Marchetta, Melina. Saving Francesca.

Author:Rosser, Claire
Position:Young Adult Review - Book Review

MARCHETTA, Melina. Saving Francesca. Random House, Knopf. 245p. c2003. 0-375-82982-2. $15.95. JS*

The author, a teacher in Sydney, Australia who wrote the successful YA novel Looking for Alibrandi, continues with the same milieu, a Catholic school and an Italian family. Francesca's mother and father share working class Italian roots, but her mother persisted in graduate school and has a job teaching at the college level; meanwhile, Francesca's father still works in construction. At the time this novel begins, Francesca's mother has a "nervous breakdown," and is buried in depression. Francesca and her younger brother (this is a lovely sibling relationship) attend the same school, which was an all-boys school until recently. Francesca's mother pressured her to go there even though Francesca wanted to stay with her friends from her old school. In essence, this is a school story, telling of Francesca finding a new group of friends, finding a boyfriend, and beginning to find herself, despite the terrible angst of worrying constantly about her mother's health.

What makes the novel so much fun and so poignant at the same time is the terrific dialog--witty, cutting, intelligent,...

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