Why did I want to read this book?
I’ve read Saving Francesca and then later discovered that it has a sort-of sequel featuring one of the secondary characters, Thomas MacKee and I was immediately on board. Add to this the many high praises I’ve heard about it and I was definitely eager to read the book.
What worked for me?
This was another book perfection for me and with this goes another failing attempt on my part to translate my utter and complete love for this book into a review.
Thomas MacKee has finally hit rock-bottom. After getting injured and not remember so much of a wild, drunken, and maybe high night, he’s brought himself to the lowest of low. He’s not speaking with his dad, his parents might or might not be getting a divorce, his beloved aunt is pregnant and the father might be her ex-husband, his best friends, his true best friends want nothing to do with him, and the one girl who ever made him feel deeply is miles away and possibly with a boyfriend.
There are so much FEELS in this book, it’s crazy and yet totally right. If you could see the page post-its I have on my copy, you’ll understand my sentiments a bit. This story about grief and its reaching, clawing, and pulling fingers that can still wreak havoc to a person and to a family even years after the death of a loved one is just about as heartbreaking as it is inspiring and hopeful. This story about deep and abiding love, about forgiveness, about friendship will keep you glued to its pages, never once letting these characters out of your sight for fear of missing just one single moment.
Everything, everything about this book worked for me, from the prose, to the plot, to the issues that the characters faced, and to each and everyone of these characters. But mostly especially because of Tom. His thoughts became my own, at least in the duration of my reading and sometimes even beyond, and I just felt for him. His grief became my own. His longing became my own. His emotions too. And this book was sooooo good, I tell you.
What did not work for me?
Not. A. Thing.
My over-all take on it?
This was another very powerful and soul-stirring novel, with epic proportions of genius and talent from a veteran writer. Tom, the rest of his gang as well as his family will tug at your heartstrings like no one else’s business and you never want to pull back but only hold on tighter and never let go.
Melina Marchetta’s novels have been published in eighteen countries and in seventeen languages. Melina’s first novel, Looking for Alibrandi, swept the pool of literary awards for young adult fiction when it was published, winning the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year Award for Older Readers among many others. It was also released as an award-winning film, winning an AFI Award and an Independent Film Award for best screenplay, as well as the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Award and the Film Critics Circle of Australia Award.
Melina taught secondary-school English for ten years, during which time she released her second novel Saving Francesca, which won the CBCA Book of the Year Award for Older Readers, followed by On the Jellicoe Road, which won the American Library Association’s Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature in 2009. Melina’s next novel, Finnikin of the Rock, won the Aurealis Award for Best Young Adult Novel, and was followed by The Piper’s Son, the critically acclaimed companion novel to Saving Francesca. Melina has also written a book for younger readers, The Gorgon in the Gully, which was released in 2010. The second book in the Lumatere Chronicles, Froi of the Exiles, was published in 2011 to much international praise. Melina has completed her second screenplay, On the Jellicoe Road, which was chosen to be part of Screen New South Wales Aurora Script Workshop, and she has also written episodes for ABC-TV’s Dance Academy. The final novel in The Lumatere Chronicles, Quintana of Charyn, was released in September 2012. A companion short story to the Lumatere Chronicles, “Ferragost” was published in the Review of Australian Fiction.
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