review: saving francesca by melina marchetta

saving francesca by melina marchetta
published: may 9th 2006
genres & keywords: young adult, contemporary, romance

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Francesca is stuck at St. Sebastian’s, a boys’ school that pretends it’s coed by giving the girls their own bathroom. Her only female companions are an ultra-feminist, a rumored slut, and 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 of 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.

A compelling story of romance, family, and friendship with humor and heart, perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Lauren Miracle.


.:: RATING 5 STARS ::.

“You go and shake your foundations, Will. I think it’s about time I saved myself.”


This is the kind of story that sneaks up on you. Usually when I rate a story 5 stars, it’s because it overwhelms me with feelings. It’s messy and all-consuming and it just hits you all at ounce. With Saving Francesca, the feelings creep up on you. It’s one surprised laugh, another teary sniffle and by the time this book finishes you ask yourself, how bad is it if I start this book again?

All I want to do is scream out “What’s happening?” over and over again because ten days ago my mum didn’t get out of bed. No visible symptoms, no medicine, no doctors.

No visible symptoms, no medicine, no doctors. Depression is a tricky thing. It hits some of us when we most expect it or least expect it and it makes sense to some and has no rhyme or reason for others. It’s confusing, it’s heartbreaking, and it hurts those suffering as it hurts those around them.

My heart broke for Francesca and her family. For their feelings of confusion and helplessness, for Mia’s depression, for a family being torn apart by the seams.

Mia’s everything has consumed us all our lives, and now Mia’s nothing is consuming us as well.

Despite the seriousness of the subject, Marchetta was able to introduce an appropriate lightheartedness to the story. The side characters are given as much attention and development as the main ones and their banter and Francesca’s inner monologue inspires laughter. Thomas especially was a favorite of mine.

“Well, Trombol’s like, ‘No. She looks like Sophia Lauren’ or something like that, and I’m thinking, you loser! Here I am trying to pay her a compliment and you can’t even pretend that Francesca’s hot.”

“Did he just insult me?” I ask Justine.

“Yes, but the tragedy is that he thinks he’s paying you a compliment.”

You get a little of everything in Saving Francesca:
⇢ a well done representation of depression and its struggle, portrayed respectively and not merely as a plot device

⇢ a wit that leaves you laughing, smile, and snorting

⇢ properly developed and detailed side characters

⇢ a romance that didn’t overpower or consume the story, but gave you feels nonetheless

I’m in love with a droid! Any minute now he’s going to start using formulae to work out how he feels about me.


My only regret is that I didn’t pick up Saving Francesca sooner.

T H O U G H T S ?
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