: "Wow, I didn't realise there were so many versions of the cover of this!"

Yes, it is quite popular internationally. There is another one that I believe is from the Philippines (?); however, it was too blurry to use.


message 14: by Mary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary (merinwe) | 1043 comments So this is my first time participating in one of these group discussions. Woo! I'm loving the book so far.

1. Consider fantasy verses reality; how would you feel if you were sent to a predominantly all-boys’ school like St. Sebastian’s? Does it make a difference that this is the first time St. Sebastian’s is opening its doors to girls?
Well first of all, I'd be incredibly intimidated. I was very insecure in high school as it was, but if I'd been thrown into that kind of environment (without my friends), I don't think I would have handled it well. As for the second issue...yes and no. You could cut them some slack, yes. But if they're going to go to the trouble of opening the school to girls in the first place, they'd better know what they're getting themselves into and be adequately prepared. Adolescent boys and adolescent girls are completely different species and should be treated as such.

2. Siobhan Sullivan and Tara Finke. Could two girls be more different? (Not to mention Justine Kalinsky.) What to you make of Francesca being friends, at some time in her life, with these polar opposites?
I think Francesca is a follower, not a leader. She was friends with Siobhan, then was led away from her by popular girls, and now she's friends with Tara because Tara's a born leader and has rounded her up. Francesca's popular friends suck, by the way. I've been there, and having a friend ditch you for greener pastures is the worst. I'm hoping that Francesca and Siobhan can mend things or bond or something. I like resolution.

3. What do you think of the girls’ list? Are these legitimate complaints? First, Francesca wanted to ‘lay low,’ but she somehow ends up with it! Yet, William Trombal tells her to ‘lay low’ it pushes her button. Comments.
I can't remember all the items on the list. The complaints I do remember (wanting to compete in sports, tampon machine) are definitely legitimate. Also, when someone tells you that you can't do something, it makes you want to do it. Especially if that someone is handsome and is constantly smirking.

4. William Trombal, Thomas Mackee, Javier, and Jimmy Hailler. Which one of the guys stood out the most to you? Would he be a “perfect match” for Francesca? Or is she going to have a different type of relationship with each of them.
Definitely William, but that's because I felt like she had the most interaction with him. Anxious to see more of their interactions, because they were all pretty great.

5. Why do you think Francesca’s mother Mia doesn’t get out of bed? Do you think this book is going to have an unhappy ending? Saving Francesca puts the dynamics of Francesca’s family under a microscope during a critical time in their lives. Is it tugging at your heart strings? Or do you find it just depressing? (Okay, I’ll admit that part about her mother’s Cesarean scar had me tearing up.) And speaking of the title, what do you make of its meaning?
If there's one thing I've learned in my life so far, it's that dealing with an illness (whether mental or physical) is incredibly complicated, messy, and often people just won't understand. I'm not quite sure yet what's going on with Mia - whether it's depression or anxiety or if there's something else going on - but it's very, very sad to read about. A little depressing, only because it hits slightly close to home in some parts. I hope it has a happy ending.

6. As a nurse, I believe in being honest and open about illness. Yet, I understand why people would want to keep something like that private from the general population. I was wondering why the adults don’t tell the kids what is going on with Mia; but then, it has been so recent a “breakdown” that they probably don’t know. True? Comments.
Okay, this really makes me mad. I was lucky enough to grow up with two amazing parents who were open and honest with me about everything. I could literally talk to them about anything. It was nice, because as I got older, I realized that they trusted me enough to talk to me about things, and I trusted them, too - I told them things most teens never told their parents. So yeah, this frustrates me. I feel like Francesca is smart and capable enough to handle the truth. And she cares about her mom and wants to know what's going on! Ugh, so frustrating.

7. What do you think of Francesca’s father, Bob the Builder? It is obvious he is ‘in love’ with his wife, which I think is neat. Could you be attracted to a male that was less successful than yourself? Why is he telling Francesca that her mother is ‘just a bit down’?
Again, so frustrating that he isn't being honest with his daughter. Also, I don't think (lack of) success would have anything to do with my attraction/love for a man. Though, I haven't been in that position before, so I can't say.

8. What about Francesca’s brother, Luca? I think it is neat that they have a close relationship. Do you? What do you think of the book’s dedication? Think this story is based on a real person? (BTW, I was pretty pissed when Mr. Brolin ‘separated’ them. What a %$#*&.)
I think it's really nice that Francesca and Luca are close, too. I'm really close to my two sisters (one two years older, one six years younger). They're my best friends. But when we were younger...well, we hated each other. It took a long time for that to change.
Maybe she named Luca after someone in her life? It is a pretty great name. I don't know. And yes, Mr. Brolin was a meanie.

9. Do you think that Francesca is a thought-provoking and realistic character? She’s convinced she has no personality; in fact, it appears she wants it that way: to be ignored, overlooked, left to her own devices. With her mother illness, it seems she’s getting what she wants. Do you think she’s happy with this result? Will she remain that way?
She's definitely realistic - she just hasn't figured herself out yet. I was the same in high school and even a few years after. She definitely isn't happy, and I'm sure that'll change.

10. BTW, which one of the bookcovers above to do you like the best?
All of them! Seriously. Although the (German?) one in the top right corner is extra adorable.


Lisa Kay (lisakayalicemaria) | 15159 comments @ Mary

#1 – What an excellent answer. I wouldn’t want to be thrown in with people (male or female) with whom I normally wouldn’t be friends. Not that I think Francesca’s previous friends where all that great. I remember high school and I know I wouldn’t have been happy being away from my friends. Entirely agree with you that they should have been prepared and about them being “completely different species”! LOL!

#2 – I’m think Francesca is a follower now, but that is going to change by the end of the book.

#3 – I do remember the Stalag 17 item, which is probably known for being on most men’s Top Ten movies of all time. I thought they had a great point about it having no roles for girls. Funny.

#5 – Gosh! Another excellent answer, Mary. Just love it.

#6 – I agree; I think Francesca could handle it.

#7 – I think some of it is denial on his part.

#8 – Neat about your sisters being close now. My heart breaks for Luca. And for Francesca in that she is worrying about Luca.

#9 – You’re right; she’s a realist.

#10 – LOL! One of the reasons I posted them altogether; they are all so neat.


Lisa Kay (lisakayalicemaria) | 15159 comments Lisa Kay’s Questions for Chapters 9 – 18

11. What does it say about William Trombal that he sticks with the rugby team instead of switching to cricket?

12. What was your impression of Ryan Burke? Will he play a significant part in the book later? Or is he just a walk-on player?

13. Needless to say, I didn’t like Francesca’s old friends. I couldn’t believe she would reveal to them that her mum was sick. Do you think she is finally figuring out what friendship and loyalty mean? Did anything stand out to you in that exchange on the bus?

14. On the other hand, I did like Francesca’s conversation with Justine about ‘Tuba Guy’ and ‘visual relationships.’ LOL! Have you ever sensed you had a ‘visual relationship’ with someone? I felt it was important that Francesca asked if she was ever cruel at Stella’s. What did you make of Justine’s comment: “I didn’t say it was them you didn’t like.” Comments.

15. Was separation – even temporary – the best idea for the family? For Mia? After her talk with Angelina, are you glad Francesca told her father they needed to be together?

16. I cracked up over Mia revealing Robert and she slept together when they were Francesca’s age. And he was still worried about their mothers finding out! LOL! You?

17. I loved what Francesca told Will after their round of ‘pashing.’ **sigh** Nevertheless, what were you thinking when you found out Will had a girl-friend? I was hoping there was some mistake? Alas, no. How about his blunt honesty with Francesca? It came right after his telling her about what was being said about Siobhan. Was he just on a roll with honesty? Or was it something more. BTW, would you/could you talk with Siobhan?

18. Book Quote: “Today it’s Ice Magic. Tomorrow, heroin.” LOL! Sorry, but I thought that was hilarious. Any other quotes strike you as exceptionally funny so far?

19. Thomas Mackee has music and rhythm in his soul. Do you think you’ll go on to read more of his story in The Piper's Son? I’ve heard it is a bit darker than this one.

20. Did you agree with Francesca on her decision to bring Mia’s world to her? Did Francesca gain any insight into her mother’s depression by the responses when telling Mia’s friends and co-workers what was happening with her? Does Francesca have to worry about depression happening to her in the future?

