Thursday, January 5, 2012

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
HarperTeen, 419 pages

"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."

Admittedly, I heard about Melina Marchetta from a social networking site known as Tumblr. There was a quote from one of her other books, Saving Francesca, it said:

"I miss the Stella girls telling me what I am. That I’m sweet and placid and accommodating and loyal and nonthreatening and good to have around. And Mia. I want her to say, 'Frankie, you’re silly, you’re lazy, you’re talented, you’re passionate, you’re restrained, you’re blossoming, you’re contrary.' I want to be an adjective again. But I’m a noun. A nothing. A nobody. A no one."

This quote made me want to read one of Marchetta's books, and I had heard wonders about Jellicoe Road. I honestly hadn't a clue what it was about, just that it was amazing. And boy, were all those people so right. This is one of my new favorite books. The emotions it gave me were seriously intense.

The characters in this novel were truly the heart of it all. Taylor Markham is lost and upset and just wants to be loved. She wants to feel deserving and comforted by someone who cares for her the way she cares for others. Through all her flaws, she made me sympathetic for her. Taylor was such an incredibly developed character I couldn't help but love her. And Jonah Griggs. Man, oh man. He was one of my favorites too. His tragic past starts when he kills his own father. You'd think a person couldn't like a character that kills his own father, but I also grew sympathetic for him. I wanted the best for all these characters and I felt like I knew them or something. All the side characters had cool quirks or stories or something that made them all interesting in their own way. I love it when the characters aren't lacking in depth. When the author can create flawed, yet likeable characters, I instantly enjoy the story. And these characters develop throughout the book. They aren't the same at the end of the book compared to the beginning. Development is a make or break it deal with characters and Marchetta did so in the best way possible.

The writing is what blew me away. Marchetta's writing is so beautiful and stunning and poetic and it effortlessly carries the plot. Her descriptions of the Prayer Tree and the poppies and everything, I could picture the setting in my mind. Her writing struck me so hard that right after I finished, I already wanted to go back and re-read my favorite lines. It made me emotional, even. I just couldn't get over how beautiful it was.

When it came to the plot, again, Marchetta leaves me breathless. She seemingly intertwines different conflicts and weaves them together and it all makes so much sense that I almost don't even know what to make of it. The story had me crying like a baby and laughing too. I'm just at a loss for words for this book. I feel like I haven't read a book like this in a long time. Where it has me getting so emotional and attached to the characters. I ached for them every step of the way.

I will confess that when I started reading Jellicoe Road the plot sort of confused me with the Townies and Cadets and the snippets of Hannah's manuscript, but after I took everything in, probably about 100 pages, I was sold. If you love reading as much as I do, read this book now!! Seriously, this book is beautiful and poignant. A book I will re-read in the future. A book I will probably never forget.

Rating: 5 stars - I loved it! Buy a copy!


  1. I keep seeing this book at the library and debating whether to pick it up, but that's definitely a good recommendation, so I'll put at the top of my list! (:

  2. It was one of those books that made me wonder why I didn't read it a long time ago, but I'm so glad I did. It was definitely worth it. :)

  3. I love Finnikin of the Rock, also by Marchetta. This one sounds great too. I agree that Marchetta is a wonderful writer. Thanks for the review.