Friday, August 16, 2013

Aussie Review & Giveaway: Saving Francesca & The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta

Saving FrancescaSaving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
Published on May 9, 2008 
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
A compelling story of romance, family, and friendship with humor and heart, perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Lauren Myracle.

Francesca is stuck at St. Sebastian’s, a boys' school that pretends it's coed by giving the girls their own bathroom.  Her only female companions are an ultra-feminist, a rumored slut, and an impossibly dorky accordion player.  The boys are no better, from Thomas, who specializes in musical burping, to Will, the perpetually frowning, smug moron that Francesca can't seem to stop thinking about.

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 of 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, hersocial life and—hardest of all—herself.
My Thoughts:
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 and Justine's spirit and Siobham'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 disease that could be sleeping inside of me.

After reading Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta I’m convinced that this author can write a 500 page book about the different brands of toilet paper and I’d be glued to every page and every single word she has to share. I love this author’s writing, and I’m going to make it a point to read a couple more of her books before the year is out, including The Piper's Son and On the Jellicoe Road. Marchetta is a master of her craft and I’m enchanted by her skill and ability to draw the reader into her story and make them want to travel with her characters and feel every emotion they are experiencing.

Saving Francesca is a poignant, character driven story filled with humor and heartfelt moments that kept me turning the pages until I reluctantly stumbled upon the conclusion. What a beautiful novel that will stay on my mind because I became attached to the characters immediately upon meeting them.

This is more than a story about St. Sebastian’s boy’s academy becoming coed and Francesca and several other girls having the misfortune of trying to infuse themselves in the school. This book deals with depression, family issues, social pressures and a girl’s attempt to find the strength to keep her family together and her life in tact. It’s about love, friendship and finding the will to continue when everything around you makes you just want to curl up and hide from the world. I loved it and I’ll be reading Francesca’s story over and over again.

There were moments I laughed out loud, giggled like a goof and other times my eyes got misty and my heart felt a tug. When a story pulls me in so many emotional directions, but leaves me with a sense of hope, I know something was done right. I loved this book and I hope others will give it a try and get to know Francesca and walk in her shoes. Great book that shouldn’t be missed.

Favorite Quotes
I can't believe I said it out loud. The truth doesn't set you free, you know. It makes you feel awkward and embarrassed and defenseless and red in the face and horrified and petrified and vulnerable. But free? I don't feel free. I feel like shit.

I came, I mucked around. Thus I did not learn.

Do something that scares you everyday.

Ten years from now…
Will you have played your part?
Will you have carved your mark?

What are you thinking?
I’m thinking a lot of things, but they will require too much honesty and I don’t think I can take that at the moment.

I was born seventeen years ago. Do you think people have noticed that I’m around? Francesca said. Will replies, I notice when you’re not. Does that count?

Did he just insult me? Francesca asks Justine. Yes, but the tragedy is that he thinks he’s paying you a compliment.

You go shake your foundations, Will. I think it's about time I saved myself.

Favorite Scenes
Thomas, Jimmy, Justine, Francesca are on the bus and Tuba Guy Francois boards. Thomas makes things happen for Justine. I loved this guy!!!

Francesca rids the cabin of evil spirits with her hip hopping and chanting but before she does, she stops Will from entering and tells him “Nonbelievers are barred” Why did that make me crack up???

Thomas, Jimmy, Justine, Tara, Siohban wait for Francesca at her home as her dad drives out to Woy Woy to bring her back home. What an awesome group of friends. 

 5 Snowflakes

The Piper's Son The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta
Published on March 1, 2010
Publisher: Penguin Australia 
The award-winning author of Finnikin of the Rock and Jellicoe Road pens a raw, compelling novel about a family's hard-won healing on the other side of trauma.