21. Again, I was cracking up over ‘Bitch Spice, Butch Spice, Slut Spice, and Stupid Spice.’ Just like all of them, I was trying to figure out which appellation applied to Francesca. What do you think?

22. Was Robert (a.k.a. Bob the Builder) jealous of Jimmy Hailler? Are we seeing a subtle shift toward recovery in Mia?

23. Tara Finke was obviously manipulating Thomas Mackee on the bus and even Luca figured it out. Any predictions or comments about the outcome of that scene?


Laura (lglovett) | 1437 comments Lisa Kay’s Questions for Chapters 1 – 8

1. Consider fantasy verses reality; how would you feel if you were sent to a predominantly all-boys’ school like St. Sebastian’s? Does it make a difference that this is the first time St. Sebastian’s is opening its doors to girls? I think at first it might seem cool. I tend to get a long better with the opposite sex. I don't like all the games that girls seem to play but then again, it could be totally different than what I think and I could hate it.

2. Siobhan Sullivan and Tara Finke. Could two girls be more different? (Not to mention Justine Kalinsky.) What to you make of Francesca being friends, at some time in her life, with these polar opposites? I think it just goes to show how confused she is about who she is. She also doesn't seem to have much choice at her current school as to who she hangs out with.

3. What do you think of the girls’ list? Are these legitimate complaints? First, Francesca wanted to ‘lay low,’ but she somehow ends up with it! Yet, William Trombal tells her to ‘lay low’ it pushes her button. Comments. I think having a tampon machine is a perfectly good complaint, or they should at least have a nurse or something they could go to to get something if they don't have it on hand for some reason. That is what they have at the middle school I teach at. I also agree with the sports as well. I can't seem to remember the rest of the list. I think she feels like she has to say something to William or look weak. She doesn't like feeling inferior, but who does?

4. William Trombal, Thomas Mackee, Javier, and Jimmy Hailler. Which one of the guys stood out the most to you? Would he be a “perfect match” for Francesca? Or is she going to have a different type of relationship with each of them. At first I was going to say that William would be a perfect match but I am beginning to wonder if Jimmy might not be a good match for her. I loved the dialogue between these two after detention.

5. Why do you think Francesca’s mother Mia doesn’t get out of bed? Do you think this book is going to have an unhappy ending? Saving Francesca puts the dynamics of Francesca’s family under a microscope during a critical time in their lives. Is it tugging at your heart strings? Or do you find it just depressing? (Okay, I’ll admit that part about her mother’s Cesarean scar had me tearing up.) And speaking of the title, what do you make of its meaning?I am finding myself a bit emotional at times. The scene with her brother and her really had me going. I am loving the book and I don't find it depressing, I think everyone in some way can relate. I think the title is about her coming into her own and finding out who she is.

6. As a nurse, I believe in being honest and open about illness. Yet, I understand why people would want to keep something like that private from the general population. I was wondering why the adults don’t tell the kids what is going on with Mia; but then, it has been so recent a “breakdown” that they probably don’t know. True? Comments.I find myself wondering if she is sick or if it is just a really strong bout of depression. I am thinking that they don't really know what is going on, r maybe they are scared to tell the kids because they think it will effect them even more.

7. What do you think of Francesca’s father, Bob the Builder? It is obvious he is ‘in love’ with his wife, which I think is neat. Could you be attracted to a male that was less successful than yourself? Why is he telling Francesca that her mother is ‘just a bit down’?
I think the author's ability to show emotion is amazingly good. I love Bob the builder and picture him as a strong silent type with a bit of a goofy side at times. I think he is scared and not sure what to do and that is why he tells Francesca what he tells her. I could be attracted to a man less successful than myself but I think they would have to be a bit more dominant than myself at least.

8. What about Francesca’s brother, Luca? I think it is neat that they have a close relationship. Do you? What do you think of the book’s dedication? Think this story is based on a real person? (BTW, I was pretty pissed when Mr. Brolin ‘separated’ them. What a %$#*&.)
I love their relationship. I am guessing you are right about the dedication.

9. Do you think that Francesca is a thought-provoking and realistic character? She’s convinced she has no personality; in fact, it appears she wants it that way: to be ignored, overlooked, left to her own devices. With her mother illness, it seems she’s getting what she wants. Do you think she’s happy with this result? Will she remain that way?
I think she is scared of being in the limelight but I am sure that is going to change. I think she is going to get tired of the way she is living.

10. BTW, which one of the bookcovers above to do you like the best?
I like the one that shows just her waist down, but I also like the one with the single laughing girl on the front also.


message 18: by Mary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary (merinwe) | 1043 comments Thanks, Lisa Kay! You're providing great questions. It's so hard not to read ahead in this book. I got up this morning and immediately started reading this again and it was hard to put it down.

Also, love your answers, Laura! You make a lot of good points that I never thought about, like about Francesca's father, and why he didn't tell her about Mia to begin with. I guess I didn't consider the fact that he was having a really hard time processing everything, too. Really great answers.

11. What does it say about William Trombal that he sticks with the rugby team instead of switching to cricket?
That he doesn't just care about winning or looking cool in front of his friends or the school - he plays rugby because he enjoys it, even if his team sucks. And it shows that he's a hard worker. He wouldn't be the type, in college, to choose a class because it's an easy A. He would choose classes he needs and classes he enjoys, regardless of how difficult they are.

12. What was your impression of Ryan Burke? Will he play a significant part in the book later? Or is he just a walk-on player?
I haven't really gotten a huge impression of him yet. In fact, I had to flip back and look him up to remember who he was (I do have a horrible, horrible memory, though...seriously, it’s the worst). He seemed like a nice guy, though. Not sure if he'll be important in the grand scheme of things or not.

13. Needless to say, I didn’t like Francesca’s old friends. I couldn’t believe she would reveal to them that her mum was sick. Do you think she is finally figuring out what friendship and loyalty mean? Did anything stand out to you in that exchange on the bus?
I was pretty disgusted with them, too. I was frustrated that she just couldn't see how awful they were. Especially after hearing her mom's list of some of the mean things they'd done to Francesca. Sometimes we are blind to our friends' faults, but I just can't wait for her to wake up and see that these are not good girls. I do love that one of the girls on the bus (Natalie? Natalia?) said "We hang out with everyone," while they most certainly didn't hang out with Siobhan or Justine (although Justine wisely stayed away from them). And yet they'd hang out with someone who was awful to Francesca. Hypocrites! It does seem like Francesca is making real friends now, and hopefully she'll realize that.

14. On the other hand, I did like Francesca’s conversation with Justine about ‘Tuba Guy’ and ‘visual relationships.’ LOL! Have you ever sensed you had a ‘visual relationship’ with someone? I felt it was important that Francesca asked if she was ever cruel at Stella’s. What did you make of Justine’s comment: “I didn’t say it was them you didn’t like.” Comments.
I have TOTALLY had one of these in high school, in the hallways, in our classes. Of course, I'm not sure the guy even knew we were in a "visual relationship" at all... You know how girls can overanalyze the crap out of anything. A glance here, a smile here, and suddenly you're in love. Not sure what to make of Justine's comment. I think she’s going to turn out to be a very good friend to Francesca and I’m looking forward to seeing their friendship develop.

15. Was separation – even temporary – the best idea for the family? For Mia? After her talk with Angelina, are you glad Francesca told her father they needed to be together?
I think the separation idea was not the best plan. Mia needs her family! It’s hard, because the family is so used to Mia taking care of them, doing everything for them, but now they need to take care of her and help her through this and it's going to take a lot of adjustment. I think Francesca’s on the right track, talking to her about her life, her friends, bringing the world to Mia. I’m definitely glad the family’s back together.

16. I cracked up over Mia revealing Robert and she slept together when they were Francesca’s age. And he was still worried about their mothers finding out! LOL! You?
That was pretty funny. I’m with Robert - I wouldn’t want my mom or my mother-in-law knowing things like that, even down the road. Heh. But I can see myself telling my (grown, mature) children those sort of details.

17. I loved what Francesca told Will after their round of ‘pashing.’ **sigh** Nevertheless, what were you thinking when you found out Will had a girl-friend? I was hoping there was some mistake? Alas, no. How about his blunt honesty with Francesca? It came right after his telling her about what was being said about Siobhan. Was he just on a roll with honesty? Or was it something more. BTW, would you/could you talk with Siobhan?
I was pretty surprised about Will having a girlfriend. And pretty angry, for Francesca. I liked what he said about not “planning” Francesca, or whatever, but I was still upset. As far as Siobhan goes, I don’t know. In high school, I avoided every kind of confrontation possible. I’m still sort of that way, except when necessary.

