Skip to main content

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Okay. We'll start with Jellicoe Road because it's the one I read first. I picked it up as a result of Trisha's glowing, cryptic in a good way review and the fact that it came away with the Printz Award this year. It is Australian Melina Marchetta's third book and the first of hers I've read. A fault that will have to be remedied quickly as I absolutely loved this knotty, painful, beautiful book. 

Taylor Markham is head of her house at the Jellicoe School--a backwoods boarding school located somewhere in Australia. Abandoned by her mother at a 7-Eleven on the Jellicoe Road, Taylor was taken in by a mysterious woman named Hannah and installed at the school. Now eighteen, Taylor is embroiled in turf wars between the Jellicoe students, the Townies, and the Cadets. But when Hannah up and leaves without a word, Taylor is convinced it has something to do with her mother and with a horrific accident that happened on the Jellicoe Road twenty-two years before. Past and present become harder to discern as the story unfolds. Simultaneously obsessed with and terrified of finding out what happened and just how closely it is tied to her own fragmented life, Taylor is forced to form alliances with the leaders of her rival gangs, including Cadet leader Jonah Griggs with whom she shares a confusing and painful history. 

This story grabbed me by the throat and shook me until I begged for mercy. Parts of it read almost stream of consciousness and you have to just let it wash over you as characters and histories distill and become clearer on the page and in your mind at about the same pace they do for Taylor herself. And by the time the wars really begin, you are so invested it's impossible to extricate yourself from the world Marchetta has created. Fortunately you don't want to. I was charmed by the dust and heat of the Australian summer, the layered language with its overtones of fear and longing, and the periodic chapters detailing the story of five children who were determined to survive after the world ended. This book will both stop your heart and then remind you how to breathe again. It's gorgeous and deserves every accolades it gets.

Comments

  1. I'm just reading this right now and I'm REALLY enjoying it. A little slow in the beginning, but it got better fast.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous1:38 PM

    I fell absolutely in love with this book. And definitely do read Marchetta's others - they're all wonderful.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Janssen, it gets SO good. Somehow it managed to make me feel like I was both creeping and rushing headlong toward the conclusion.

    Biblauragraphy, I picked up Saving Francesca at the library the other day and hope to get to it soon!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous3:46 PM

    I really liked Marchetta's first two novels Looking for Alibrandi and Saving Francesca. I didn't know she had written more! I will definitely be picking this up.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hope you enjoy it, Emily. I'll be looking for those first two!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Anonymous5:37 PM

    I'm jealous. You managed to summarize the book concisely without giving too much away. Whereas I didn't mention plot at all because I couldn't figure out how to do the story justice while trying to convey that, no, really, my love for Jellicoe Road is not entirely irrational. HarperTeen should hire you to redo their cover copy for the book. :)
    Such a good way to put it.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anonymous5:39 PM

    Oops, I was referring to this part as being especially well-phrased:

    Parts of it read almost stream of consciousness and you have to just let it wash over you as characters and histories distill and become clearer on the page and in your mind at about the same pace they do for Taylor herself.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Trisha, *blush*. Thank you! Your review really did the trick, though, as I had to go out and get it despite knowing very little of what it was about. And I'm so glad I got to go into it with no preconceptions whatsoever. So thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Such a great review. I read this book in January (and just reviewed it at my blog) mostly because of your wonderful review, as I do not generally read YA contemporary.
    So, thank you thank you. I loved it so much.

    I should probably also thank you, because your wonderful blog gave me the inspiration to start my own :)

    I hope you have a wonderful day!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I love your review! Here's mine if you don't mind: http://lorxiebookreviews.blogspot.com/2012/09/jellicoe-road-by-melina-marchetta.html

    Thanks and have a nice day! =D

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

You Might Also Like

Bibliocrack Review | Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater

I haven't wanted to talk about this. With  anyone.  But I think I probably need to. That like Georgina, I need to use my words to break the curse. I think that like Sam, I need to believe in my cure. So I'm going to talk about it here, and maybe you can help. Since pandemic type things got real in my neck of the woods, I haven't been able to read. I haven't been able to  reread . This has (and I am not exaggerating) never happened to me before  in my life.  I know it happens frequently to most everyone. And I have certainly always been a mood reader. It's not in any way uncommon for me to drift from book to book, from shelf to shelf in my library, until I land upon the right thing. But that drifting tends to occur over the course of a few hours. Not ever does it occur over the course of a few days or, God forbid, weeks.  I feel like I'm losing my mind. And, yes, I am fully aware of where this problem likely rates on the triviality scale in the current scheme of

Review | The Unselected Journals of Emma M. Lion, Vols. 1 & 2 by Beth Brower

I feel a bit giddy finally talking to you all about this series. If you'll remember, I fell madly in love with The Q  when it came out a few years ago. Now, Beth Brower is writing The Unselected Journals of Emma M. Lion — a series of novellas set in London in 1883. Each volume is an excerpt from the incorrigible Emma's journals, and the first two volumes are already available with the third on the way soon. I think they'd make rather perfect pandemic reading. Humorous and charming down to their bones, they're just what the doctor ordered to lift your spirits in this uncertain time that just proves to be too much some days. If you're experiencing one of those days, I suggest giving Volume 1   a go (it's only 99 cents on Kindle, $4.99 for a trade paperback copy). It will surprise exactly none of you that I own print and digital editions of both volumes.  Miss Emma M. Lion has waited long enough. Come hell or high water (and really, given her track record,  both a

Bibliocrack Review | Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell

Since I thought I'd start with the two most egregious reviewing gaps, you get Wayward Son next. I hope this is agreeable to all and sundry. And let's just agree not to pull any punches, shall we? I'll start by admitting that this book wrecked my life. To be clear, I am not complaining. It's just that it had been a long time, yeah? A long time since  Carry On came out. Just such a very long time since I'd been in the company of these two. And their crew. And I thought I was ready. Don't I always? Must remember to learn from past mistakes. But more than that, I wasn't thinking about the fact that of course Rainbow Rowell would create nothing less than the sequel that would naturally follow the events at the end of Carry On. Which is to say a sequel that would hurt . Because everything about what happened to Simon Snow from the beginning of his life to his graduation from Watford was designed to damage. With the shining exceptions of Penny and Baz. And so th