Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Review: Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

In honor of Jellicoe Road winning the Printz Award (I haven't read it yet but you can be sure I definitely will; if anyone has written a review about it please do link me to it so that I can peruse!), I am putting up a review of a related, beloved book...

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.

Rating: 5/5


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!


  1. Isn't Marcus Zusak Australian? I love his books.

  2. I've heard good things about Ms. Marchetta from another blog. Will give her books a try the next time I am at the library ...


  3. I just got this book. I can't wait to read this one. A 5 start too : )

  4. Um...Simon Haynes emigrated to Australia...does that count? Otherwise, I don't think I know any others...

    The cast of Saving Francesca sounds really fun!

  5. I see this book everywhere, I need to read it...

  6. Ahh StephSu your question was tailor made for me. Simmone Howell, Amra Pajalic, Lili Wilkinson, Mo Johnson, Nick Earls...I really could go on forever and they are all spectacular writers.

    I loved this book, it won the Aust prize for best YA book in 2004. It's just beautiful, I also have a different cover than the ones you've presented.

    Glad you like it, get your hands on Jellicoe immediately.

  7. I haven't read anything by Melina Marchetta, unfortunately. I was planning to get Jellicoe Road a while back, but it didn't work out.
    Great review!

  8. Good review. I really want to read this one. I have two books in my room from Melina. I won them in a contest, so now I just need to find the time to read them!!!


  9. Hmm, I never heard of this author before. I'll give it a try. :D

  10. I've never heard of this book but it looks really funny. I will have to check it out!

  11. Markus Zusak is Australian? He is DEFINITELY there. The Book Thief was amazing. And that book looks really good too. Will sounds like he could be a contender for my Fictional Boyfriends List.

  12. The only Melina Marchetta I've read is Looking for Alibrandi, and I had mixed feelings about that one. But her work seems promising so I'll definitely give this a go!

  13. I like the hardcover better.
    I haven't read it but it sounds funny so maybe I give it a try.
    A girl in a boys school...!

  14. I haven't been able to get this book! Every single time I go to the library, it's already checked out. Grrr...

  15. A friend recommended this book to me. Must put it on the library list.

  16. I've never read anything by this author before. It sounds great - will check it out!

    My old boarding school had just gone coed, so I expect I'll particularly enjoy that aspect.


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