In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll admit that I’ve read this book before. But after reading “The Piper’s Son” a while ago, I realized that I had virtually no recollection of what happened in Saving Francesca—for some reason it hadn’t stuck with me. So I decided to read it again. The fact that this book is by Melina Marchetta is an obvious indicator that it’s fantastic, but I think I found it more fantastic (fantastic-er?) this time around. It clicked with me more.
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 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.
One of the things I love best about this book is Frankie’s group of friends. You wouldn’t think they should even like each other (and at first they don’t), but somehow they fit together perfectly. And despite all the teasing and the craziness and the immaturity, they’re there for each other when it matters. And the same thing goes for Frankie’s family—they fight and yell, but at the end of the day, they love each other, despite their frustrations.
Frankie, herself, is an immensely likeable character, and I really enjoyed watching her struggle to come into her own and figure out who she is outside of her family and old group of friends. Her mom’s depression hits Frankie hard, but she keeps going—even when she feels like her world is coming to an end, and I love her honesty and her slowly reemerging passion for life.
To be honest, I still don’t get Frankie’s relationship with Will. I mean, they don’t actually spend that much time together—at least not enough to satisfy me that they know each other well enough to have feelings for each other. And yet, despite this, Melina Marchetta of course manages to write the scenes they do have together in a way that gets the butterflies going in my stomach.
Overall, a great book, obvs. If you’re in the mood for a solid contemporary that’s got some serious emotional heft, I think this one is for you.
Rating: 4.5 / 5