But the book that has had the most personal impact for me is this book:
Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta. I think EVERY YA contemp fan has read this book, but in case you haven't, here's the summary for you:
MOST OF MY friends now go to Pius Senior College, but my mother wouldn’t allow it because she says the girls there leave with limited options and she didn’t bring me up to have limitations placed upon me. If you know my mother, you’ll sense there’s an irony there, based on the fact that she is the Queen of the Limitation Placers in my life.
Francesca battles her mother, Mia, constantly over what’s best for her. All Francesca wants is her old friends and her old school, but instead Mia sends her to St. Sebastian’s, an all-boys’ school that has just opened its doors to girls. Now Francesca’s surrounded by hundreds of boys, with only a few other girls for company. All of them weirdos—or worse.
Then one day, Mia is too depressed to get out of bed. One day turns into months, and as her family begins to fall apart, Francesca realizes that without her mother’s high spirits, she hardly knows who she is. But she doesn’t yet realize that she’s more like Mia than she thinks. With a little unlikely help from St. Sebastian’s, she just might be able to save her family, her friends, and—especially—herself.
So why did I pick this book? Well, I first read it back in 2005, at which point I was 15/16 and my mother was struggling with quite severe depression. She'd just recently had a hospital admission which lasted several months following a suicide attempt. This was the latest in a long battle with the illness, and at that point in my life, I really didn't understand depression. I thought my mother was being selfish, cruel, even, for inflicting herself on the rest of my family. I cut myself off emotionally from her, and as a result from everything else in my life. I told myself that I didn't respect a woman who clearly had such little respect for me, my siblings and her own life. And then I found this book. A book in which a teenage girl, of a similar age to me, was dealing with problems similar to mine. HER mother had depression, she didn't understand it, either. She was angry, and confused, and frustrated--just like me. It completely changed my outlook and my attitude towards depression. It dealt with my own fears that I too, would suffer at the hands of the same disease that debilitated my mother. It taught me that there was hope, that I could be happy, and that life could actually be okay. And for that, I will always be eternally grateful both to this book and to Melina for writing such a poignant and appropriate novel.
Gosh, okay, after that...how about something fun? To commemorate the books we all are thankful for, Beth Revis is doing a super cool and ultra-amazing giveaway of NINETEEN fantastic books.
So, you should head over to her blog to find out how you can enter this giveaway, but also how you can share the book you're most thankful for as well.