Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Jellicoe Road (Melinda Marchetta)

Title: Jellicoe Road
Author: Melinda Marchetta
Publisher: HarperTeen
Length: 419 pages
Rating: 4.5/5

I usually challenge myself to write a summary that isn’t straight from the flap copy at the beginning of each post. But this book is tough- there is a lot going on…and the flap is so spot-on! But here goes…

Taylor Markham is haunted by the past. She was abandoned by her mother on Jellicoe Road when she was only eleven and has attended the boarding school there ever since. Now seventeen, she is the reluctant leader of her dorm and of the all-out war that takes place every year between the boarding school kids, the townies, and the cadets who camp out nearby. But while the war rages, Taylor’s past becomes more and more present, especially when the leader of the cadets is the brooding Johan Griggs, the boy she unsuccessfully ran away with to find her mother. And haunting Taylor at every turn are the lives of five kids who lived on Jellicoe Road eighteen years ago. Can Taylor put the pieces of her past together before she falls apart?

1.      I read this book in one sitting. Sat down, couldn’t put it down, and didn’t get back up until the final page.
2.      I almost cried several times. I did cry at least once. As I’ve said before, I want books that make me FEEL. This book did ten times over, and stuck with me after I turned the final page.
3.      Usually I don’t like reality. I don’t like being reminded that youth is fleeting and we’re not immortal. (This is why I like fantasy so much- it’s reality in an unreal setting.) But this book was real, and it was amazing. Real people, real problems, real emotions.
4.      Mystery, intrigue, a haunting past. Taylor is plagued by all of this. Sometimes she can’t handle people, she has too much to handle with just herself. I can relate.
5.      Not your typical love story. And yet, I read this book because someone suggested Jonah and Taylor as one of the best YA couples of all time. There’s a touch of destiny about everything in the book, including their relationship.
6.      The book takes place in Australia, which means all sorts of British-isms. After studying abroad in England, I’m a sucker for anything remotely British. And it’s nice to read a book not set in either a fantasy world or contemporary America.
7.      It’s a book about lifelong friends and what you would do for them, about the meaning of home, and about accepting the past into your future. Deep, real, and amazing.
8.      I’m still a little confused about certain aspects. So many interwoven storylines and characters. This book may require a second read sometime in the future. 

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