by Melina Marchetta
All her life, Francesca has had her mother to tell her what to do. And, while she thought her mother was a pain who was smothering her and never allowing her to do what she wanted, she never imagined how awful not having her mother would be.
It's not that her mother has died; it's that she's sunk into a serious depression.
Happy, in-control, play-a-song-to-start-the-day-mom has become trapped in her own sadness, under the blankets of her own bed.
Now Francesca must help her father take over the household chores that her mother always did. She must keep up her little brother's spirits so that he doesn't become to scared or sad. She must find a way to deal with starting her new term at a very recently, now formerly, all-boys school. She must figure out who her real friends are. And she must figure out how to deal with leader of her section who seems to see right through her façade and right into her soul.
(That last one probably wouldn't be too hard to figure out on her own if it wasn't for the fact that he has a girlfriend already even though he keeps finding excuses to kiss Fran.)
Can Francesca become the girl her mother's always wanted her to be without her mother there to guide her? And will that person ultimately be the person Francesca wants to be, too?
Final thoughts: This is an excellent book to share with older children who are dealing with depression, either their own or someone else's. Francesca's problems are real and realistically portrayed. She goes through ups and downs like anyone else caught in the middle of this type of thing and she struggles to figure out who to blame for what's going on.