Saving Francesca

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I feel a little bad about writing about this novel because it is extremely hard to find. Like, I had to scourer many used bookstores to find this, and even then the copy I have is old and kind of falling apart.

But then I remember how awesome this book is, and I realize it’s worth it.

If you, by lucky chance, come across it, buy it. Just do it. You’ll thank me later.

Okay, so Francesca, the protagonist, goes to this all boys school that recently opened its doors to some eleventh year students, and she is unlucky enough to go there. And I know what you’re thinking if you’re female: “Ohmygosh! All boys and a select number of females? How is that not a good situation?”  But here’s the thing: These boys are idiots. The ones that are not or less of idiots already have girlfriends, and they make that very obvious to the few girls there.

The book starts out with Francesca’s mother not getting out of bed that day. And then the next, and the next, and the next . . . until Francesca doesn’t know who she is anymore. She doesn’t know why her mother is depressed, her father won’t tell her, and all of a sudden she’s taking care of her little brother, her father, and trying not to fall into depression herself.

This is one of those novels with a protagonist that I really wish existed. I want to meet her. Because she’s sarcastic, has a sharp tongue, and is . . . real. I know I say that a lot, that a good protagonist needs to have enough realistic traits but is also strong, maybe stronger than most of us would be in that situation. This just makes them a likeable character. And sarcasm.

Sarcasm is a must have.

This is a book of little words. I say that, because Melina Marchetta is one of those incredibly gifted authors that can say less in her books, but make the biggest impact.

Here’s an example:

“It’s a weird smile, but it reaches his eyes and I bottle it. And I put it in my ammo pack that’s kept right next to my soul. The one that holds Mia’s scent and Justine’s spirit and Siobhan’s hope and Tara’s passions. Because if I’m going to wake up one morning and not be able to get out of bed, I’m going to need everything I’ve got to fight this bastard of a disease that could be sleeping inside of me.”

I just . . . I’m dying right now.

That is most definitely one of my favorite quotes. Ever. As in, a favorite from any book I’ve ever read, ever. Because it’s just so true.

You know that one time I mentioned I have my ten or fifteen all time favorite books? Well, this is one of them.

This is one of those novels that will touch that part of a soul you never really noticed you had and lock itself away in you to save for a rainy day.

This is one of those novels that you will remember during that horrible day you had when everything went wrong and you’re crying out to God and the universe “Why me?”

It did not make me cry, but a little piece of me broke inside, and then it fixed itself.

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