18. Book Quote: “Today it’s Ice Magic. Tomorrow, heroin.” LOL! Sorry, but I thought that was hilarious. Any other quotes strike you as exceptionally funny so far?
While there were some hilarious quotes and laugh-out-loud moments, the quotes I bookmarked, and the quotes that stuck out to me the most were the quotes about Francesca’s search for identity, because they were just written SO well. Like this one:
"I'd like to think I'm Elizabeth, but deep down I think I'm the one whose name no one can remember. Not Lydia the slut or Mary the nerd or Jane the beauty or Elizabeth the opinionated. I'm the second-youngest. The forgotten one.”

Oh wait! I found a funny one.
Jimmy Hailer: “I love that word filthy. I love the way you force it out of your mouth like it’s some kind of vermin you want to get rid of.”
Francesca: “You’ve had vermin in your mouth?”


19. Thomas Mackee has music and rhythm in his soul. Do you think you’ll go on to read more of his story in The Piper's Son? I’ve heard it is a bit darker than this one.
I don’t know what The Piper’s Son is about, but I am hoping we’ll get to see more of his music in it. I’m definitely looking forward to it. I love all these characters.

20. Did you agree with Francesca on her decision to bring Mia’s world to her? Did Francesca gain any insight into her mother’s depression by the responses when telling Mia’s friends and co-workers what was happening with her? Does Francesca have to worry about depression happening to her in the future?
Yes, very much so! Definitely a good decision.
I don’t think Francesca really learned anything from Mia’s co-workers and friends; I think those were all natural and reasonable reactions (considering Mia does take on too much, and she does do “everything,” but Francesca already knew those traits about her mother), but again with illness - most people aren’t going to understand. And I think it’s more complicated than her friends think it is; I could be wrong.

21. Again, I was cracking up over ‘Bitch Spice, Butch Spice, Slut Spice, and Stupid Spice.’ Just like all of them, I was trying to figure out which appellation applied to Francesca. What do you think?
I think that the boys think she’s Stupid Spice, because she barely talks and she’s always off in her own world and she’s been slacking off in class. I like the idea that Jimmy thinks all four apply to her, though. And I think it’s hilarious that the girls heard this and analyzed it to death. I would have, too.

22. Was Robert (a.k.a. Bob the Builder) jealous of Jimmy Hailler? Are we seeing a subtle shift toward recovery in Mia?
Mia is definitely improving! Chances of happy ending increasing! I didn’t get a jealous vibe from that scene, but now you’re making me want to re-read it... I just felt that he was worried about a stranger talking to his depressed wife in her nightgown, I don’t know. The jealousy thing makes sense, though.

23. Tara Finke was obviously manipulating Thomas Mackee on the bus and even Luca figured it out. Any predictions or comments about the outcome of that scene?
Well, I think he’ll ultimately come around. He seems to be sort of hanging around them more and more, and maybe soon it’ll be more obvious that they’re all one big happy family.


Lisa Kay (lisakayalicemaria) | 15159 comments @ Laura

#1 – Really? You got along better with guys than girls at that age? So did my BFF. I find that fascinating. OF course, once she started to sleep with them (as an adult!), she couldn’t figure them out and made some bad choices.

#2 – Good point!

#4 – We’ll have to wait and see.

#5 – Yes, I’m enjoying this book too, even though I have teared up several times. The parts with her younger brother are most touching, to me.

#6 – More and more I’m thinking it is depression. The lack of appetite I can see; but, she has the physical manifestation of throwing up. I’ll have to research it.

#7 – I agree with you about him being the strong silent type. I didn’t catch that until later in the book, so kudos to you. He has a different strength than Mia.

#9 – Ditto!

#10 – Do you mean #7, in the bright teal boots? LOL! Cute.


message 20: by Lisa Kay (last edited Jun 03, 2012 11:03PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Kay (lisakayalicemaria) | 15159 comments @ Mary

#11 – I totally agree with your assessment.

#13 – Yes. I wanted her to get an epiphany then… but I think it is going to be slower in coming.

#14 – LOL! Good for you, Mary. Love those “visual relationships” – LOL! I have an idea what Justine meant, but I’ll wait until everyone weighs in. (Don’t let me forget! ☺)

#15 – I’m so torn here. I was very unhappy they separated and didn’t think it was a good idea. Of course, I was still trying to figure out what was wrong with Mia and thinking maybe it was b/c of the physical care she was going to need. But when they got back together, I thought that the separation showed them that they needed to be together. So, it worked that way.

#16 – I remember when my mother was telling me about when she and my dad got married. (I was an adult then.) He had just got back from WWII the day after Christmas and they were married two days after Christmas. She said something like, “We got up in the morning and went down to City Hall.” I was cracking up and teasing her (my mom was a prude) and saying, “ We got up in the morning? We did?” And she looked at me with her lips all pinched together and said, “Well, after all, there was a war going on!” Shocked me to death. Sure shut me up, too. LOL!

#17 – I don’t know what I would have done back then. I think I would have avoided that type of girl all together. Of course, a close friend got “that kind of girl” rep - undeserved! It was so unfair. **sigh** So, I don't know. Plus, I wasn’t big on confrontation, either. However, now I’m pretty sure I would have reached out to her.

#18 – Yes! Both those quotes stood out to me. The first because I feel the say way about characters in a book and the second b/c I’ve always felt that way about the word filthy! LOL!

#20 – Totally agree with you. I think it is much more complicated than most people realize. I think some were true friends of Mia’s and some weren’t.

#21 – I’m going to have to agree with you – on all your points, especially Jimmy’s thinking. I would have analyzed it to death back then too! Maybe even now. LOL!

#22 – Hmmm. We’ll have to let the others weigh in.

#23 – Really? Huh.


Lisa Kay (lisakayalicemaria) | 15159 comments Lisa Kay’s Questions for Chapters 19 – 28

24. Well, I thought things were going to come to a major head with Siobhan in Chapter 19. Alas, we only get to see Francesca be maternal. Were you surprised Francesca confided in her new friends about her mother? Was it the right time? Was there a subtle shift in Siobhan’s awareness, though? Will Siobhan and Francesca repair their relationship, despite her fears of separation during the end of term break, and have it come out stronger through all this? How about the others? (Laughed over Thomas’ matter-of-fact: “The guacamole was a mistake…” Now, there’s a friend! LOL!)

25. **gasp** What did you think of the Nonna story? And Zia’s S biscuit recipe! Man-oh-man! Family secrets.

26. What is your impression of Mr. Ortley as a teacher? (Think he’ll allow a musical next year? LOL!) Do you think acting will be cathartic for Francesca? How is her conversation with Tara, Thomas, and Justine on the bus different from when she told her Stella friends about Les Mis? (Also see question #33 below.)

27. Uh. What is with Jimmy always wanting to eat at Francesca’s?

28. Do you think Thomas is right and Mia should get on antidepressants? How does one avoid addiction, yet benefit from a temporary support?

29. I can totally relate to Francesca’s not knowing what type of music she likes. My parents were both very big music lovers; however, my dad (a very gentle man) hated the music of the sixties. I wasn’t allowed to play any current music in the house, so I had to enjoy it elsewhere or play show tunes (I know all the words to a lot of show tunes, LOL!). Consequently, I listened to other people’s taste. It wasn’t until I got a place – and a stereo system – of my own that I discovered my own taste in music. (Female vocalists and Country, but I like most everything.) But, I still tend to defer to people in that area of my life, like with my ex-husband’s love of opera. (Which I also love, probably b/c my art teacher always played it in class in HS.) Anyway, what is significant about Francesca not knowing her musical tastes? How about you, are you firm on yours? Or do you go with the flow?

30. Do you think Francesca needs to continue seeing the counselor? (BTW, I had to laugh over how Francesca got out of Brolin’s class.)

31. I really like Angelina. You? Is she giving Francesca good advice? Comments.

32. Impressions on the kiss? And Will’s “it’s complicated”? Book quote: “I’m a home wreaker in training.” LMAO! Comments.

33. How much influence did Francesca’s Stella friends have on her decision to not to try out for the Eponine role in Les Miserables? Is there a correlation in Mia wanting not wanting to take the UTS job and Francesca not wanting to put herself forward for Les Mis? Or are those memories just significant in that they cause her to remember the conversations with her mom, while gaining insight into her Stella friends?

