Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Author: Melina Marchetta
Publisher: Penguin Australia
For teenage girls everywhere Melina Marchetta’s Saving Francesca was like reading your own diary. Inside the pages of the novel were the romances you never had, the friends you always wanted and the family you grew up with. Which is why Marchetta’s latest novel will be a reunion of sorts.
The book The Piper’s Son takes us back to our favourite family of characters from Saving Francesca through Thomas Mackee- a side character who was left at the end of the previous novel as a 17 year old in high school. It’s five years later and, far from content, Thomas is falling apart. After he is kicked out by his flat mates, Thomas goes to live with his single, pregnant aunt Georgie and tries to forget his absent parents and a conveyor belt of one night stands.
He also gets a job at the Union pub and it is here that he reunites with his school friends- Francesca, Siobhan, Justine and yes, Tara with whom he shared a very young romance with until he left her two years ago, after his uncle’s death in the London bombings.
The themes in The Piper’s Son are much the same as in its predecessor: friendship and family as a means of healing. But like her original fan base Marchetta’s cast of characters are now a little bit older, their lives a little bit more gritty and their problems a little more complex. It’s a novel that manages to grow while remaining nostalgic. After all, there is something comforting about returning to your favourite characters after such a long period of time. Something a little bit like coming back home.