Official Review: The Rebirth of Francesca by Yoleen Valai

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Official Review: The Rebirth of Francesca by Yoleen Valai

Post by SPasciuti » 16 Jan 2018, 03:55

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Rebirth of Francesca" by Yoleen Valai.]
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2 out of 4 stars
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The Rebirth of Francesca by Yoleen Valai centers around a young girl as she struggles to deal with the death of her only friend, a boy called Gunther. As a result of this loss and the additional burden of a cruel, uncaring mother, Jacqueline, who sizes every chance to verbally abuse her, Francesca has fallen into a deep depression. The story begins as Jacqueline forces Francesca to join her and her boyfriend Massimo on a trip to Italy. Feeling that it would be a betrayal to her friend to take a trip to Italy now that he is gone, Francesca refuses to go and lashes out repeatedly at everyone around her.

While in Florence, Francesca stumbles upon an old book shop where she is given an old diary from the year 1459 that once belonged to a young artist called Rodolfo de Luca. As the story progresses, Francesca learns that she can speak with Rodolfo by writing in the diary and a friendship is quickly formed between them. Despite barriers of time, Francesca soon falls in love with the young man from the past.

The most intriguing piece of this novel was the premise itself. The idea of characters falling in love regardless of a six hundred year time difference is engaging and fun. The character of Rodolfo had an endearing quality to him and I enjoyed reading his introduction to the story. I also felt that the author wrote a perfect ending for her novel, as it left me with a certain feeling of excitement for a possible sequel. Unfortunately, this is where my enjoyment of the novel ended.

A great premise was lost largely in part due to the characters who, at every turn of the novel, were annoying and unrealistic. Their personalities often made little sense and appeared to exist solely to justify Francesca's actions or act as a convenient plot device. Though I was excited to read the tale of Francesca and her love across time, I found her incredibly hard to sympathize with. The author makes very obvious efforts to convince the reader to feel sorry for Francesca, but fails as she is often selfish and rude to everyone she meets. While I can understand this characterization to some degree, it ultimately made me feel a strong dislike for her.

I was often confused by the relationships between many of the characters, unable to understand why they put up with each other. I saw no redeeming qualities in Jacqueline whatsoever and could not understand why Massimo was dating her in the first place, let alone why he would attempt so determinedly to build a relationship with Francesca who was extremely hostile to him on more than one occasion. Jacqueline was regularly cruel to her daughter for almost no reason at all and never once displayed a single likable characteristic.

The character of Andreas also baffled me, existing as an anti-love interest for the main character. From the moment they met he developed an infatuation for Francesca that served only to allow her to use him for her own gains at every turn. I found this piece of the plot irritating, especially due to the fact that he was occasionally portrayed and referred to as creepy by the main character herself. The only character who felt real to me was Massimo's niece, Sylvia, who had a very minor role in the whole book.

There were a number of grammatical errors throughout the novel which I found distracting. Due to those errors and the lack of realistic characters, I am giving The Rebirth of Francesca 2 out of 4 stars. As this book is for YA audiences, I believe that some who enjoy this genre might enjoy this book as well. I would recommend this book specifically to those who are still in their teen years as I think they would enjoy reading it the most.

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The Rebirth of Francesca
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Post by Miriam Molina » 18 Jan 2018, 04:28

It must have been a chore attending to this rebirth, SPasciuti!

The characters Massimo and Andreas seem to be the ideal men whom every girl wishes for. Eternally patient and loving men are hard to find, especially as Jacqueline and Francesca seem to be most unworthy of such affections. No wonder you found the characters unrealistic!

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Post by kandscreeley » 18 Jan 2018, 08:19

Well, this premise is unique as you have stated. It kind of reminds me of the movie The Lake House. It's too bad the execution wasn't better. Perhaps with some reworking, this can become a truly great novel. Thanks for the introduction to it!
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Post by Sarah Tariq » 19 Jan 2018, 01:42

The character of Francisca is really sympathizing. The way, her cruel mother treats her and her resistance to set her own path makes this story intriguing and inspiring. I like your review.
Make your ideals high enough to inspire you and low enough to encourage you.

