Author: Melina Marchetta
Source: Library, Amy
Young Adult, Contemporary
At age eleven, Taylor Markham was abandoned by her mother. At fourteen, she ran away from boarding school, only to be tracked down and brought back by a mysterious stranger. Now seventeen, Taylor's the reluctant leader of her school's underground community, whose annual territory war with the Townies and visiting Cadets has just begun. This year, though, the Cadets are led by Jonah Griggs, and Taylor can't avoid his intense gaze for long. To make matters worse, Hannah, the one adult Taylor trusts, has disappeared. But if Taylor can piece together the clues Hannah left behind, the truth she uncovers might not just settle her past, but also change her future. (From GoodReads)
So I have to say that the blurb does the book absolutely no justice, and the thing about Jellicoe Road is that there really isn't a description that could.
Britney has been recommending this book to me for some time as it is her favorite book in the history of ever, and she got Amy to read it. Then I had the two of them telling me that I had to read it RIGHT NOW. They also gave me the warning I'm going to give to you: The first half of this books makes about zero sense.
Trust me, the way it all falls together is totally worth the confusion you'll feel at the beginning.
And the middle.
Melina Marchetta's writing is superb. Even when you have no idea what's going on, her writing is poignant and beautiful. Not many authors can make the jumping back and forth in time thing work, but she does it brilliantly. Her characters are real and raw and painful and human. While her writing is in fact lyrical and flowing, every part of the story is relevant, either to what's happening in the present or to what's happened in the past.
Taylor Markham is easily one of my favorite contemporary female leads. She is not easy to like. She is tough and complex and layered. She is unkind, except when she isn't. Life has dealt her a lot of blows and the way she responds to those blows and the way she reacts to the people in her life is very real.
There's so much you can't say about this book because it would spoil the whole thing, which is a testament to how tightly written the book is.
Jonah Griggs is amazing. He is completely flawed and his story is beautiful and heartbreaking. His interactions with Taylor are some of my favorites.
And there's Santangelo and Raffy and the Five and Ben...gosh this book is beautiful.
Here, I'll describe it like this.
Reading this book at the beginning is like having your nose pressed against the painting Reflections of Clouds on the Water by Monet. You see beautiful colors, but it doesn't make any sense because all you can see is the space right in front of you. So you read a little bit more, take a step back, look left and right and see a little bit more. It's still a little fuzzy, but it's still beautiful. You keep reading, take more steps back and you see more and more. By the end, you're able to see the whole picture and it's magnificent and breathtaking.
I won't lie, I didn't feel this way until over halfway through the book, around page 222, in fact. In talking to other people who have read it, they hit that "Oh. Oh I need to sit down for the rest of this" moment at different points. So just trust me. If you pick up this book and you're reading and reading and still have felt the magic, just wait. It'll happen.
Melina Marchetta is adapting Jellicoe Road for a film.
You can read more about how where they are in this process at her blog:
There were three parts where I cried and I can't tell you about any of them because again, spoilers, but I will give you my favorite line. It doesn't seem like much without context, but it will stay with me.
I remember love.
Up next, I'm reading Swim That Rock and On the Wrong Track.