Why is it that I've liked every book that I've read by an Australian? Is it because the junk gets weeded out before getting all the way over here? (Or am I being completely biased because I've adored Paul Kelly since I was in high school?)
It has components that would make you think that this is going to be a typical teen angst book (Francesca goes to an almost all-boys Catholic school where she has no friends, has a extremely outgoing (and somewhat overbearing) mother who up until very recently pretty much ran the family but now is extremely depressed and can't even get it together to get out of bed), but it isn't a typical teen angst book. Francesca even addresses it:
There are thirty of us girls at Sebastian's and I want so much not to do the teenage angst thing, but I have to tell you that I hate the life that, according to my mother, I'm not actually having.
Her way of getting through school (and life) is this:
My theory is to lay low, and my reluctance to get involved has nothing to do with fear or shyness, contrary to popular perception. I have this belief that people hate change and, more than anything, they hate those who try to change things. I might not be interested in being the most popular group in the world, but I'm less interested in being the outcast. Anyway, my being political would make Mia [her mother] happy and I wouldn't want that. She thinks she knows who I am because she thinks who I am is who she tells me I am.That passage is only from page thirteen, so as you might imagine, things change. A lot. Not only is Francesca a great character, but the other kids at school—especially Thomas Mackee (the musical burper) and Jimmy Hailler (bully, but of a different sort than most)—are wonderful. I LOVED them. But I also loved all of the other characters that I don't have time to mention.
So, here I am, bossing people again. Read this book. I mean this for everybody, but I do think that Lauren might especially like it. So get moving.