34. Were you happy that Will split up with his girlfriend? Why hasn’t he called?

35. What is going on with Francesca and her father? Man-oh-man! The dialogues they are having. Did you get along with your father at that age?


Laura (lglovett) | 1437 comments Lisa Kay’s Questions for Chapters 9 – 18

11. What does it say about William Trombal that he sticks with the rugby team instead of switching to cricket? He reminds me a lot of the guy from "She's All That", the one that Freddie Prince Jr. plays. I picture him as a guy that wants to be different but still wants to be popular.

12. What was your impression of Ryan Burke? Will he play a significant part in the book later? Or is he just a walk-on player?
I think he is just a walk on player. I didn't feel the same about him as I did about the other boy characters.

13. Needless to say, I didn’t like Francesca’s old friends. I couldn’t believe she would reveal to them that her mum was sick. Do you think she is finally figuring out what friendship and loyalty mean? Did anything stand out to you in that exchange on the bus?
I thought about how shallow they seem to be. I can't stand them and I almost wonder if she was friends with them to rebel against being what her mother wanted her to be. It seems like anything her mom told her to do, she did the opposite and I think now she is seeing the wisdom in her mom and is missing it. I also think she is beginning to see what a true friend is.

14. On the other hand, I did like Francesca’s conversation with Justine about ‘Tuba Guy’ and ‘visual relationships.’ LOL! Have you ever sensed you had a ‘visual relationship’ with someone? I felt it was important that Francesca asked if she was ever cruel at Stella’s. What did you make of Justine’s comment: “I didn’t say it was them you didn’t like.” Comments.
I have never had a "visual relationship" but I know some friends who have had them. I found this whole conversation in the book really cute. I am not sure what to make of Justine and this conversation. I do think that Justine is going to end up being one of Francesca's best friends.

15. Was separation – even temporary – the best idea for the family? For Mia? After her talk with Angelina, are you glad Francesca told her father they needed to be together?
I think separating families during times like these is never a good idea, even if the family is not that close. I think that sticking together is the best thing that they can do.

16. I cracked up over Mia revealing Robert and she slept together when they were Francesca’s age. And he was still worried about their mothers finding out! LOL! You?
I laughed too! IT was so funny that he would be worried about that at his age.

17. I loved what Francesca told Will after their round of ‘pashing.’ **sigh** Nevertheless, what were you thinking when you found out Will had a girl-friend? I was hoping there was some mistake? Alas, no. How about his blunt honesty with Francesca? It came right after his telling her about what was being said about Siobhan. Was he just on a roll with honesty? Or was it something more. BTW, would you/could you talk with Siobhan?
I was surprised that he had a girlfriend and a bit disappointed. I still love Jimmy Hallier's character though and I kind of wish they would end up together although I know that isn't going to happen. I think that he is just an honest guy. He made a mistake and it was bothering him. I also think he is in love with Francesca but thinks she doesn't like him so he is protecting his heart. I think I could talk to Siobhan if I was her friend, but I have high moral standards and I think that I would feel obligated to talk to any friend that I knew was having sex before marriage.

18. Book Quote: “Today it’s Ice Magic. Tomorrow, heroin.” LOL! Sorry, but I thought that was hilarious. Any other quotes strike you as exceptionally funny so far?
I can't seem to think of one off the top of my head but their are quite a few that seem really funny.

19. Thomas Mackee has music and rhythm in his soul. Do you think you’ll go on to read more of his story in The Piper's Son? I’ve heard it is a bit darker than this one.
I am loving this author right now and I think I will read it. Plus, I am intrigued by all the reviews and the synopsis.

20. Did you agree with Francesca on her decision to bring Mia’s world to her? Did Francesca gain any insight into her mother’s depression by the responses when telling Mia’s friends and co-workers what was happening with her? Does Francesca have to worry about depression happening to her in the future? I would have tried it just to see what would happen. Different things work for different people so I don't think there is anything wrong with it. I am not sure if Francesca gained anything from telling her new friends but I think it is too early to tell. As far as her getting depression in the future, I think it is possible. I was a Psychology minor and it seems to run in families.

21. Again, I was cracking up over ‘Bitch Spice, Butch Spice, Slut Spice, and Stupid Spice.’ Just like all of them, I was trying to figure out which appellation applied to Francesca. What do you think?
I LOVED this reference in the book. It was hilarious. I definitely think she is Bitch Spice, but I don't think she really means to be.
22. Was Robert (a.k.a. Bob the Builder) jealous of Jimmy Hailler? Are we seeing a subtle shift toward recovery in Mia?
I think he might be "saving the daughter". You know how parents are about their kids. As far as Mia recovering, I am not sure.

23. Tara Finke was obviously manipulating Thomas Mackee on the bus and even Luca figured it out. Any predictions or comments about the outcome of that scene?
I think he has a secret crush on Tara and that is going to be part of the story of Piper's Son.


Laura (lglovett) | 1437 comments Lisa Kay’s Questions for Chapters 19 – 28

24. Well, I thought things were going to come to a major head with Siobhan in Chapter 19. Alas, we only get to see Francesca be maternal. Were you surprised Francesca confided in her new friends about her mother? Was it the right time? Was there a subtle shift in Siobhan’s awareness, though? Will Siobhan and Francesca repair their relationship, despite her fears of separation during the end of term break, and have it come out stronger through all this? How about the others? (Laughed over Thomas’ matter-of-fact: “The guacamole was a mistake…” Now, there’s a friend! LOL!)
I am thinking that she is going to realize in the end that all of the people she is currently hanging out are her real friends. I love all of the characters in this book because they all bring out something in the story uniquely.

25. **gasp** What did you think of the Nonna story? And Zia’s S biscuit recipe! Man-oh-man! Family secrets.
I bust out laughing about the S biscuit recipe. The devious little old lady thing made me laugh because it reminds me so much of my own grandma.

26. What is your impression of Mr. Ortley as a teacher? (Think he’ll allow a musical next year? LOL!) Do you think acting will be cathartic for Francesca? How is her conversation with Tara, Thomas, and Justine on the bus different from when she told her Stella friends about Les Mis? (Also see question #33 below.)
Her old friends didn't want her to be who she was, they just wanted her I think as a back up plan. I think they knew they could count on her in a way they couldn't count on each other to do things. They were using her. I think her new friends only want her to be happy.

27. Uh. What is with Jimmy always wanting to eat at Francesca’s?
I think it has to do with his need for a mother but I also think it has to do with him needing a friend. I LOVE Jimmy. He is my favorite character in the whole book.

28. Do you think Thomas is right and Mia should get on antidepressants? How does one avoid addiction, yet benefit from a temporary support?
I have a very dear friend who had a very good experience with antidepressants and then I have heard tons of horror stories. I guess it depends on whether or not you have an addictive personality.I don't think anyone truly understands depression of that magnitude unless they have experienced it in some way themselves.

29. I can totally relate to Francesca’s not knowing what type of music she likes. My parents were both very big music lovers; however, my dad (a very gentle man) hated the music of the sixties. I wasn’t allowed to play any current music in the house, so I had to enjoy it elsewhere or play show tunes (I know all the words to a lot of show tunes, LOL!). Consequently, I listened to other people’s taste. It wasn’t until I got a place – and a stereo system – of my own that I discovered my own taste in music. (Female vocalists and Country, but I like most everything.) But, I still tend to defer to people in that area of my life, like with my ex-husband’s love of opera. (Which I also love, probably b/c my art teacher always played it in class in HS.) Anyway, what is significant about Francesca not knowing her musical tastes? How about you, are you firm on yours? Or do you go with the flow?
I love all kinds of music. I think it comes from being in band and hearing all different types of music as a kid. I think a lot of us like what our parents listen to because it reminds us of family, but I think that also influences our future tastes in music too.

30. Do you think Francesca needs to continue seeing the counselor? (BTW, I had to laugh over how Francesca got out of Brolin’s class.)
I thought that part was funny too. I think it could help her but only if she wants it to. If she doesn't want to go then it isn't going to help her. I know from my own personal experiences with my family when my parents went through a divorce.

31. I really like Angelina. You? Is she giving Francesca good advice? Comments.
I like her a lot and I think it seems like she really cares about Francesca and her family and wants to help them.

