Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
Francesca Spinelli's proactive mother has forced her to attend St. Sebastian's School for Boys, recently made co-ed by giving the girls a toilet. Francesca would rather go to St. Pius with her friends, instead of being stuck at Sebastian's with an unusual group of people, including Siobhan, her ex-best friend and infamous slut; Tara Finke, feminist and activist extraordinaire; Justine, an accordian player; Thomas Mackee, whose specialty is farting and teasing girls; Jimmy, an over-friendly upperclassman who terrifies young kids simply by asking them questions and who seems determined to make himself a fifth member of Francesca's family; and Will Trombal, their surly prefer who Francesca can't stop thinking about.
She thinks that's bad, but it gets worse when her mother succumbs to depression and lies in bed for months at a time. Almost too late, Francesca realizes that she is more like her mother than she realized, and that the family needs her energy to feel complete.
Australian author Melina Marchetta's second book is jam-packed with wit and poignancy. It will make you laugh over and over, as well as tug at your heartstrings. Francesca is a resilient protagonist with endearing conflicts to face, and Will kind of reminds me of Viktor Krum from Harry Potter--unless he's suddenly waxing eloquent, of course, and then it's just swooooon! Anyway, Saving Francesca is a nearly perfect novel; now it just needs a large fan base.
Personally I'm a fan of the hardcover image, but I own the paperback. I dunno, there's just something about those eyes on the hardcover...
So the participatory question is: what other Aussie writers do you enjoy and recommend? I'd like to read them!