Book Talk: The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta

Book Talk: The Piper’s Son by Melina MarchettaThe Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta
Published by Candlewick on March 2010
Genres: Contemporary YA
Also by this author: Jellicoe Road, Saving Francesca, Finnikin of the Rock, Froi of the Exiles // Quintana of Charyn
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library



Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”


The Piper’s Son takes place 5 years after Saving Francesca. It’s a companion novel but it can TOTALLY stand alone though I do think reading Saving Francesca is a GREAT idea anyways. It focuses on Thomas Mackee and his family who have endured a tragedy. This tragedy has ripped the family apart and Tom himself has quit all the things he loved and pushed everyone else away and is pretty much at an all time low. He’s forced to confront the brokenness when he gets kicked out of his apartment and has to live with his pregnant aunt and gets a job where a couple of his former friends work.



I’ve said it before in my Melina Marchetta reviews but I’ll say it again — there are books and there are Melina Marchetta books for me. I don’t know what energy of the universe she harnesses to write these amazingly perfect books that make you feel like you’ve never felt these feelings before but at the same time they resonate so, so deeply. I DON’T KNOW but, like always with her novels, I’m completely rendered speechless after reading The Piper’s Son and it just keeps simmering in my mind long after I finish.

1. I loved returning to Frankie and the gang: This takes place about 5 years after Saving Francesca and the main focus is on Tom’s life rather than Frankie’s. Some of the group is still around and some of them are off in different places. I loved the bits and pieces we got that filled in the pieces of what went down in those 5 years. Selfishly I wanted more to know every last detail of those 5 years but alas that would be a series now wouldn’t it? Tom has been outside of the group after losing his uncle Joe and has pushed them away and made some really bad decisions. I loved watching the group try to rally for Tom like they did Frankie in Saving Francesca but also show him tough love that he needed. This group has my heart!

2. I loved learning more about Tom Mackee: Oh my god I love him and I was always so curious about him in Saving Francesca as we got to know him. We learn of his romance with a familiar character from the group & we learn what he had been up to when the tragedy happened to his family. We see the effects of all that and how he’s given up everything that made Tom, well, Tom. I loved learning more about his family background and how he saw things from back in the Saving Francesca days and how he interacted with the others/saw the others. I fell in love with Thomas Mackee for sure even when he was unlikable and downright hard to deal with.

3. The brokenness of Tom and his family GUTTED me: The brokenness of Tom’s family was just so heavy on my heart the whole time I read. The tragedy that befalls Tom’s family is one that just collides with their world and shatters everything into a million places. I could feel the weight of this fractured family especially when juxtaposed with all these memories of the family BEFORE. They are THAT family that you wish you could be a part of. So close, so beautiful. I also loved that we got chapters from Tom’s aunt which filled in some of family history but also told of her pain and loss and how it still affects her.

4. I’ve read a lot of books dealing with grief but few come close to the layered and gut-wrenching grief in this book: The layers of grief in this book, man. My heart feels a bit differently after finishing this one because I feel like it was hammered and twisted and punted across a field. Grief is a really, really hard thing to explain, as someone who has grieved a devastating loss myself, but somehow Marchetta just nails it. Just brilliantly and right through the heart.


NADA. So close to a beyond loved but I’m so very stingy with that rating. It’s SO hovering right on that line.

Re-readability: Oh yes.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Of course.

a5people who read Saving Francesca, fans of Gayle Forman/Trish Doller/Cath Crowley, people looking for a great male POV, people who like books about family

a8The Piper’s Son is yet another Melina Marchetta masterpiece. A beautiful and gut-wrenching story of loss, the enduring bonds of family and friendship amidst tragedy and the kind of healing that can only come with the help of the ones we love. Thomas Mackee, you will not recede back into the pages of the book ever.


The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?


The Perpetual Page-Turner


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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. Ahhhh I LOVE Melina Marchetta books, and don’t know anyone else who’s read this one! I’m so glad you loved it – I agree, her books are just magic at getting to your soul. I wish she’d write another one with these characters, they’re my favourite of all that she’s written.

    • YES ME TOO. I seriously just want a never ending series with these characters FOREVER. A play by play of their lives. Someone told me that they HEARD that apparently there is going to be another one from Jimmy’s POV?!? I HOPE THIS IS TRUE!!!!

  2. Yes! I totally agree with everything you said about this book. My best friend and I read The Piper’s Son together and we could only read about 30 pages a day because it was SO GUT-WRENCHING. But in such a good way. Melina Marchetta is a goddess! I’m so happy you liked this one!!

  3. I actually just finished reading Saving Francesca last week! SF was seriously good, and even though it’s on the short side, it still had a pretty heavy emotional impact. I’ve been hearing that I need to read The Piper’s Son, and I definitely plan on it! Your review really makes me anticipate reading this one more than ever, since many of the points you included are things that I love in my contemporaries. Cannot wait to read another Marchetta, and to be reunited with the SF gang!

  4. It seems silly to say so since they’re the same “series” but this is definitely my second favorite Melina Marchetta book (with Saving Francesca as my top one–of course). *hearts to infinity*

  5. How is there a Marchetta book I’ve never heard of?! I finally got around to reading Saving Francesca the other week (seriously, it’s been on my tbr for about 10 years) and now I definitely need to get my hands on this one. I agree, Marchetta books are flawless.

  6. You’re exactly right; it’s not very common that an author can REALLY write about grief. This sounds like a good book, but I’m afraid it’s going to make me cry.

  7. I’m right there with you – Melina Marchetta is in a category all of her own. She’s just…. utterly brilliant. And her books devastate me at the same time as they fill me with hope. Thomas’ story was probably the hardest for me to read of hers – that boy broke my heart. But I loved seeing him heal and reconnect with the people who love and care about him. Glad you loved this one too, J!

  8. Yes, yes, YES! I read The Piper’s son my junior year of high school and I then I recently re-read it. It’s one of my favorites and Thomas Mackee is forever one of my favorite characters. I cannot wait for another Melina Marchetta contemporary.

  9. So, my very first author interview was with Melina Marchetta for this book ( I almost died! This book just broke me!