32. Impressions on the kiss? And Will’s “it’s complicated”? Book quote: “I’m a home wreaker in training.” LMAO! Comments.
I think every relationship is complicated but not that complicated. You owe it to the people that you have feelings for to be open and honest and Will is not really being very forthcoming with information.

33. How much influence did Francesca’s Stella friends have on her decision to not to try out for the Eponine role in Les Miserables? Is there a correlation in Mia wanting not wanting to take the UTS job and Francesca not wanting to put herself forward for Les Mis? Or are those memories just significant in that they cause her to remember the conversations with her mom, while gaining insight into her Stella friends?
I think that it is showing how alike Francesca and her mom are. It is giving you insight into their relationship and how they are together as well. I think that they have similar reasons for not doing what they wanted to do and I think we will figure it all out in the end.

34. Were you happy that Will split up with his girlfriend? Why hasn’t he called?
I don't really feel as connected to Will as I do the other guys in the book. I am not sure that I want her to end up with him so it didn't make me happy or sad.

35. What is going on with Francesca and her father? Man-oh-man! The dialogues they are having. Did you get along with your father at that age?
I think she is just frustrated with the whole situation. I don't think she is really all that mad at him, I just think she doesn't know how to cope with everything. I always got a long with my dad a bit more than my mom.


Lisa Kay (lisakayalicemaria) | 15159 comments @ Laura

#11 – Oh, yes! I remember that movie She’s All That. It was cute; one of the cuter ones that Freddie Prinze Jr. did, IMHO.

#13 – I think you hit the nail on the proverbial head with that analysis, Laura!

#14 – I think Justine was implying that Francesca didn’t much like herself at Stella’s. She wasn’t really cruel, but she was borderline by hanging with that crowd.

#16 – ☺

#17 – I like Jimmy’s character too. I’m going with Mary on this one and forgive Will because he was so honest with Francesca – when she called him on it – when he said he hadn’t “planned” her.

#18 – Yes, this book is sprinkled with little jewels.

#19 – I think I’ll read it too. Don’t know when! LOL! Too many things planned. But I’ll definitely get around to it.

#20 – Excellent point, Laura! Depression manifests differently in different people. And meds work differently too. They are researching this in relation to DNA more and more with heart and B/P meds, and I’m sure anti-depressants.

#21 – You did? I was pretty sure Tara was Bitch Spice and it cracked me up that she couldn’t see that. LOL! Maybe she just sounds that much bitchier on the audio.

#23 – Really? Interesting. And intriguing.

#24 – Ditto!

#25 – I know! Laughter just burst out of me too. I couldn’t believe it. Such a crack up.

#26 – I agree. She was their ‘back-up plan.’

#27 – ☺ Maybe we’ll see him again.

#28 – Yes. I have heard wonderful and horrific stories myself. It is a crap shoot, it seems. I think you best have a really good doctor who monitors you well – and a family member who does the same and knows what to look for. Unfortunately, that is not always the scenario.

#29 – True.

#30 – Again, excellent point! She has to want to go to get something out of it. Sorry about what you went through.

#32 – True…maybe. Sorry to be on the fence with this. If it isn’t’ his story to tell, then I can understand his withholding the information. We’ll see. I’m even wondering if we are going to learn why it is “complicated.”

#33 – I think I’m going to go with your answer.

#34 – Interesting. I’m just now reading reviews of this book and I see not everyone liked Will. As I said, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt for now.

#35 – I agree, she is frustrated – and scared. But, I also think she is projecting a little of her anger toward Will onto her father. (I loved that those ladies were lesbians and his response with that info. Sort of took the wind out of her sails.)


message 25: by Mary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary (merinwe) | 1043 comments 24. Well, I thought things were going to come to a major head with Siobhan in Chapter 19. Alas, we only get to see Francesca be maternal. Were you surprised Francesca confided in her new friends about her mother? Was it the right time? Was there a subtle shift in Siobhan’s awareness, though? Will Siobhan and Francesca repair their relationship, despite her fears of separation during the end of term break, and have it come out stronger through all this? How about the others? (Laughed over Thomas’ matter-of-fact: “The guacamole was a mistake…” Now, there’s a friend! LOL!)
I think Francesca revealed her mom’s condition at the right time. It just felt right. After Siobhan had just had such a revealing, embarrassing moment to everyone, it was a perfect moment for someone else to step up and open themselves up to the group, you know? I do wish that Francesca and Siobhan had talked more, about how things were between them. It doesn’t feel settled. I thought it was funny (and sad) that Francesca was afraid her friends would forget who she was over term break, and yet she calls up her old Stella friends, who pretty much have forgotten her. Get the hint! I think it’s coming to her, though.

25. **gasp** What did you think of the Nonna story? And Zia’s S biscuit recipe! Man-oh-man! Family secrets.
It made me laugh! Love stories like this.

26. What is your impression of Mr. Ortley as a teacher? (Think he’ll allow a musical next year? LOL!) Do you think acting will be cathartic for Francesca? How is her conversation with Tara, Thomas, and Justine on the bus different from when she told her Stella friends about Les Mis? (Also see question #33 below.)
Not sure what I think of Mr. Ortley overall. It makes me laugh when drama teachers stick their nose up to musicals, though. “It’s not drama!” Heh. He seems very into Shakespeare, so I doubt very highly he’ll be the type to stage a production of Sound of Music or something. I do think acting is good for Francesca...she’s getting bolder, braver, and she cares less about what other people think. This is good! And, I agree with Laura’s comments on the second part of this question. Her old friends didn’t care about her at all and sought to crush her dreams so they could do whatever the heck they wanted.

27. Uh. What is with Jimmy always wanting to eat at Francesca’s?
I agree with Laura - Jimmy is awesome. I do think that he recognizes that Francesca has a nice family, a complete family. Her mom, though in a nightgown at all times, and very down, is also very nice, and easy to talk to. Her little brother is adorable and worships at Jimmy’s feet. And she has a father who cares about her. She has the complete package. And Jimmy doesn’t have that. And, as he’s stated, Francesca is a very real person. Plus, free food!

28. Do you think Thomas is right and Mia should get on antidepressants? How does one avoid addiction, yet benefit from a temporary support?
This is tough. My mom was on antidepressants and it was very, very, very helpful. I know others who had trouble with addiction (though, they had trouble with addiction to other things as well).
I’m dealing with a similar issue, though not with antidepressants - with a different type of medication and for something other than depression. It’s a very fine line to walk. It can help you or hurt you, but is it worth the risk of becoming dependent? Frustrating.
I think that Mia should try them, simply because of how much relief they gave my mother, but I have a feeling she won’t. I don’t know. They certainly aren’t for everyone.

29. I can totally relate to Francesca’s not knowing what type of music she likes. My parents were both very big music lovers; however, my dad (a very gentle man) hated the music of the sixties. I wasn’t allowed to play any current music in the house, so I had to enjoy it elsewhere or play show tunes (I know all the words to a lot of show tunes, LOL!). Consequently, I listened to other people’s taste. It wasn’t until I got a place – and a stereo system – of my own that I discovered my own taste in music. (Female vocalists and Country, but I like most everything.) But, I still tend to defer to people in that area of my life, like with my ex-husband’s love of opera. (Which I also love, probably b/c my art teacher always played it in class in HS.) Anyway, what is significant about Francesca not knowing her musical tastes? How about you, are you firm on yours? Or do you go with the flow?
I grew up on classical music, show tunes, and oldies, and love those to this day. (I know lots of show tunes, too!) I also love folk/pop singer/songwriter stuff. But I’ll listen to anything. It depends on my mood, I suppose. I go into major “phases” with music.
I don’t think it’s a huge deal that Francesca doesn’t have a specific musical taste, but she thinks it is, and I think she’s over-thinking it.

30. Do you think Francesca needs to continue seeing the counselor? (BTW, I had to laugh over how Francesca got out of Brolin’s class.)
I find counseling and therapy very helpful, but she doesn’t seem to want to go (which is okay). She said earlier in the book, though, something like “Ask me how I’m feeling and I just might tell you.” (I may be misquoting.) So I feel like she wants to talk to someone about this. Maybe not the counselor, but she does want to talk about how she’s feeling.
By the way, Francesca and I were completely different in high school...one detention and I would have flipped out. I was a compulsive rule-follower.

31. I really like Angelina. You? Is she giving Francesca good advice? Comments.
I like her. I like that she took Francesca aside at the wedding and told her to take care of Mia and be there for her, even if it’s hard. She gave her good advice.