Award-winning author Melina Marchetta reopens the story of the group of friends from her acclaimed novel Saving Francesca - but five years have passed, and now it's Thomas Mackee who needs saving. After his favorite uncle was blown to bits on his way to work in a foreign city, Tom watched his family implode. He quit school and turned his back on his music and everyone that mattered, including the girl he can't forget. Shooting for oblivion, he's hit rock bottom, forced to live with his single, pregnant aunt, work at the Union pub with his former friends, and reckon with his grieving, alcoholic father. Tom's in no shape to mend what's broken. But what if no one else is either? An unflinching look at family, forgiveness, and the fierce inner workings of love and friendship, The Piper's Son redefines what it means to go home again.
My Thoughts:
Maybe she’d always been there. Maybe strangers enter your heart first and then you spend the rest of your life searching for them. - TM

I don’t know how she does it, but Marchetta delivers it every time - a fictional story that seems so real, a cast of characters you’re not ready to let go of, and a powerful dialog that reaches into your heart and soul and reveals lessons and observations that have you contemplating love, life, loss and redemption. Absolute and shear perfection that I will never get enough of.

The Piper’s Son is a heart-wrenching story told in alternating POVs of both Thomas Mackee and Georgie Finch. It takes place two years after the death of Thomas’ Uncle Joe and the day he walked away from his friends from St. Sebastians and his family that was on the verge of imploding. Georgie has a set of issues of her own as her pregnancy progresses and she struggles to make sense of her life and the man that cheated on her seven years prior. This story takes you on their journey, one of healing, forgiveness and finding one’s way home again.

As with Marchetta’s other books, I love the cast of characters she creates and every single one is a gem in their own right. They are full of surprises and ready to take you on their exploration of life. I loved the twist with Mohsin the Ignorer. It made me realize that the worst thing you can do is not give someone a chance or simply the benefit of the doubt. Wow, when his bit was revealed, I was this close *gestures thumb and index finger one inch apart* to starting the story from the beginning to get a different perspective.

Frankie, Tara, Justine and Will were fun to revisit, but I wish.wish.wish Jimmy would have made an appearance. But no worries, this book delivered a healthy dose of surprises, sigh-worthy moments, and misty eyes that I hope others will enjoy as much as I did.

Melina Marchetta, the words you to commit to page are magical and the journeys you deliver are heart rending. You are a literary genius!!

Favorite quotes
Don’t let anyone take care of you. Can you maybe leave that for me to do? I mean, take care of you? Feel free to take care of me in return… because I think I’ll need you to do that.- TM

Death by humiliation... - TM

Play me something that makes me feel,
This soul inside is made of steel.
Brain is breathing, but heart’s not beating,
And babe I need you to make things real.

Walk inside me without silence,
Kill the past and change the tense.
Empty gnawing and the ache is soaring,
Take me places that make more sense.
-Thomas Mackee

5 Snowflakes

I am giving away a copy of both Saving Francesca & The Piper's Son to one lucky reader!  Open to all countries that are able to receive books from The Book Depository!
Good luck! 



  1. I always love your book reviews and Saving Francesca looks utterly fantastic and fun to read. My tbr sure is adding up. Thanks also for the giveaway:)

  2. A great introduction to an author I haven't had the chance yet to read, thanks!

  3. Both these books look interesting. And you definitely convinced me to read both with your awesome reviews. Thanks for adding more to my TBR list :D

  4. I love all her books. Saving Francesca & Looking for Alibandri are the only ones I don’t have. Thanks for the giveaway.

  5. sounds fantastic! Thanks for sharing!

  6. I haven't read either, but I've been planning to for a long time now. Your reviews are giving me the push to finally read it! :D Both of these books sound so good and I love the quotes you picked out. (:

  7. Christina K. in the rafflecopter

    Haven't read them but everyone LOVES the author!

    LOVE that Saving Francesca had characters you connected to, and that it had humor as well as serious issues:)

    Lovely reviews:)

    Thank you:)

  8. Saving Francesca looks like something I'd really like.

  9. These 2 books sound tempting to me. Would like to read them both.
    Thanks for this giveaway!

  10. Ooh great reviews! These both look so great, especially Saving Francesca! The quotes definitely drew me in. Thanks for the giveaway! :D

  11. These books are amazing. I enjoyed your review (and pretty please, pick me!)

  12. Jellicoe Road is one of my favorite books and I can't wait to read these two. Your reviews have made me want to read them even more!

  13. I adore Melina Marchetta. I'm sure I will feel the same way about these books after I read them.

  14. I really want to read these! Loved Finnikin of the Rock and am curious to see how her contemporary books are :)

  15. I adored her Jellicoe Road, it was type of book that every generation would loved it. Aussie authors rock!