Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Many Faces of Francesca Spinelli: Judging A Book By Its Cover

Before I go on to the actual review of Aussie author Melina Marchetta's Saving Fancesca can I have a moment to discuss WHY THERE ARE SO MANY DIFFERENT COVERS OF THIS BOOK?

To me this one looks very fun and light and very much a beach read, which Marchetta's book wasn't AT ALL. If I saw this book in a store, I think I would be more compelled to pick it up than the copy I own. Doesn't it look like she's involved in some kind of love triangle, though? Or a book about a hapless prep school girl desperate for a first kiss?

(Hard Cover/Library Binding) From Although I think this cover relates most to the book (main character is partly shy, because she is hiding from plain view, she's sorta-kinda smiling, showing she wants to be a more outgoing person), but I much prefer the pink-toned cover to the beige one, which seems kind of bland. This looks like a serious-type book, possibly dealing with parental/friendship/love issues.

From Echo News: This cover is the most like the copy I'm reading, but mine is the girl's face in a several boxes, Brady Bunch-style. During the early chapters I found it hard to believe this girl was Frankie, simply because she is so happy and bouncy and smiley. I found myself wondering if maybe this was Frankie's mom?

One morning, Francesca's outgoing, independant mother Mia doesn't get up from bed. This situation shouldn't be alarming; but it is. Mia is the type of mother who plays loud seventies' songs for her two children, Francesca, 17, and Luca, 10, to wake up to. She drops her kids off at St. Sebastian's a prep school that only just started letting girls attend and picks them up after the many activities she encourages them to get involved with.

Francesca is having a difficult time adjusting to a school where fart jokes and bad breath reign supreme. She wishes she was at Pius School, with the cliqueish girlfriends she knew at her previous school. Only thirty girls attend Sebastian and they're a notable minority. Frankie's only "friend" options are band-geek Justine, school slut Siobahn and opinionated Tara. If Francesca wants to obtain even a smidgen of popularity, she knows these are the wrong girls to befriend, and yet, she does.

This book would've become boring quickly were it not for the cast of quirky characters (especially the school teachers) and Francesca's object of affection, Will. I rooted for Frankie's mom's recovery all through the book and I also hoped Frankie would end up with Will. I won't spoil the ending, but I will say that it's very realistic, something refreshing in YA literature.

Total: Three stars (Only because it took me a good 7-10 chapters to get into it.)

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