32. Impressions on the kiss? And Will’s “it’s complicated”? Book quote: “I’m a home wreaker in training.” LMAO! Comments.
Loved the kiss, but hated the “it’s complicated.” It’s not that complicated! Obviously Francesca is better than this other girl. So do something about it. My problem is, I don’t know if I could date a guy who cheats on his girlfriend to be with me. I’d be freaked out that he’d find someone better while we’re together and cheat again.

33. How much influence did Francesca’s Stella friends have on her decision to not to try out for the Eponine role in Les Miserables? Is there a correlation in Mia wanting not wanting to take the UTS job and Francesca not wanting to put herself forward forLes Mis? Or are those memories just significant in that they cause her to remember the conversations with her mom, while gaining insight into her Stella friends?
I do think they had a part in it. She didn’t want to disappoint her friends. I’m not really sure why Mia took the job instead of staying home (like she wanted to), and hoping everything will become clear.

34. Were you happy that Will split up with his girlfriend? Why hasn’t he called?
I was happy, in a frustrated sort of way. Finally! I think he hasn’t called because he doesn’t Francesca to feel like the “rebound girl.” Or maybe he doesn’t want to get together, only to be separated when he goes overseas. Don’t know. I do like him, though.

35. What is going on with Francesca and her father? Man-oh-man! The dialogues they are having. Did you get along with your father at that age?
I was the nerdy teenager, who, upon getting home from school, sat down with her father and played chess while snacking on pistachios and listening to Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6. My dad and I have always gotten along, apart from a few silly fights over the years. Same with my mom. I was the “good kid,” or as my sisters would say, the “suck up.”
I think both Francesca and her father are incredibly frustrated over Mia’s situation and neither is processing it well. Francesca wishes she could be in control, and Bob the Builder resents anyone telling him what to do and making him feel inferior. (He’s probably had lots and lots of people give him advice and tips already, and he probably doesn’t want it from his own daughter.)


message 26: by Lisa Kay (last edited Jun 04, 2012 01:10PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Kay (lisakayalicemaria) | 15159 comments @ Mary

#24 – I concur! And, yes, it was sad about her fears of abandonment and that she can’t take the hint. Maybe she’s got it this time.

#25 – LOL! Me too. ☺

#26 – Did you ever take drama? Yes, I think the author did such a great job of contrasting these two scenes, for all that her Stella friends and her St. Sebastian friend (except Justine) pooh-poohed her desire. She oh so subtly showed that they had vastly different reasons for disagreeing with her.

#27 – Yes, loved his response to Francesca about why he doesn’t question her being in a nightgown: “It just means she’s not going anywhere.”

#28 – I agree. Very frustrating. Medical science and pharmacology has a long way to go.

#29 – LOL! You’re right, she could be “overthinking it.” I go through “phases” too.

#30 – Yeah, I was a “goodie-two-shoes” also, LOL!

#31 – Yes, she took time for her on her special day.

#32 – All true. But, I really feel that these kisses are serendipitous more than any planning on his part. Lord, I remember the hormones at that age. Ack! I think he is attracted to her, and more than just physically, and he’s very young and working it all out too. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. Now, if he was a bit older… then, no way.

#34 – Good point.

#35 – That is so neat about you and your father! Good point about tons of people giving him advice. He’s probably sick of it.


Lisa Kay (lisakayalicemaria) | 15159 comments Does any one want to do tomorrow's questions? I don't mind doing them, but I didn't want to hog it all.


message 28: by Mary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary (merinwe) | 1043 comments You make a good point about the fact that Will is young, and hormones are crazy when you're seventeen.

I don't think I could come up with questions as good as yours, so I'll pass. As long as you don't mind doing them!


Lisa Kay (lisakayalicemaria) | 15159 comments Aw, that is sweet, Mary. But I just write what questions I have in my head. I'm sure yours would be fine, too.


Laura (lglovett) | 1437 comments @Lisa Kay

#14-never thought about it that way. I think you are right about what Justine was saying.

#21-just from a few things that they have said about Tara's appearance and the way some of those political teens can come across, I automatically thought Tara was Butch Spice.

#30-thanks. It was a looooong time ago. I was 9 at the time and I think my little sister had the hardest time with it. She hasn't been the same since. The counseling that my mom forced her to go through and refusing to let her live with my dad didn't help. I know some of my sister's choices are her own and I don't blame my parents for everything, but divorce is ugly and I hope I never have to go through it again in any way.


Lisa Kay (lisakayalicemaria) | 15159 comments @ Laura - Response to your responses, Post #30.

#21 - LOL! How neat that we all see them slightly differently.

#30 - That's rough. Divorce is hard, even an amicable one. Sorry about your younger sister. :(

BTW, did you see how popular your Tee-Shirt Challenge is? 23 people have signed up so far! Yay!


message 32: by Lisa Kay (last edited Jun 05, 2012 08:11AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Kay (lisakayalicemaria) | 15159 comments Lisa Kay’s Questions for Chapters 29 – 35

36. Did you ever go away to camp? Did you have the worries about leaving home before going? Could you understand Francesca’s fears, even if it was only three days?

37. Is it conceivable that the teachers are a little more laid back at camp where they are with them 24/7?

38. I’ve seen every one of those movies mentioned. Have you? Don’t you just love the way movies (and books!) unite people? No question here really, just a happy observation.

39. I’m really glad I’m listening to the audio of this one. It is an Australian recording (while comparing it to the American paperback), so little things are left alone. Like the expression, “I'm chuffed” instead of “I’m pleased.” Again, no question here, just a statement of fact.

40. What did you think of Francesca & Will’s conversation after the cabin exorcism? Do you feel he should go on his year break and “shake his foundations”? So…comments on the different qualities of the kiss?

41. Poor Francesca on her birthday! Have you ever had everyone forget yours? Did it matter to you?

42. Were you surprised over the Thomas/Tara flirtation? Think they are a good pair? Love Justine and the Tuba Guy.

43. Did you figure they would all be found out when they went to see the band at Coogee? Did you expect Francesca’s father to punish her afterwards, or did you figure he would be too guilt-ridden for forgetting her birthday? What about that throw-away comment by Francesca about walking in front of a bus? Do most teenagers thing of suicide at least once? How serious was Francesca?

44. Were you surprised who Sophia turned out to be? Phew! In the back of my mind I wondered if it was someone else Will was interested in. I think this is a picture of Sophia Loren when she was “discovered” at seventeen: (view spoiler)

45. Well, Francesca finally made the break with the Stella girls, but then there was a misunderstanding with Justine! Eep! I wasn’t expecting that. Good Gravy Beans. I hate it when people tell me, “It’s not personal.” I’m with Francesca; if it has to do with me, it is personal!

46. Whoa. I wasn’t expecting the info about the miscarriage. That explains a lot. Comments.

47. A teenage being unaccountable for over 12 hours is a long time. She scared everyone to death. Did you understand how someone normally so considerate and responsible could do something like that due to being lost in their own grief and misery? Did you catch that she went to “Central Station” and her mum finally referred to her bedroom as “Grand Central Station” again at the end of Chapter 34?

48. Was Francesca’s talk with her father after he picked her up at the police station satisfactory for you? How about her knowledge that her father would come get her, regardless? What about her insight into her change from “Frankie the Brave” to “Francis the Fearful”?

49. Were you surprised all Francesca’s friends spent the night?

50. What did you think of Will explaining his feelings about Francesca to her? (And her father overhearing! LOL! That actually happened to me. **hee hee**) That Will apologized for those earlier kisses?

51. Were you happy with the ending? Was it just the right amount of a step forward? Book Quote: Do something that scares you every day. Do you like that advice? What did you rate the book overall? Feel free to post the link to your review!


message 33: by Lisa Kay (last edited Jun 05, 2012 09:26AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Kay (lisakayalicemaria) | 15159 comments Looking for pictures of the Woy Woy Train Station, I came across these pictures.

Road construction sign.
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Ariel view of Woy Woy.
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Railway tracks through Woy Woy.
Photo Credit: ThisIsntSydney.blogspot.com
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Barrenjoey Head & Lion Island from Umina Beach where Frankie the Brave met her wave?*
Photo Credit: ThisIsntSydney.blogspot.com
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message 34: by Mary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary (merinwe) | 1043 comments @Laura - I very nearly signed up for the Tee-Shirt Challenge, too, but I’m swamped with the Animal Alphabet Challenge. It looks really fun, though!

