Book review: Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta


Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

Francesca is new at St. Sebastian’s, a former all-boys school. Her only female companions are the ultra-feminist Tara, the “slut” Siobahn, and her best friend Justine. Her male companions are Thomas the slob, Jimmy the stoner, and Will the senior that won’t stop making Francesca grin.

Outside of school, Fran has her ambitious mother that becomes suddenly severely depressed and her average-joe father.

It is an incredibly touching story that takes you back in time to when you yourself were in school.

Francesca and her friends make up a group of incredibly relatable characters that embody a cross section of any highschool in the world with the essential divisions into slobs, stoners, and high achievers. The book is set in Sydney, Australia and offers a glimpse into the Australian transition into a more inclusive educational system. It is a very important book that introduces feminism, refugees, and identity. The author also writes in a very interesting manner, in which she offer glimpses into side characters’ lives without rounding them out. This allows for a very realistic narrative, since we all mainly focus on our own story but have people in our lives with stories that we are partially invited to.

The writing is also very fascinating; it is written in first person and manages to capture the essence of a teenage girl’s voice. One interesting device is the repetion of “When I grow up, I am going to become…” that changes each time she says it. She wants to be a teacher, a police, and lastly she says she wants to be her mother. That part was the most relatable for me, because in highschool I was completely lost at a time that my future rested on. It is stupid to ask a teenager to decide their whole future when they’re 18. Not everyone has their life figured out, and if they do they might not always be happy with them but be forced to follow through due to society’s demands. All of this is scrutinised subtly in the book through its many socially diverse characters.

The only thing I would have wanted it to explore along with feminism, refugees, and identity would have been native Australians. Their lack of representation was duly noted since they make up a large part of the non-extensive Australian history.

This is the only book written in first person that I am whole-heartedly willing to give a 5 star rating to! Incredible, riveting, immense!


Six of Crows & Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows flings us into the already developed Grisha world from the Grisha trilogy. Being a completely separate series it successfully manages to completely reintroduce a whole new world. I have not read the Grisha trilogy so I can’t compare but having read SoC and CK I can still deduce that this is one of her strongest writing in her carrier.

The story begins with a heist that a notorious swindler, Kaz Brekker, is offered 30 million kruge for to complete. He manages to find the 5 most pure and layered characters to join him. Their mission is simple; break into an impenetrable prison and break out a prisoner that may or may not be alive. Actually, they break into a prison(cheat and kill) within the first 100 pages of the book before they even attempt their mission.

In Crooked Kingdom the story unfolds further, the rules for the heist changes, and the stakes get higher than 30 million kruge. Simultaneously, Kaz gets the opportunity to avenge his miserable childhood and get his revenge on unjust and ruthless thugs he would usually call his colleagues.

To perform the heist there are a few things needed; Kaz’s brains, a Wraith called Inej Ghafa to seek out all the secrets and whispers that lie hidden between the bricks of their city Ketterdam. A witch, Nina Zenik, is also required for getting past guards noiselessly. A soldier that used to protect the prison that you want to break into is also handy, Matthias Helvar also happens to be Nina’s enemy and true love. There is also no heist without a guns guy, Jesper Fahey with his pearl studded revolvers, and an explosives guy, Wylan Van Eck, to get them out of impossible corners.

The characters are not only layered and interesting but also diverse in all manners of speaking. There are gay PoC, PoC, bisexuality and characters struggling with dyslexia and gambling addiction. All these themes are also dealt with respectfully and excellently!

It is also all topped off with beautiful writing; there exists a balance between prosaic verse and straightforward explanation. The action are incredibly well explained, I found no difficulty envisioning the characters and their positions. I don’t think I’ve ever been confused this little by a book with this kind of action in it.

My overall opinion of this book is very high. This is the best fantasy heist duology that I have read and will ever read. Despite the characters not necessarily staying with me after the first book, by the beginning of the second book the match was lit and there were definite sparks. I just want to add that Crooked Kingdom was straight fire from the first to last page. It was so easy to get through and if not for work I believe I would have finished it in one sitting. Due to exams I think it took me 11 days to finish but maybe 6 or 7 sittings.

A definite 5-star rating from me!