Source: Personal Bookshelf (I own the Australian version hence the Australian cover)
Grade: 4 stars out of 5
Saving Francesca follows a girl whose mother has become depressed and whose friends she’s having trouble finding. Once free-spirited Francesca was considered a freak and immediately picked up by a group of girls who thought they were doing the right now. But now Francesca is forced to attend a new school and a recently co-ed school at school losing connection to those girls. Surrounded by boys at every corner with only 13 other girls in the school, Francesca is just trying to survive and ultimately needs to depend on them.
Shortly after my inhalation of Jellicoe Road I ferociously grabbed my copy of Saving Francesca off the shelves (I like to prepare myself and get at least 2 novels of an author before reading them). Saving Francesca is wholly more saddening, dispirited, and gloomy than Jellicoe Road. I needed to take a breather once in a while to up my cheer and not burst into random fits of crying to my friends (which I suspect they’ll look at like I’m crazy). My feelings never fluctuated as it did in Jellicoe Road; I was constantly sad and at times I felt the urge to stop reading because I was too sad. This constant emotion can be a set back almost “boring” as I am a roller coaster type of girl; I enjoy those crazy high stake emotions running amok.
Melina Merchetta does wonders with self-identity, self-discovery, and self-confinement. She is also a freaking genius with the rest of her characters—meek, outgoing, desperate, political, torn, calming. As for the ending, it is not what you considered the general happily ever after, but it is realistic just as the romance. Depression does not disappear like that and Merchetta takes that into account; it is more of the growth from it than the ending of it.
You just cannot help but understand why she has won so many awards for her novels. They are, pointblank, brilliant.
P.S. I sometimes have trouble Australian connotations. Whenever I see the word "bush" I think of a...bush, not a bush. Just something I was amused by. This is more relevant in Jellicoe Road, but I forgot to mention it.
(my "bush" vs. what I should be thinking "bush")
P.P.S. I need to read another book by Merchetta soon.