Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

5 Amazing Stars. (Young Adult)

This book was amazing. I can't honestly say enough good things about it.

I read it in one day and couldn't get enough of the unique, heartfelt, relatable and truly honest characters. This story is more than just what the back cover describes. Francesca is starting high school at a formerly all boys school which has for the first time allowed girls. As one of the 30 girls in a school otherwise packed with boys, the story becomes a progression of how the boys and girls begin to relate to one another. How they see each other and how they begin to develop real and honest bonds when they look beneath the labels and surface attitudes into the human beings that lie within each of them. The way Marchetta weaves the relationships together in this book was so real and amazingly accurate. I felt like these characters were people I knew and loved. They each had such wonderful characteristics, such personalities that you wish you knew them and could call them friends. Siobhan, Justine, Tara, Thomas, Jimmy and Will make up Francesca's new found group and they each come to rely on and love one another in the purest and most captivating of ways. There interactions had me laughing out loud, crying and smiling nonstop. I loved so many moments that it is really hard not to gush about them all. Thomas especially along with Jimmy were favourites of mine, so I'm excited that Thomas gets his own book The Piper's Son .

Along with developing new friendships with people she never expected to even speak to, Francesca is also dealing with her mothers sudden and heartbreaking descent into depression. Through out the novel she deals with and watches the drastic effects her mother's illness has on her entire family and grows slowly and subtly stronger as a result. I thought it was so compelling the way Marchetta developed Fran's character. Readers can see through narrative that Francesca was once a lively and unique individual who never cared what others thought and always danced to her own tune. Her mother always knew this about her daughter and encouraged Fran to be bright and loud and out there with her emotions and it clearly broke her mother's heart when Francesca fell into a group of friends who expected her to conform to their reserved and superficial tastes. Readers understand how Francesca lost herself and it is a true joy to see Fran recapture all the things that make her an fun and interesting person. Francesca's path to self discovery is so clearly and wonderfully developed without it being showy. Marchetta has amazing subtlety and power in her writing.

The dialogue was captivating and humorous, the characters compelling, the relationships so full of passion at every angle. This is a must read book for fans of coming of age novels that deal with real life problems with heartfelt characters. I was pulled into Marchetta's world so smoothly and came to adore the people I was reading about.

Teenage hood is a tender time for anyone and I loved that Marchetta was able to bring readers so thoroughly into the mind and experiences of a group of teens all battling with their own emotions and insecurities. They are really just trying to relate to one another on a real and honest level and it is this honesty which evokes such emotion from the reader through out the novel.
This book had some of the best one liners, a personal fav of mine while I'm reading a terrifically written book. The subtle, thought provoking lines that just make you stop and think. I had quite a few of these while reading and loved each one.

At it's core, Saving Francesca is an unflinching look at the way teenagers perceive one another. We all have innocence in us, kids and adults alike and sometimes all it take is to know that you're loved in order to make it through. This fundamental lesson is ultimately what each character learns by the last line of Marchetta's wonderful story.

Such a treat to read from an amazing voice in YA literature.

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