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Post by Joy2thenations » 19 Jan 2018, 02:28

kandscreeley wrote:
18 Jan 2018, 08:19
Well, this premise is unique as you have stated. It kind of reminds me of the movie The Lake House. It's too bad the execution wasn't better. Perhaps with some reworking, this can become a truly great novel. Thanks for the introduction to it!
Yes, much like the 2006 movie "The Lake House", the 1998 movie "Love Letter" based on the 1959 short story by Jack Finney and the 1980 movie "Somewhere in time."

I doubt I'll pick this one up to read. Sounds like it would be too annoying and somewhat predictable. Though I'm curious if you are familiar with these movies and if it runs a similar course. But I wouldn't want you to give away spoilers in case there are those who would choose to read the book after viewing this forum. Thanks for your review!

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Post by CommMayo » 19 Jan 2018, 17:07

I hate it when the authors creates characters that are annoying and unrealistic. It makes it really hard for me to get into the book and care about what is happening in it. Sounds like a cool premise even if it has been done before...

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Post by SPasciuti » 21 Jan 2018, 00:03

Miriam Molina wrote:
18 Jan 2018, 04:28
It must have been a chore attending to this rebirth, SPasciuti!

The characters Massimo and Andreas seem to be the ideal men whom every girl wishes for. Eternally patient and loving men are hard to find, especially as Jacqueline and Francesca seem to be most unworthy of such affections. No wonder you found the characters unrealistic!
Haha, right? I completely agree. I don’t know how either one of them put up with the girls in this book. It always felt like they were getting used at every turn. I certainly would’ve left pretty fast. Admittedly, Massimo fits the description a bit better than Andreas, but I also feel like the author tried really hard to make us dislike Andreas since he was presented as an anti-love interest.

Which is a shame. Cause he was a pretty interesting character.

Thanks for commenting!

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Post by SPasciuti » 21 Jan 2018, 00:05

kandscreeley wrote:
18 Jan 2018, 08:19
Well, this premise is unique as you have stated. It kind of reminds me of the movie The Lake House. It's too bad the execution wasn't better. Perhaps with some reworking, this can become a truly great novel. Thanks for the introduction to it!
Yes! Ironically that’s exactly why I chose to read this book. I love The Lake House so much. The book certainly had potential. I feel like it needed there to be something different with the mother and level of realism that came from the other characters.

I’ve always liked the idea of rewriting novels that are executed poorly simply because sometimes the author has great ideas and just needs to work on things a little more to get something really worthwhile out of their writing.

Thanks for leaving a comment!

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Post by SPasciuti » 21 Jan 2018, 00:08

Sarah Tariq wrote:
19 Jan 2018, 01:42
The character of Francisca is really sympathizing. The way, her cruel mother treats her and her resistance to set her own path makes this story intriguing and inspiring. I like your review.
Yeah, the book definitely has those elements within it. I wish Francesca had been a more likeable character in the end, though, since I hated how she acted toward others and how unabashedly she used Andreas, but I definitely see how there could be hints of something inspirational. Thanks for commenting!

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Post by SPasciuti » 21 Jan 2018, 00:11

Joy2thenations wrote:
19 Jan 2018, 02:28
kandscreeley wrote:
18 Jan 2018, 08:19
Well, this premise is unique as you have stated. It kind of reminds me of the movie The Lake House. It's too bad the execution wasn't better. Perhaps with some reworking, this can become a truly great novel. Thanks for the introduction to it!
Yes, much like the 2006 movie "The Lake House", the 1998 movie "Love Letter" based on the 1959 short story by Jack Finney and the 1980 movie "Somewhere in time."

