July 25, 2011

Review- Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta


Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Publisher: Harper Teen

Released on August 26, 2008

"What do you want from me?" he asks. What I want from every person in my life, I want to tell him. More.

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. (From Harper Teen)

When I started reading Jellicoe Road I was a bit confused, I didn’t know what was going on and felt like I had started reading a book right in the middle of it, like the story was halfway being told already and I was having a really hard time getting into it. I kept telling my friend that something must be wrong with me because everyone seemed to say how amazing Jellicoe Road was and she just told me to keep going that I would eventually get it. I’m very thankful that I didn’t give up on it because Jellicoe Road was amazing just like everyone else said,once I came to understand what was really going on I became deeply engrossed in it.

They synopsis is not lying when it says “nothing is as it seems”, there’s a lot going on in this story, the kids in the town divide places and make treaties of who owns what between the cadets that come every semester, the townies, and the students from the boarding school that have just assigned Taylor as their leader. This is one of the things that I was terribly confused about at the beginning of the story because it seems to be taken so serious at first, eventually I understood that it was more of a tradition that had been started years before. There was also little breaks in between the paragraphs that tell the story of five kids a long time before Taylor was born, at first I thought they were dreams but it soon becomes clear that they are parts of a story written by Hannah, Taylor’s guardian and the person that’s taken care of her since her mother abandoned her when she was eleven. Those were the main things that confused me at the beginning of the book, there’s so many little details and flashbacks, a lot of different things that are going on and it’s all connected somehow but you really don’t find out how until closer to the end. 

I loved Melina’s writing, once I was deeply into the story I couldn’t put it down and it really made up for all that time that I was confused, it became easier to read once I understood more of what was going on and I was able to focus more on the beauty of it and the characters. Her writing was beautiful and vibrant, I felt that I was able to easily visualize everything that was going on like if I was watching a movie, it was richly detailed that I could imagine and feel the warmth of the air, the places, the sun, the smells, everything.  The characters really grow throughout the novel and they are easy to relate to and become emotionally connected with,  I loved every single one of them even with all of their flaws. Jonah and Taylor are amazing together, they couldn’t have made a more perfect couple, they are both broken from their childhood but they are brave and strong and help each other endlessly throughout the novel. The characters all had plenty of differences but added so much to the story that made it perfect, without even one of them it wouldn’t have been the same. The ending when it all comes out you realize how everything just ends the way it’s suppose to, how everything makes sense and even while I was sobbing at the end I wouldn’t have changed a thing about it. The confusion at the beginning was worth it because I ended up loving it so much that I was holding it tightly to my chest when I was done with it. I can honestly say that I don’t think I’ve read anything like Jellicoe Road before, it was painfully beautiful and emotional, I really didn’t want to let go of it and wanted to dive right back in when I finished it. I wanted to savor every single word all over again. Melina’s writing definitely left a mark on me, I’ve become a new fan and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of her novels which I heard are just as amazing.


Sarah Andersen said...

You're the second person who has highly recommended reading this one. I have it in my classroom, so I'll have to drive up and get my copy to read :)

My Bookshelf said...

Terrific review! I wonder if you would re-read it. I'd be interested to know if the story flowed better in the beginning once one has an understanding of the novel.

Sophie Riggsby said...

I just downloaded this. I've read so many wonderful reviews that now I feel I must read it. Thank you for your review; it made me get the book.

We Heart YA said...

Oh, thanks for telling us that if you stick with it, it starts to come together, because we flipped through the first couple pages at a the library, and we felt similarly ... ungrounded. Now we know to try again and really give it time to develop! Thanks for the review. :)

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