Melina Marchetta is one of the best consistently amazing authors that I've come across, and Saving Francesca is no exception to this statement! For no reason really, I kept putting off reading it. Then, in a reading trade I made with Ashley at Basically Amazing Books (an "if I read this, then you'll read this..." type deal), I finally picked my copy up.The characterization could not have been better. I became so emotionally involved in these characters, I even ended up practically crying at one point towards the end. Francesca, through a cruel twist of teenagery bad luck, gets stuck at a boarding school that is accepting girls for the first time. She really doesn't know all that many people, so the group of friends she ends up with is pretty much like her: made of other kids that find themselves without a group. The situations they find themselves in are constantly engaging and entertaining. Also at times either hilarious or poignant.Things at home aren't going very well either. Her mother is suddenly bedridden with intense depression - out of nowhere Francesca and her family have to learn how to cope with their new reality. Very very emotional story line here, as Francesca explores the feelings she had for her mother - both the before and after versions.So basically, this book is all about the characters. If you've read any of Melina's other books you know that this is where she excels. It is so easy to become invested in the lives of these people who are so realistically portrayed. You'll spend most of your reading time either laughing uproariously or having your heartstrings tugged at! Everyone from the seemingly immature Thomas to Francesca's love interest Will bring something different to the table. I'm really looking forward to moving on to the sequel/companion novel, Piper's Son, that features Thomas as the MC.So, whether or not you're already a Marchetta fan, this is a contemporary YA novel well worth reading. And if you do end up picking this up as your first of hers - I can promise you with absolute certainty that it won't be your last!