saving francesca

Saving Francesca

saving francesca


Francesca is stuck at St. Sebastian’s, 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 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.


I got my hands on Saving Francesca in March 2013, shortly after reading Jellicoe Road (review here) – kind of late to the Melina Marchetta party, but I tell you: Melina Marchetta novels are definitely worth it. When I first read Saving Francesca its impact on me wasn’t as unerring as Jellicoe Road probably because I was destroyed by the previous book so much the feeling stayed with me until I come into contact with another that will slay me into tiny pieces and remain catatonic for a couple of weeks (or months, who knows?).

Now that I’ve gone through it again, I stand by what I said when I first read it. It’s not that I didn’t like it or it’s a bad novel. It’s more like — dare I say it — I find it to be the weakest (yes, I’ve said it) of the three I’ve read (almost done with The Piper’s Son and it’s fantastic).

First of all, I do think that Saving Francesca is a great contemporary YA novel. It absolutely has Aha! moments and that’s why I like it. The characters are multifaceted which I found to be one of Melina Marchetta’s strengths. I think Francesca is strongest in her weakest moments that you find yourself rooting for her all the more. And even if she was temporarily lost, her little quirks shone and stayed until she got her momentum back.

Second, I love how Francesca has real people problems. I know how it’s fun to sometimes read something out of the ordinary, something that rarely happens to people like you and me but I realized that nothing beats harsh reality. Days of fighting dragons and going on wicked adventures is incomparable to uncomfortable days and nights waiting for your mother  to overcome depression.

And third, I love how relationships are portrayed in this novel (in all of Melina Marchetta’s novels, actually). I love how it’s not just exploring romantic relationships between two coming-of-age people but also the dynamic of a suddenly dysfunctional household, of group of friends, and  of one’s relationship with the self – Marchetta has covered it all.

Those three would have been enough but there was a nagging feeling inside of me midway through the book that I should know more about Jimmy Hailler. He’s one of those secondary characters that I believe has all the potential to be a primary character. From where I am standing (or sitting), I think he’s got as much vulnerability and profoundness as all of the primary characters in this book. Also, let’s not forget how important his character is in the betterment of Mia.


Saving Francesca may not be as life changing to me as others might tag it but it is a beguiling story of finding (and saving) yourself. Highly recommended. 4 out 5 stars.

rainbow rowell landline


As I have pointed out in this post 3 days ago, I am on a Melina Marchetta week/month. I am done  rereading On the Jellicoe Road and I am happy to report that the impact is the same. I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing that nothing changed. I still wept like a baby. I love this book so much. I don’t think that will change as well.

rainbow rowell landline

I’m taking a short break from the Melina Marchetta madness so I can read Rainbow Rowell’s latest novel, Landline. I had a semi-panic attack this afternoon when I heard that local bookstores are already selling copies of it-the official release in the US is dated July 8th-and immediately tracked one close to where I live. Rainbow Rowell is a fangirl and I’ll forever look forward to reading her books. Heck, I’ll even gladly read her grocery list.

Tartt’s The Goldfinch can wait until after I’m done with MMM. I read several 160-character reviews of The Goldfinch on Twitter and some say it’s a difficult read. I was able to read a few pages while waiting at the check out counter and I have to say, it’s quite interesting. I guess it gets tougher as the plot thickens?

It’s only Wednesday but I’m already dreaming of the weekend tucked in bed with a book in my hands and a cup of tea on my bedside table. How are you guys holding up?


the spectacular now tim tharp

The Spectacular Now

2013 Reading Challenge

2013 Reading Challenge
Elaine has
completed her goal of reading 30 books in 2013!


I’m happy to announce that I am finally done with this year’s Reading Challenge! Woooohooo! It feels good to accomplish something! Anyway, based on my half drunk post earlier, the last book I read to complete this challenge was Tim Tharp’s The Spectacular Now. There are possible spoilers below so if you haven’t read the book or saw the film, it’s time to stop reading.

The reason I read this book is  the movie and the buzz. I don’t know if they’re going to screen it in the Philippines but I have avoided the trailer until now that I’ve finished reading because I’m one of those people who’d rather read the book first because I don’t want the movie to alter my interpretation of the book. I actually have high hopes for this book not only because of the great things I have read about its film adaptation but also because it’s YA and you can never go wrong with YA. And I wasn’t wrong. I finished the book in two days because I was so invested. At 1:00 a.m. today, I went to sleep with a black hole in my chest.