@Lisa Kay - That first picture of Woy Woy is hysterical.

36. Did you ever go away to camp? Did you have the worries about leaving home before going? Could you understand Francesca’s fears, even if it was only three days?
I went to a weekend Christian summer camp with my best friend and her school (not sure how I was allowed to go, looking back). It was similar to this, I think. Lots of outdoor activities and Bible reading. I was a homebody and was terrified of spending several nights away from my parents and with a cabin full of strangers. I understand, though, why Francesca was scared of leaving her mother. I probably wouldn’t have gone, if it were me.

37. Is it conceivable that the teachers are a little more laid back at camp where they are with them 24/7?
Yes, I think so. This is a vacation for them, too, in a way. They get to relax away from home, and the school.

38. I’ve seen every one of those movies mentioned. Have you? Don’t you just love the way movies (and books!) unite people? No question here really, just a happy observation.
I love that books and movies unite us! I could easily spend hours upon hours talking to someone about the books we have in common, or movies we both enjoy. That’s why book clubs are so great.

39. I’m really glad I’m listening to the audio of this one. It is an Australian recording (while comparing it to the American paperback), so little things are left alone. Like the expression, “I'm chuffed” instead of “I’m pleased.” Again, no question here, just a statement of fact.
I wish I had the audio now! I understand why they felt that they should change certain phrases (I would have no idea what “chuffed” means), but at the same time, I love learning new slang.

40. What did you think of Francesca & Will’s conversation after the cabin exorcism? Do you feel he should go on his year break and “shake his foundations”? So…comments on the different qualities of the kiss?
I think he made the right decision, because as a teenager, it would be foolish to give up on your dreams or change major plans for the sake of a relationship. If these two were much older, then...maybe. But when you’re young, you often think “This is it! This is the one!” about someone, and you haven’t even lived, not really. And if Francesca really is the one, then when Will gets back, they’ll be just fine.
I liked their kiss much more than the last one, because there was no guilt attached to it, and I wasn’t thinking, “What are you doing, you moron?! You have a girlfriend!”

41. Poor Francesca on her birthday! Have you ever had everyone forget yours? Did it matter to you?
I’ve had friends forget it, but not my family. I didn’t really mind, and they remembered the next day. I don’t really care too much about my birthday.

42. Were you surprised over the Thomas/Tara flirtation? Think they are a good pair? Love Justine and the Tuba Guy.
I didn’t really pick up on this Thomas/Tara thing until it became obvious. Were there signs of this early on? I must have missed them. I think it’s cute! I wonder if Tara is in “The Piper’s Son.” I, too, love the Tuba Guy.

43. Did you figure they would all be found out when they went to see the band at Coogee? Did you expect Francesca’s father to punish her afterwards, or did you figure he would be too guilt-ridden for forgetting her birthday? What about that throw-away comment by Francesca about walking in front of a bus? Do most teenagers thing of suicide at least once? How serious was Francesca?
I didn’t think they would be caught, no. And Francesca’s father’s comment about the card killed me. So sad. I didn’t take Francesca’s comment seriously. I honestly didn’t think she meant it, but I might be wrong. I do think a lot of teenagers think of suicide at least once, even if it’s only to say, “What would the world be like without me? Would anybody care if I’m gone?” That sort of thing.

44. Were you surprised who Sophia turned out to be? Phew! In the back of my mind I wondered if it was someone else Will was interested in. I think this is a picture of Sophia Loren when she was “discovered” at seventeen: (view spoiler)
I was freaked out as well. A girlfriend, Francesca, and now some other girl named Sophia? Jeez. I thought it was so sweet, though, when he compared her to Sophia Loren, who, by the way, looks WAY older than seventeen in that photo.

45. Well, Francesca finally made the break with the Stella girls, but then there was a misunderstanding with Justine! Eep! I wasn’t expecting that. Good Gravy Beans. I hate it when people tell me, “It’s not personal.” I’m with Francesca; if it has to do with me, it is personal!
The fight with Justine and the girls really killed me. I was so happy for her that she’d finally (FINALLY) come to her senses about the Stella girls, and then, of course, something bad had to happen. I loved it when Francesca told Justine “You’re my rock,” though. It was emotionally satisfying.

46. Whoa. I wasn’t expecting the info about the miscarriage. That explains a lot. Comments.
It explains SO much. Glad things have become clearer. I do wish that Mia and Bob the Builder had told the kids, but I understand that it must have been hard to talk about. I would have been just as angry as Francesca over keeping something like that hidden, though.

47. A teenage being unaccountable for over 12 hours is a long time. She scared everyone to death. Did you understand how someone normally so considerate and responsible could do something like that due to being lost in their own grief and misery? Did you catch that she went to “Central Station” and her mum finally referred to her bedroom as “Grand Central Station” again at the end of Chapter 34?
I understand why she needed to get away. Her friends weren’t talking to her, she hated her old friends, and Will was going to leave her to go overseas. She didn’t have anywhere to go except away. I’ve felt like that before.

48. Was Francesca’s talk with her father after he picked her up at the police station satisfactory for you? How about her knowledge that her father would come get her, regardless? What about her insight into her change from “Frankie the Brave” to “Francis the Fearful”?
All of this was satisfying, yes. Her father was actually talking to her, for once! Opening up! Finally! Their conversation made me tear up, I have to admit.

49. Were you surprised all Francesca’s friends spent the night?
That would have never happened at my house, heh. A boy spending the night? Yeah, no. In this case, though, I can understand why her father let them stay. It was just one of those days where anything was possible.

50. What did you think of Will explaining his feelings about Francesca to her? (And her father overhearing! LOL! That actually happened to me. **hee hee**) That Will apologized for those earlier kisses?
I love it when boys get rambly and talkative. I thought it was cute. And VERY funny when Francesca’s dad walked out at the most inopportune of moments. (Funny that it happened to you, too!) I am glad Will apologized, I think.

51. Were you happy with the ending? Was it just the right amount of a step forward? Book Quote: Do something that scares you every day. Do you like that advice? What did you rate the book overall? Feel free to post the link to your review!
I was happy with it, yes. I really, really wanted a happy ending with Mia. Some sort of step forward with her. So, when she picked the kids up from school, I was grinning stupidly from ear to ear. I think the quote is pretty good advice, though I’ll admit that it’s advice I don’t take every day.

I rated the book five stars. I haven’t filled out the review just yet. I loved it, though! I’m looking forward to reading “The Piper’s Son," and maybe some more stuff by Marchetta.

I read "Finnikin of the Rock" a while back, which I thought was okay, but not great, so part of me was concerned I'd have the same reaction to "Saving Francesca," but I needn't have worried. This was a very smart, well-written book, and I related to it more than most teen novels out there. I really enjoyed it.


Lisa Kay (lisakayalicemaria) | 15159 comments @ Mary

#36 – I loved camp! But each and every time I went through the agony of separation. Lord, I remember my first time leaving for camp. I cried and cried. I was trying to keep it hidden from anyone on the bus that I was crying. Luckily, I had a seat to myself. Eventually, in high-school, I became a camp counselor.

#37 – I agree. I also think it is good for the kids to see the teachers in a little more natural setting outside of school.

#38 – Ditto!

#39 – Yes, I wouldn’t have known either! Glad I could compare them. However, thinking on it now, maybe a glossary would have worked.

#40 – Again, I agree with you; I wouldn’t have liked it if he gave it up to be with her. Love the mix of emotions in the kiss, too.

#41 – I don’t think each and every one of mine has to be something spectacular.

#42 – I don’t know if there were signs. It would be one of those things to see if I picked up on them on a re-read/listen. Don’t know if Tara is in TPS or not.

#43 – Ah! I like that way of stating it, “What would the world be like…” Yes, I concur.

#44 – I know; SL was physical mature beyond her years.

#45 – Yes, loved the rock part. ☺

#46 – I understand, and I don’t. They were shielding them and yet I felt they deserved to know. Remember, at the beginning of the book went the waving family across the way went around and told everyone, “We’re pregnant!” and Francesca wanted to say, “We’re depressed.” So sad.

#47 – Yes, I can see it was all too much.

#48 – Me too! **sniffle** (view spoiler)


message 36: by Mary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary (merinwe) | 1043 comments @ Lisa Kay

That's a neat story, about becoming a camp counselor! I always felt like they had such cool jobs, but maybe it's because when I was young, I thought all high schooler were just SO cool. Did you enjoy it?


