As you read the reviews on Bookshop Talk, you'll notice that every review is positive. No, we're not a bunch of literary
pushovers who love everything we pick up; we just see no point in telling you about a book if we didn't like it.

March 10, 2011

THE PIPER'S SON by Melina Marchetta, 2011

The Piper's SonAward-winning author Melina Marchetta reopens the story of the group of friends from her acclaimed novel Saving Francesca - but five years have passed, and now it’s Thomas Mackee who needs saving. After his favorite uncle was blown to bits on his way to work in a foreign city, Tom watched his family implode. He quit school and turned his back on his music and everyone that mattered, including the girl he can’t forget. Shooting for oblivion, he’s hit rock bottom, forced to live with his single, pregnant aunt, work at the Union pub with his former friends, and reckon with his grieving, alcoholic father. Tom’s in no shape to mend what’s broken. But what if no one else is either? An unflinching look at family, forgiveness, and the fierce inner workings of love and friendship, The Piper’s Son redefines what it means to go home again. (Amazon)
Review by Alexa Barry

I was so excited when this book arrived and then I got nervous. Very, very nervous. I loved Saving Francesca (a companion novel that proceeded The Piper's Son) so much, and the end left all my beloved characters in such hopeful places. Although I longed to revisit them, I almost didn't want to see them struggling with new challenges.

When I finally opened it up, it was love at first sentence. I couldn't put it down. I was instantly drawn into the world of the Finch- Mackee family. Although this is Tom's story, he is very much a product of his family, even when they're split up and not speaking, they play a huge and important role in his life.  I really enjoyed the family dynamics. The Finch-Mackee's all have trouble with anger, addiction and showing their feelings. Melina shows how each generation affects the next, and the way your family shape you, even if you fight it.

As in 
Saving Francesca Tom's friends feature prominently. It was great to revisit Francesca, Will, Justine and that psycho Tara Finke. I loved their relationships, all the in jokes, affection and teasing. As with all Melina's books, the characterization is perfection. Everyone feels so real. They have complex lives, they have realistic conversations and reactions. They leapt off the page and into my heart. I cared so much what happened to everyone. I laughed with them, cried for them and almost stopped breathing at the end, I was so involved.

The Piper's Son deals with dark issues but hope, love, the importance of family, the joy of real friendship infuse the pages and there are always bright sparks even in the dark moments.

You really need to pick up this book. 

Market: Young Adult
Language: Moderate
Sensuality: Moderate
Violence: Moderate - reference to death in a bomb explosion and some punches thrown
Mature Themes: Death, addiction, relationships. This is one for older teens.

Book formats:
The Piper's Son

To learn more about the author, visit: Melina Marchetta


Laura Howard said...

I loved Jellicoe Road with a passion! I've got a copy of Saving Francesca just waiting to be read, but now that I know it's a two part deal, it's even more exciting.
As a somewhat unrelated question, have any of you ladies ever read Finnikin of the Rock by Melina?

Laura Howard said...

And by the way, I am going to post your little button on my blog, hopes that's cool with you all :)

Anonymous said...

I loved SAVING FRANCESCA! It was one of those books that you think about and think about for weeks after you've finished reading it. I can't believe I haven't read THE PIPER'S SON yet! Wonderful review, Alexa!

Laura: I loved FINNIKIN. Even though I haven't read all of Melina Marchetta's books (JELLICOE ROAD, for example, which I've heard so much good stuff about), I think she is an amazing writer. Also, thank you for posting one of our buttons on your blog! We love that!

Amy Finnegan {} said...

Yes, Laura, as Kim said, we're always thrilled when someone likes this site enough to tell their friends about it! Thanks!!

And Kim, I shoud've said this somewhere in the review: The Piper's Son was just released TODAY! :) So you're not behind at all - you're right on time, in fact.

Anonymous said...

Amy: Oh, good! I'm glad I'm not behind. :)

Laura (and everyone else!): Alexa, the woman who did this review, is currently in the process of moving back to the U.K. and just got her internet turned off today, so she asked me to let you know that she loved FINNIKIN. Also, you should know that Alexa has reviewed loads of Melina's books on her website, and has a very recent interview with Melina on the site, too. Her site is found at I love Alexa's reviews, and not just because she uses lots of British phrases. :)

Laura Howard said...

SOLD! I love British phrases.

pie said...

Melina Marchetta's books are among those (Eva Ibbottson, anyone?) that I know I won't be able to put down once I pick them up, even if it is after midnight and I have to go to work the next day. I've been not as excited about this one because I prefer books about girls, but I'll have to pick it up now.