Here’s a synopsis from GoodReads:

SUTTER KEELY. He’s the guy you want at your party. He’ll get everyone dancing. He’ ll get everyone in your parents’ pool. Okay, so he’s not exactly a shining academic star. He has no plans for college and will probably end up folding men’s shirts for a living. But there are plenty of ladies in town, and with the help of Dean Martin and Seagram’s V.O., life’s pretty fabuloso, actually.

Until the morning he wakes up on a random front lawn, and he meets Aimee. Aimee’s clueless. Aimee is a social disaster. Aimee needs help, and it’s up to the Sutterman to show Aimee a splendiferous time and then let her go forth and prosper. But Aimee’s not like other girls, and before long he’s in way over his head. For the first time in his life, he has the power to make a difference in someone else’s life—or ruin it forever.

Okay. For me, Sutter is not very likable. He’s someone I will probably date but will also cry about every night because he’s a goddamn asshole. He’s fun, sure but he is also a man without a plan. That does not necessarily mean that I don’t like the book; you don’t have to like the characters to love a book. I like it even more because of him and his spot on world views. I like reading about his stories because they were well written and straightforward.

I’ll tell you what The Spectacular Now is. It’s a realistic portrayal of addiction. I guess it’s no surprise to everyone that the great Sutterman is a drunk but that isn’t blatantly stated in the book, which I like. It’s a daring move from Tharp, letting the readers decide if Sutter is really a drunk or just bored out of his wits. He appears young and fun, a typical teenager in Oklahoma. He did noble acts to help others, true, but these noble acts always benefited him at some point.

And to me, I think Sutterman believed himself to be a savior of some kind. Whenever someone was out looking for a buzz, he was there to hook them up. He helped his best friend Ricky and partnered him up with Bethany. Then he found his way to Aimee and, after spending one morning tossing the paper route, decided the girl needed to be saved. Sutter sees everyone’s problems but his own – that’s what he is to me.

The Spectacular Now is not a love story, either. His relationship with Aimee unleashed the flake in me. I wanted them to work, I wanted Aimee to do the saving (she did try), I was hoping for Sutter to get his goddamn act together, but there’s a tiny part of me that knows where their relationship was going. For a moment I really thought Sutter learned to love Aimee but at the end you could still tell he was pining for Cassidy and would get back together with her if an opportunity presented itself.

I was also frightened of Sutter. After the disappointing daddy plot, they were on the road, Aimee and Sutter, and they were having this huge misunderstanding. The drunken rage was real and palpable. I was terrified for Aimee because I can feel Sutter shifting gear – from the funny, charismatic boy to this raging drunken abusive monster. Et voila, the BS realization he had after the accident was so obvious; I saw it coming and it felt a tiny bit forced.

The Spectacular Now tells a good story with believable imperfect characters. Sutter ending up alone in a bar was a spectacular ending. It was a blow nobody would expect or want (or both), hence the black hole in my chest, but that makes the book more powerful. If it concluded any other way, the entire book would be a sell-out.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Recommended to: everyone.



tea books cigarettes

The Ultimate Dumpee Meme

PM, the wonderful lady, tagged me on a book meme! I instantly thought about what John Green said about books being the ultimate dumpees, thus the title. Anyway, I’ll get on with it.

the boy who lived harry potter

Author you’ve Read the Most Books from: It’s J.K. Rowling. I was late(ish) to the Harry Potter party, I only got to read The Sorcerer’s Stone when I was a freshman in high school but since then, I got so hooked like the rest of the HP fandom. I also have almost all of Chuck Palahniuk’s books and all of John Green’s books and George R.R. Martin’s The Song of Ice and Fire series.

Best Sequel Ever: It’s a tie between J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and The Prizoner of Azkaban and Rick Riordan’s The Son of Neptune.

Currently Reading: Megan McCafferty’s Fourth Comings. I am so mad I only got on the Jessica Darling fandom a month ago. HOWWHATWHY

tea books cigarettes

Drink of Choice While Reading: I like reading with warm tea within reach and a menthol cigarette between my lips.

