Grade 9-12-In her second young adult novel, Australian author Melina Marchetta creates a compelling teen girl character conflicted by her mother's deep clinical depression and her own adjustment to a new, previously all boys school. As in Marchetta's Looking for Alibrandi (Orchard, 1999), the themes and motifs here include the main character's status as being one generation removed from the immigrant Italian community. Francesca is not only a very believable 16-year-old, but the demands on her given her family's difficulties and her friends' attempts to deal with changes in their social milieu are ones that American teens will understand and empathize with readily. Marchetta sees the vanities of some adults as occasions for humor as well as distrust on the part of insightful teens. Rebecca Macauley's light accent is readily understandable, and she provides a variety of voices for Francesca, her beleaguered father, her little brother, and her female and male friends. There is enough romance here to make the story appealing to those interested more in such relationships than in the equally well-treated complexity of parent and teen relationships. Francesca grows through the story's development from a girl who knows only how to emulate others to one who is willing to admit that she has her own needs and ideas. The print version will be available in the U.S. this fall.-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.
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by Melina Marchetta
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by Linda Lael Miller
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by Lois Lowry
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"Francesca doesn't really need saving, even though it seems her life is going down the loo. With the help of loyal friends, Francesca copes with being one of 30 female students at St. Sebastian's (formerly, School for Boys), falling in love with one of the most irritatingly smug guys around, and dealing with her strong mother's sudden breakdown. Rebecca Macauley pauses often, allowing the listener to absorb the strong emotions Francesca experiences and to catch a breath after laughing hard at the situations she gets into. While it may take a bit to get used to the accent of this Australian import, the universal story of a young woman finding her way translates in all cultures. M.M.O. Winner of AUDIOFILE Earphones Award (c) AudioFile 2004, Portland, Maine"
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