Lisa Kay (lisakayalicemaria) | 15159 comments Loved it, Mary! Though, I will admit that, due to my experience as a Sunday School teacher, they gave me the rougher, tougher girls. Man-oh-man! were they a hand-full. I was only 17!! Near the end of the week I locked myself in the bathroom and took a bath. They pounded and pounded on the door, crying that one was killing the other. I didn't care. I had had enough. Luckily, nothing terrible happened. Sheeze! I was really too young for that responsibility. They were much better behaved after that, for some reason. I guess they knew that I wasn't going to continue to jump in and try and save them each and every time.


message 38: by Mary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary (merinwe) | 1043 comments That does sound rough! Glad you got through it - not sure I would have been able to handle all that at 17!


Laura (lglovett) | 1437 comments Your the one that came up with the challenge Lisa Kay! I was just your muse, LOL. I am glad it is so popular though. I already have my novella picked out and ready to go once I finish the reading for this one today.


Lisa Kay (lisakayalicemaria) | 15159 comments Mary wrote: "That does sound rough! Glad you got through it - not sure I would have been able to handle all that at 17!"

Yeah, it was 24/7 week of pre-adolescent tough girls. They (the adults) really should have given me a break. LOL!


Lisa Kay (lisakayalicemaria) | 15159 comments Laura wrote: "Your the one that came up with the challenge Lisa Kay! I was just your muse, LOL."

Aw, sweet of you to say so, Laura. Sometimes I work and work on a challenge and I just get a smattering of people who join. Then I do one like that, that really took minutes, and BOOM! it is popular. Go figure?!


Laura (lglovett) | 1437 comments Lisa Kay’s Questions for Chapters 29 – 35

Better Late than never!!

36. Did you ever go away to camp? Did you have the worries about leaving home before going? Could you understand Francesca’s fears, even if it was only three days? I always loved going to church camp as a child. Of course we always had an adult member of our church with us so maybe its not the same as having no one.

37. Is it conceivable that the teachers are a little more laid back at camp where they are with them 24/7? YES! As a teacher and Student Council sponsor, I can say that when we went on our over night trip I felt much more laid back and able to have fun with the kids than I do when I am at the school. I think it is because we are not having to enforce as many rules and the kids actually want to be there.

38. I’ve seen every one of those movies mentioned. Have you? Don’t you just love the way movies (and books!) unite people? No question here really, just a happy observation.
I agree and I have seen all of those movies too. I LOVED this part of the book. Speaking of books to movies, this one would make a fabulous movie!

39. I’m really glad I’m listening to the audio of this one. It is an Australian recording (while comparing it to the American paperback), so little things are left alone. Like the expression, “I'm chuffed” instead of “I’m pleased.” Again, no question here, just a statement of fact.
I may have to listen to it.

40. What did you think of Francesca & Will’s conversation after the cabin exorcism? Do you feel he should go on his year break and “shake his foundations”? So…comments on the different qualities of the kiss?
I think he should. He would hold resentment towards Francesca if he didn't get to do what he wanted because he had to stay back to be with her, even if he does love her.

41. Poor Francesca on her birthday! Have you ever had everyone forget yours? Did it matter to you?
I had it happen once, but it didn't really bother me. I know that things happen and just because people may forget doesn't mean that they don't love you.

42. Were you surprised over the Thomas/Tara flirtation? Think they are a good pair? Love Justine and the Tuba Guy.
Nope, I guessed it long ago and mentioned it in one of the posts.

43. Did you figure they would all be found out when they went to see the band at Coogee? Did you expect Francesca’s father to punish her afterwards, or did you figure he would be too guilt-ridden for forgetting her birthday? What about that throw-away comment by Francesca about walking in front of a bus? Do most teenagers thing of suicide at least once? How serious was Francesca?
I wasn't surprised that they got caught but I thought it was interesting that Bob the builder didn't seem a bit more angry. I don't think that that Francesca really meant the comment about the bus, but I think the friends were worried because they knew about the situation with her mother. I think at some point all teenagers are fascinated with suicide, some a bit more than others.

44. Were you surprised who Sophia turned out to be? Phew! In the back of my mind I wondered if it was someone else Will was interested in.I thought his dad was just mistaken about who he came in with and didn't really think anything more of it until I read this part. What a sweet reference.

45. Well, Francesca finally made the break with the Stella girls, but then there was a misunderstanding with Justine! Eep! I wasn’t expecting that. Good Gravy Beans. I hate it when people tell me, “It’s not personal.” I’m with Francesca; if it has to do with me, it is personal! I agree about the personal thing.

46. Whoa. I wasn’t expecting the info about the miscarriage. That explains a lot. Comments.
It explains a whole lot. I agree with Mary; I think they should have told the kids, but at the same time, I can understand that it would be really hard to talk about.

47. A teenage being unaccountable for over 12 hours is a long time. She scared everyone to death. Did you understand how someone normally so considerate and responsible could do something like that due to being lost in their own grief and misery? Did you catch that she went to “Central Station” and her mum finally referred to her bedroom as “Grand Central Station” again at the end of Chapter 34?
I think that grief does some funny things to people, as evidenced throughout the entire book. We do things we wouldn't normally do when we are drowning in our own sorrows.

48. Was Francesca’s talk with her father after he picked her up at the police station satisfactory for you? How about her knowledge that her father would come get her, regardless? What about her insight into her change from “Frankie the Brave” to “Francis the Fearful”? I thought the part with her father was satisfactory. Knowing his character makes me understand that he wouldn't share much with her because he is a man of few words. I thought the "Frankie the Brave" vs. "Francis the Fearful" was a unique way to show how adolescence can change a person and how people affect the way we look at ourselves until we are old enough to realize that what others see us as is not as important as who we see ourselves as.

49. Were you surprised all Francesca’s friends spent the night?
Well at least the boys. I am not surprised that the girls did though.

50. What did you think of Will explaining his feelings about Francesca to her? (And her father overhearing! LOL! That actually happened to me. **hee hee**) That Will apologized for those earlier kisses?I thought it was a unique way to explain things and I thought it was hilarious that her father overheard.

51. Were you happy with the ending? Was it just the right amount of a step forward? Book Quote: Do something that scares you every day. Do you like that advice? What did you rate the book overall? Feel free to post the link to your review! I loved this book! I gave it five stars and I plan to read the sequel plus a lot of her other books. I was happy with the ending and I really liked the advice in the book. I think it is a good thing to do.


Lisa Kay (lisakayalicemaria) | 15159 comments @ Laura

#37 – Ah! Good point.

#38 – Yes, wouldn’t it!?! Okay, now I have to think about casting. LOL!

#40 – I’m going to agree with you on the resentment.

#41 – Yes, sometimes life gets crazy.

#42 – Yes, you did! You clever woman, you!

#43 – I think Bob the Builder was just maxed out. I agree with you about the bus.

#44 – It was sweet.

#46 – I concur!

#47 – Excellent observation, Laura.

#48 – Oh! I LOVE that! Thanks.

#49 – Really! LOL! **shrugs**

#51 – Yes, I feel the same way. I’ll be looking for more by this author.


Lisa Kay (lisakayalicemaria) | 15159 comments Mary & Laura!! It was great doing a “buddy read” of this one with you two! Thanks for all your wonderful insights! Loved reading your answers. ☺


message 45: by Mary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary (merinwe) | 1043 comments @ Laura - I love the idea of this being turned into a movie! It's short enough that you don't have to worry about chunks of plot missing in the transition from book to film. I also love your point in question 48.

@ Lisa Kay - It was so great doing this with you, too! It was my first time participating in one of these discussions and I loved it. You came up with great questions that were really fun to answer. I really enjoyed this book.


Laura (lglovett) | 1437 comments @ Lisa Kay and Mary- I had a lot of fun reading both of your responses and responding to you. I love buddy reads and I need to do more of them. I think I participate in every book of the month but I want more, LOL! I am going to have to look at the buddy read section more often.

Thank you Lisa Kay for making up the questions. Maybe one of these days I will feel brave enough to do some questions for a group read.


Lisa Kay (lisakayalicemaria) | 15159 comments You are so right about it being less likely that something go missing from the plot-line, Mary!

And I'm sure you will one of these days, Laura!

Thanks, ladies! Loved this


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