Francesca is stuck at St. Sebastians, a boys' school that's pretends it's coed by giving the girls their own bathroom. Her only female companions are an ultra-feminist, a rumored slut, and an 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, along, 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.
You know that love-hate relationship you sometimes develop with certain books? Saving Francesca was totally one of them. It's told from Francesca's point of view and I must say, in the beginning I absolutely hated her. She refused to become friendly with her new classmates because in her old school, her friends thought they were weird. Everything she did she wondered what her old friends would say. She let her mom control every aspect of her life and didn't do anything that could remotely be considered fun and then accused other people of not having a personality. Can you say POT CALLING THE KETTLE BLACK?
But as usual, I judged the main character a little too quickly.
As you read, you find out why she became this way. To me it still didn't justify, but what do I know about the psychological effects our friends have on us? It did give me some food for thought, though. The rest of characters were fun and lovable, despite being annoyingly one-dimensional. They seemed to be one specific thing and that's it. Tara, for example (one of her friends) is an ultra-feminist and she didn't say or do anything in the book that didn't have something to do with that. Whatever.
Aaaaaand for the romance....
Well what girl doesn't like a good romance? Will (no matter how many YA guys have that name, it's still smoking hot) was a little like me, which made me like and understand him. Always planning ahead, head of his house at school (my school doesn't have that but I represent my class in all sorts of things) and sometimes unnecessarily annoyed. Unfortunately he, too, was what I just described and nothing else, therefore losing points with me. HOWEVER, his dilemma about going out with Francesca was realistic and many couples finishing high school face that decision so I did sympathize with him (though scorning his behavior) .
As for the depression....
My heart really went out to Francesca and her family. I mean, how many happily married, mother of two, successful professor, extremely social, music and inspirational quote-loving women just suddenly decide they don't want to get out of bed one morning? Naturally it shocked her, her dad, and her brother and even more so when nothing they did would help. I admired Francesca for her courage and looking out for her little brother while trying to find out happened to her mother, and (maybe even more importantly) what happened to her wild, crazy, ambitious old self she left behind in grade 7. Grade: 86%