E-reader or Physical Book? Lol this was one of the questions in my speaking exam last year. Anyway as much as I like the smell of new (and old) books, I am now quite partial to e-reading just because it’s the only way to get what I want and not be poor. I get physical copies every now and then a.k.a. when I REALLY love the book.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School: It’s a triple tie: Marcus Flutie (Jessica Darling series), Park (Eleanor & Park), and Augustus Waters (The Fault in Our Stars).

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance: Robert Galbraith’s The Cuckoo’s Calling! It honestly bored me to death, and I’ll admit I only read it because of the J.K. Rowling fuss, but I’m glad I got to the end because it’s a great read. Trust me on this y’all.

Hidden Gem Book: Chuck Palahniuk’s Rant. It’s weird and science fiction-y without you even knowing it. I love how the author gets really obscene and I am a sucker for philosophical views underneath a clusterfuck of weird.

pushing daisies

Important Moment in your Reading Life: When I read Melina Marchetta’s On the Jellicoe Road, I wasn’t expecting a lot. I was one hormonal mess, I just stopped taking my medication, I was losing interest in things I enjoy doing. In short, I was backsliding. I lost hope and then lost some more (oooh cheesy) but through this beautifully woven piece of YA, I regained what was lost and I held on to it. I can also say the same for Patrick Ness’ the Chaos Walking series and Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything Is Illuminated but On the Jellicoe Road was utterly spot on.

Just Finished: Megan McCafferty’s Charmed Thirds.

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read: Erotic Romance (looking at you 50 Shades of Yuck) and non-fiction

Longest Book You’ve Read: The Song of Ice and Fire novels are extremely hard to process. They aren’t as voluminous in pages but my friend George R.R. Martin is a fan of incredibly detailed narrative which I think is the reason why it takes him years to finish a novel. Which is good, by the way, because it keeps the fans hungry and excited!

Major book hangover because of: Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief. Seriously guys, just read this one already.

Number of Bookcases You Own: My books are all over the place. Most of my books are stored in a huge cabinet and then some on the floor of my room and a few on my bedside table.

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times: John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. INCOMPARABLE!

donnie is reading get out

Preferred Place To Read: It doesn’t matter – I’d read anywhere! (I’ll steal this one from PM!)

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read: “When did the future switch from being a promise to being a threat?” from Chuck Palahniuk’s Invisible Monsters.

Reading Regret: Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84, Cecilia Ahern’s Love, Rosie, and Jennifer E. Smith’s The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight.

Series You Started And Need To Finish(all books are out in series): Harry Potter, the Jessica Darling series, and Veronica Roth’s Divergent series.

okay the fault in our stars

Three of your All-Time Favorite Books: The Fault in Our Stars, J.D. Salinger’s Franny and Zooey, and On the Jellicoe Road.

Unapologetic Fangirl For: Young Adult fiction

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others: Rick Riordan’s House of Hades and Veronica Roth’s Allegiant.

Worst Bookish Habit: Reading at work (sorry I’m not sorry! I am always reading the good parts when my break is over!), staying up late saying, “One more page.” and ending up not sleeping at all.

X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book: Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity.

Your latest book purchase: The last physical copy I bought was Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late): Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park! I really had to know what happened because feelings.

Thanks PM for the diversion! I really enjoyed this meme! 🙂

eleanor & park

Eleanor & Park

Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park is the kind of book you will save from floods or fire or the end of the world.

eleanor & park

I first heard about Eleanor & Park when I stumbled upon John Green’s review. I was interested with the idea of first love, the cutesy type of first love and people didn’t want to stop raving about this book.

Now I don’t even know how to begin writing this because I’m a sucker for well-written novels with a horrible sense of foreboding in the run-up to the ending, especially because of the prologue, which makes you expect heartbreak right from the very start. I thought this would be Why We Broke Up all over again.

But the thing is, it wasn’t. Continue reading

The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend

Two books in a week! Celebratory high fives? No? Okay.

the duff

Anyway, I was meaning to write this entry right after I was finished reading Kody Keplinger’s The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend (which is around 2 in the morning) but guess what, I was in bed with a huge fucking smile on my face because god damn I should stay away from this book.

Continue reading