I doubt I'll pick this one up to read. Sounds like it would be too annoying and somewhat predictable. Though I'm curious if you are familiar with these movies and if it runs a similar course. But I wouldn't want you to give away spoilers in case there are those who would choose to read the book after viewing this forum. Thanks for your review!
I don’t think it’s done nearly as well as The Lake House was. I’ve not come across any of the other ones you mentioned, though I’m now rather excited to read/watch them!

As for a comparison, I don’t think it really follows too similar of a path. There’s definitely a “finding” theme that is touched upon. The jury is out on the ending, though, since it was left on a cliffhanger in an attempt to prepare for a sequel, which we didn’t get with The Lake House.

And yeah. I think it’s hard to like Francesca and when it’s hard to like the main character, the book does feel somewhat annoying. Thanks for commenting!

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Post by SPasciuti » 21 Jan 2018, 00:13

CommMayo wrote:
19 Jan 2018, 17:07
I hate it when the authors creates characters that are annoying and unrealistic. It makes it really hard for me to get into the book and care about what is happening in it. Sounds like a cool premise even if it has been done before...
It’s an amazing premise, I think. I’ve enjoyed the ones I’ve come across immensely, which left me feeling really sad at how let down I was by this book. I’d definitely suggest not reading to anyone who can’t get past unrealistic characters. It’s just hard and ruins the premise, unfortunately. Thanks for commenting!

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Post by inaramid » 23 Jan 2018, 23:16

kandscreeley wrote:
18 Jan 2018, 08:19
Well, this premise is unique as you have stated. It kind of reminds me of the movie The Lake House. It's too bad the execution wasn't better. Perhaps with some reworking, this can become a truly great novel. Thanks for the introduction to it!
Agree. Lakehouse. I'm also just about finishing a book by Rainbow Rowell called Landline where characters talk to each other across time on some magical time-traveling/defying phone. I'm also reminded of Harry Potter's encounter with Tom Riddle's diary in the The Chamber of Secrets.

I don't think the premise is very original, but I love time-travel stories so much I would have read this still...if it weren't for the errors, of course. The lack of likable characters is also unfortunate, but I also see some potential in this book if it gets reworked.

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Post by SPasciuti » 25 Jan 2018, 16:49

inaramid wrote:
23 Jan 2018, 23:16
kandscreeley wrote:
18 Jan 2018, 08:19
Well, this premise is unique as you have stated. It kind of reminds me of the movie The Lake House. It's too bad the execution wasn't better. Perhaps with some reworking, this can become a truly great novel. Thanks for the introduction to it!
Agree. Lakehouse. I'm also just about finishing a book by Rainbow Rowell called Landline where characters talk to each other across time on some magical time-traveling/defying phone. I'm also reminded of Harry Potter's encounter with Tom Riddle's diary in the The Chamber of Secrets.

I don't think the premise is very original, but I love time-travel stories so much I would have read this still...if it weren't for the errors, of course. The lack of likable characters is also unfortunate, but I also see some potential in this book if it gets reworked.
I definitely see potential here. Unfortunately the character most in need of being reworked is probably Francesca herself. If a main character is impossible to like, it can be really hard to care about the book at all. Which is unfortunate, because I loved the premise. I feel like the mother could stay the same, potentially, if the author accounted for a more realistic reason as to why she's so awful and why her boyfriend stays with her. Thanks for commenting!

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Post by Cotwani » 29 Jan 2018, 16:20

I usually find it unfulfilling when the main characters in a story are irritating. From the title of the book, the author could have at least tried to have Francesca transform into a more likable character at some point. Great review!

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Post by Paul78 » 05 Feb 2018, 13:33

I think that a two-star rating means that the book has some serious flaws that need to be rectified. In a world where books are believed to be correct and then the teenagers come across a book with serious grammatical errors, the English teachers would be in serious problems. One of those nasty jobs that English teachers do, is the correction of errors in the reference and textbooks. What do you think would happen if this book is read by a teenager without the supervision?

Nevertheless, I have enjoyed reading your review. It has enlightened me on the plot of this book. The story seems to be a moving one.
An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.
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