Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Review: Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta


Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: Hardcover
Released: August 26th, 2008
Grade rating: A+


Amazon summary:

Abandoned by her mother on Jellicoe Road when she was eleven, Taylor Markham, now seventeen, is finally being confronted with her past. But as the reluctant leader of her boarding school dorm, there isn't a lot of time for introspection. And while Hannah, the closest adult Taylor has to family, has disappeared, Jonah Griggs is back in town, moody stares and all. In this absorbing story by Melina Marchetta, nothing is as it seems and every clue leads to more questions as Taylor tries to work out the connection between her mother dumping her, Hannah finding her then and her sudden departure now, a mysterious stranger who once whispered something in her ear, a boy in her dreams, five kids who lived on Jellicoe Road eighteen years ago, and the maddening and magnetic Jonah Griggs, who knows her better than she thinks he does. If Taylor can put together the pieces of her past, she might just be able to change her future.

Review:

Jellicoe Road is incredible. I have no idea how Melina Marchetta wrote it, nor do I know how she managed to weave such an intricate tale spanning over 22 years. It's one of those books that refuses to let you go until you've reached the end, and it's a story that really does stay in your head for days. I loved it so much, I'm seriously considering reading it again.

The first 100-120 pages are pretty confusing. The past keeps appearing, people and places are alluded to, and nothing makes a lot of sense. After that, everything slowly starts slotting together, in what is possibly the best depiction of friendship I've ever come across. I can't really say anything else without giving something away, but here's a tip: read the prologue a couple of times, and read it carefully.

Marchetta talks about the Jellicoe Road like it's a character in itself, and it's just brilliant. If I could zap myself to that road right now, I would. I want to experience the Australian beauty she describes in such detail, and whether it's a real road or not, I want to go there. As you've probably guessed, the novel is primarily character-driven, and that's why I loved it so much. I haven't liked a group of people so much in ages, and their realism astounded me. The original 5 - Webb, Narnie, Tate, Jude and Fitz - are off-the-chart awesome, and their friendship is so inspiring. It's how every friendship should be and, although the circumstances in which they meet aren't favourable, it's the catalyst for a bond that will last a lifetime.

In the present, Taylor Markham and Jonah Griggs are the main protagonists, along with Santangelo, Raffy, a mysterious Brigadier and numerous other classmates. They're all in the middle of a turf war between the boarders, the townies and the cadets, which is a tradition that has been taking place for years. The turf war is a fantastic plot, and that alone would have made this book amazing. I could talk for hours and hours about these characters, so I'll just say that Taylor is one heck of a leading lady, and Jonah Griggs is now one of my top YA boys. *swoon*

The way Jellicoe Road unfolds is nothing short of genius, and it's a book that is guaranteed to leave you in tears. I know this review explains nothing, and doesn't tell you why it's an absolute must-read, but if I said anything else, it would ruin it. You need to approach it knowing nothing more than the summary, then you too can experience all the OMG moments that I did. Fellow YA fans, you NEED to read this book. You'll fall in love with it, I promise.

24 comments:

Lenore said...

Thanks to you and Adele, I might just have to buy this one next time I go on a buying spree.

Swimmer said...

Thanks it is my birthday soon so I'll see if I can add it to my TBR list!

Adele said...

YAY! My job is done as official Jellicoe pimp :)

Lauren said...

Great review! I tried to read this one last year but couldn't get into it (probably because I found it to be a bit confusing in the beginning). Though, now with read your review, I think I'm definitely going to give it a second try. :)

Lori said...

Great review!! I agree with everything you said. It was a bit confusing in the beginning but when it picks up I was hooked!! Happy you enjoyed it!

Kate Evangelista said...

You know what, I've been noticing many books with the word "Road" in the title nowadays. The story seems interesting. Great review!

So Many Books, So Little Time said...

Fantastic review, Jenny! I think I've got to read this. I can't escape it any longer! :)

Sasha said...

This sounds like such a great book :) I can tell how much you loved it!! Thanks for the fab review x

Fantastic Book Review said...

Great Review Jenny! I loved this book! It's a must read!

Kate at Read This Book! said...

YAY for Jellicoe Road. We need to form a Jonah Griggs fan club, hee hee. ;]

Bookalicious Ramblings said...

Wow, what a great review! You got me really intrigued and I'll definitely read this book now!

Shweta said...

I am an huge fan of Melina Marchetta's Looking For Alibrandi and can't wait to read this book.

LovesSam said...

I am so incredibly excited that you loved this book and that you listened to incessant demands. This is such an amazing review and you really did the book justice. Your making me want to get it off my shelf now and re-read it. I second that everyone should read this book, it totally just blows you away. Amazing doesnt quite cover it.

The Library Lurker said...

I'm reading this now! I'm only somewhere around page 60, so I'm still in the confusing stage, but I'm definitely going to keep going. Great review!

Lauren said...

This sounds so good, especially since you're actually *promising* we'll love it! I just read Saving Francesca by this author, and I loved that one, so I'll definitely be getting a copy of this too. I don't think I've read a bad review of it actually.

Rhiana said...

Wow, this sounds a must read! Immediatly added to wish list! Thanks for the great review!

Janssen said...

This book is so so so good. I loved every second of it.

kate.o.d said...

oh lordy the first time i read this (my mama bear sent it to me when i was nannying in france 2006 - i'm so glad it's found its way out of australia!) i cried and cried and reread it multiple times. i also laughed and gasped. marchetta really outdid herself. love.

Clover said...

This one looks really good. It's been on my wishlist for AGES. Must get to it.

Sab H. said...

Probably one of my all-time favorites!!! Isn't it AWESOME!? and Fantastic review as always.. :D

Anonymous said...

I agree, this book was amazing, i had no idea what exactly happened until the end, and then i felt a complete moment of 'oh' and than had to read the last chapter again. A wonderful book that keeps you guessing, i couldn't put it down! I loved this book! I would recommend this book to anyone, as a matter of fact, id recommend any of melina marchettas books! I also love her book, finikin of the rock =D

Jess :)

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Elleira said...

I read Looking for Alibrandi when I was a tween and I thought it was OK. After hearing friends rave over Jellicoe Road I decided I had to read it too, but I gave up because of the confusing beginning. Nothing made sense and I suppose I just prefer stories where they grip onto you and you just need to know more, from the outset to the very end.

Maybe I'll give it another chance one day.
My outlook on the best book is one that engages me from the very beginning to the very end, leaving me craving more and making me think about it for days after.

Anonymous said...

I'll have to get into this book again. I didnt like it becase of the beginning but I'll have to read it again. :) thanks for the review!