Publisher: Candlewick Press
Release Date: March 8, 2011
Source of my copy: publisher
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Melina Marchetta's brilliant, heart-wrenching new novel takes up the story of the group of friends from her best-selling, much-loved book Saving Francesca - only this time it's five years later and Thomas Mackee is the one who needs saving.
Thomas Mackee wants oblivion. Wants to forget parents who leave and friends he used to care about and a string of one-night stands, and favourite uncles being blown to smithereens on their way to work on the other side of the world.
But when his flatmates turn him out of the house, Tom moves in with his single, pregnant aunt, Georgie. And starts working at the Union pub with his former friends. And winds up living with his grieving father again. And remembers how he abandoned Tara Finke two years ago, after his uncle's death.
And in a year when everything's broken, Tom realises that his family and friends need him to help put the pieces back together as much as he needs them.
My first reaction after reading this book was WOW! I laughed, I cried--I was an emotional wreak afterward and days later I'm still absorbing everything that happened in The Piper's Son. Then, I tried writing my review of this book and I couldn't. And I still can't because I feel like nothing I write feels adequate in describing how phenomenal this book it. But here I go...
Before I begin my ramble about how incredible this book is, I'll say right off the bat that I give this book 5 out of 5 stars; I would give it more if I could. After reading Jellicoe Road and Saving Francesca, I had very high expectations for The Piper's Son but it more than met my expectations. The Piper's Son is set five years after Saving Francesca and features many of the same characters. Tom Mackee takes center stage in this book and the blurb does a good job describing his story without giving too much. However, what the blurb doesn't tell you is that Tom is just half of the book. The other half of the novel is his aunt Georgie's story. There's a lot of drama and history in the Mackee/Finch family and everyone is dealing with their own guilt, sadness and heartache. Everyone was flawed and broken and you just feel for them. This should have been a depressing book with all the drama going on but it's not. There's a ton of humor too and I found myself smiling or laughing out loud many times, as well as poignant moments that made me melt that balances everything out.
I felt for all the characters, connected with all of them--not just the main characters, all the secondary characters too. Not many books can do that to me and I applaud Ms. Marchetta. She is an extraordinary writer, everything I've read by her is an experience. Georgie's story and what she was going through--I felt for her and wanted her to have her own happy ending. I fell in love with Tom and I rooted for him and Tara to work out. If you read Saving Francesca and you're wondering about Frankie and Will Trombal, you'll get a glimpse of how they're doing as well as the rest of the gang from St. Sebastian's, except for Jimmy Hailler (no one seems to know where he is so I'm crossing my fingers he'll get his own book and we'll get to revisit everyone again).
The Piper's Son is a companion book to Saving Francesca--and I call it "companion" instead of a sequel because TPS can be read as standalone. Nevertheless, I think reading SF makes it a more meaningful read because you'll be already familiar with many of the characters. You're going to want to read SF anyway because it's another WOW of a book but dare I say it... I think TPS might be slightly better. And this is saying a lot because SF was fantastic and an all-time favorite novel of mine. Okay, I've rambled on and gushed enough. But I hope all this makes sense and convinces you to pick up this novel (or any Melina Marchetta book though I can only speak for Jellicoe Road, Saving Francesca and The Piper's Son because I haven't read Looking for Alibrandi or Finnikin of the Rock). But to sum everything up: The Piper's Son is beyond amazing. You must read it.