Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Title: Jellicoe Road
Author: Melina Marchetta
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: August 26, 2008
Pages: 419
Source: Audiobook, Purchased

Summary from Goodreads:
I'm dreaming of the boy in the tree. I tell him stories. About the Jellicoe School and the Townies and the Cadets from a school in Sydney. I tell him about the war between us for territory. And I tell him about Hannah, who lives in the unfinished house by the river. Hannah, who is too young to be hiding away from the world. Hannah, who found me on the Jellicoe Road six years ago.

Taylor is leader of the boarders at the Jellicoe School. She has to keep the upper hand in the territory wars and deal with Jonah Griggs - the enigmatic leader of the cadets, and someone she thought she would never see again.

And now Hannah, the person Taylor had come to rely on, has disappeared. Taylor's only clue is a manuscript about five kids who lived in Jellicoe eighteen years ago. She needs to find out more, but this means confronting her own story, making sense of her strange, recurring dream, and finding her mother - who abandoned her on the Jellicoe Road.

This was a complicated book. So complicated, in fact, that I think I would benefit from reading it again, maybe even more than once. But it was absolutely lovely, absolutely unique, and absolutely a must read.

Since this book already has so many positive reviews, I am just going to talk about what I liked.

What I Liked

Part of what makes this story so unique is the mystery in it. Taylor's dreams, Hannah's manuscript, the clues all around the town - all tie together to tell a brilliant, if not, heartbreaking tale spanning 18 years on the Jellicoe Road. Every little detail in this story has a purpose. And in the end, that purpose is clear. It all pieces together so well that it is a little awe-inspiring.

To build off of that, I loved the small town vibe. It was like every person, place and thing had its own history, own story to tell. And in some small way or other everyone and everything was connected.

I really liked Taylor and I admired that she was unapologetically herself - flaws and all. She didn't care what anyone thought of her and she didn't let anything or anyone define her. Maybe she could be a little selfish at times, but she was honest and great.

I enjoyed the romance between Jonah and Taylor. They were good for each other. They understood each other. It was sweet.

Really, all of the relationships in this story warmed my heart. Lots of love all around.

The territory wars between the Jellicoe School, Townies and Cadets was so much fun, albeit a little scary at times. But it provoked mostly excitement and laughs.

The writing was beautiful. Occasionally you find those books and you can tell that every word was carefully chosen, deliberate, and meaningful. This was one of those books. I think Melina Marchetta has a true gift for words. The story just flowed seamlessly and effortlessly.

What I Didn't

I didn't dislike anything, but this book was a little difficult to listen to on audio because I couldn't easily go back and reference an earlier part in the story, or reread something a second time around.  I struggled in the beginning to keep all of the people separate and I am not sure if I missed any connections as the book progressed. There was a lot to keep track of.  

Bottom Line

This is one heck of a story. It is interesting and emotional and impeccably told. Truthfully, you could never go wrong reading a book by Melina Marchetta, no matter the genre. I highly recommend this one among other contemporaries.

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