Saving Francesca is not as elaborate as Marchetta’s Jellicoe Road but I thought it was an entertaining read that exudes humor and honesty.
Francesca Spinelli starts Year Eleven in St. Sebastian’s, an originally all-boys school that has recently started taking in female students. Since her friends decided to study at a different school, Francesca enters an unknown territory that pushes her out of her comfort zones. With only about 30 girls in St. Sebastian’s, she struggles to find her place. Plus, the hostile Sebastian boys and a sexist teacher don’t really offer much help. On top of it all, Francesca has been having difficulties within her family with the news that her once-vocal mother is suddenly stricken with depression.
The main theme of the book is Francesca fixing what’s going on with her family, school, and herself. And what I really liked about this is the friendships and bonds she forms with the most unlikely group of people to ever come together. Her growing relationship with her friends, even with a few of the Sebastian boys, felt honest, real, and incredibly moving. The chemistry between Francesca and Will wasn’t as well-drawn as that of Taylor and Jonah’s in Jellicoe Road, but the last few dialogues between the two felt so endearing and unexpectedly heartbreaking that it left me craving for more.
The way that Francesca dealt with her mother’s mental health was slightly dismissive at times. Often, the plot strayed from what could have been a very powerful and emotional experience for the readers. But whenever it was in focus, I felt all the pain, ache, and yearning floating over their family.
It was a great read and I think I’m in love with Melina Marchetta.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars