My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Publication Date: March 31st, 2003
Publisher: Penguin BFYR
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, School, Contemporary, Romance, Depression
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, her social life and—hardest of all—herself.
For the first time in I don’t know how long, I got exactly what I expected from a book. For the first time, I find myself thinking that this book has a very, very accurate blurb.
Except for the last part, where it says that this is a ‘‘compelling story of romance,’’ because, although the romance is a big part of the story indeed, it isn’t entirely charming or swoon-worthy, but that’s definitely something subjective.
This is my first read of 2017, so yay to that. I’ve started close to eleven books and only finished this one – which is the last book I started. It’s a fast-read with interesting themes. The fictional St. Sebastian’s school is a strong setting. I could easily imagine in my mind how infuriating it must be for the only thirty girls to attend this school to be denied what the boys have.
While I was a fan of the main character, whom I found extremely reliable and authentic, I did not especially find the other characters to be as memorable and three dimensional as her. There are quite a few characters introduced to us, and they all have their different roles to play, but most of them remain somewhat mysterious or not at all unique throughout the plot.
The mental illness theme is explored considerably well. The plot acts a bit like a mystery one, in the sense that we do not know what is wrong with Francesca’s mother until the end. By that I mean that we are not revealed fully the cause to her mother’s mental health collapse.
A strong three-star-rating. Boring romance and friendship, but interesting setting, powerful themes and 3D heroine.
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