Jellicoe Road

Jellicoe Road

by Melina Marchetta


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"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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061431852
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/09/2010
Pages: 419
Sales rank: 138,590
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)
Lexile: 820L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Melina Marchetta lives in Sydney. She is also the author of the award-winning novels Saving Francesca, Looking For Alibrandi, and Finnikin of the Rock. Looking For Alibrandi was released as a major Australian film.

Read an Excerpt

Jellicoe Road

By Melina Marchetta
Copyright © 2008

Melina Marchetta
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-06-143183-8

Chapter One - twenty-two years later -

I'm dreaming of the boy in the tree and at the exact moment I'm about to hear the answer that I've been waiting for, the flashlights yank me out of what could have been one of those perfect moments of clarity people talk about for the rest of their lives. If I was prone to dramatics, I could imagine my sighs would have been heard from the boundaries of the school to the town down below.

The question begs to be asked, "Why the flashlights?" Turning on the light next to my bed would have been much less conspicuous and dramatic. But if there is something I have learned in the past five years, it's that melodrama plays a special part in the lives of those at the Jellicoe School. So while the mouths of the year twelves move and their hands threaten, I think back to my dream of the boy, because in it I find solace. I like that word. I'm going to make it my word of the year. There is just something about that boy that makes me feel like I belong. Belong. Long to be. Weird word, but semantics aside, it is up there with solace.

Somewhere in that hazy world of neither here nor there, I'll be hanging off that tree, legs hooked over the branch, hands splayed, grabbing at air that is intoxicating and perfumed with the sweet smell of oak. Next to me, always, is that boy. I don't know his name, and I don't know why he comes calling, but he is there every time, playing the same music on one of those Discmans for tapes from the eighties, a song about flame trees and long-time feelings of friends left behind. The boy lets me join in and I sing the same line each time. His eyes are always watery at that point and it stirs a nostalgia in me that I have no reason to own, but it makes me ache all the same. We never quite get to the end of the song and each time I wake, I remind myself to ask him about those last few bars. But somehow I always forget.

I tell him stories. Lots of them. About the Jellicoe School students and the Townies and the Cadets from a school in Sydney. I tell him about the war between all three of us for territory. And I tell him about Hannah, who lives in the unfinished house by the river at the edge of the Jellicoe School, and of the manuscript of hers I've read, with its car wreck. Hannah, who is too young to be hiding away from the world and too smart to be merely organizing weekend passes for the kids in my dorm. Hannah, who thinks she has me all worked out. I tell him of the time when I was fourteen, just after the Hermit whispered something in my ear and then shot himself, when I went in search of my mother, but got only halfway there. I tell him that I blame the Cadet for that.

The boy in the tree sobs uncontrollably when I tell him about the Hermit and my mother, yet his eyes light up each time I mention Hannah. And every single time he asks, "Taylor, what about the Brigadier who came searching for you that day? Whatever became of him?" I try to explain that the Brigadier is of no importance to my story, that the Brigadier was just some top brass, high up in the army, who had been invited to train the cadets that year, but the boy always shakes his head as if he knows better.

And there are times, like this time, when he leans forward to remind me of what the Hermit had whispered. He leans so far forward that I catch his scent of tea-tree and sandalwood and I strain my ears to listen so I will never forget. I strain my ears, needing to remember because somehow, for reasons I don't know, what he says will answer everything. He leans forward, and in my ear he whispers ...

"It's time!" I hesitate for a moment or two, just in case the dream is still floating around and I can slip back into it for that crucial moment. But the flashlights hurt my eyes and when I'm able to push them away I can see the ignorant impatience in the faces of the year twelves.

"If you want us to scare you, Taylor Markham, we'll scare you." I climb out of bed and pull on my jumper and boots and grab my inhaler. "You're wearing flannelette," I remind them flatly. "How scared should I be?"

They walk me down the corridor, past the senior rooms. I see the other year-eleven girls, my classmates, standing at their door, watching me. Some, like Raffaela, try to catch my eye, but I don't allow it to hold. Raffaela makes me feel sentimental and there is no place in my life for sentimentality. But for just one moment I think of those first nights in the dorm five years ago, when Raffaela and I lay side by side and she listened to a tale that I have no memory of today about my life in the city. I'll always remember the look of horror on her face. "Taylor Markham," she had said, "I'm going to say a prayer for you." And although I wanted to mock her and explain I didn't believe in anything or anyone, I realized that no one had ever prayed for me before. So I let her.

I follow the seniors down two flights of stairs to a window that is supposedly the least conspicuous one in the House. I have actually mastered the climb down from my own window but have never dared to tell anyone. It gives me more freedom and means that I don't have to explain my every move to the year-seven spies in the dorm. I started off as one of those. They hand-pick you young out here.

A thorn presses into my foot through the soft fabric of my boot and I let it for a moment, pausing until they push me forward. I walk ahead, allowing them to play out their roles.


Excerpted from Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta Copyright © 2008 by Melina Marchetta. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Jellicoe Road 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 240 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Taylor Markam was abandoned by her mother at a 7-Eleven on Jellicoe Road when she was a mere eleven years old. Only moments later a woman by the name of Hannah picked her up and brought her to the Jellicoe School. Now she is seventeen and finds that Hannah is a rock in her inconsistent life. While she has Hannah, Taylor doesn't know much about her family except the horror stories she remembers of her mother.

She does find comfort, though, in a manuscript that Hannah has written about a group of five friends who met in the worst circumstances, but developed a remarkable friendship when they only had each other. When Hannah just up and leaves, Taylor doesn't understand what has happened and she becomes a wreck. Not only does she have to deal with Hannah's disappearance, but she has just been named the head of her House and the leader of the school kids in the annual territory wars against the "Townies" and "Cadets."

In the war, the three groups battle and negotiate, following an extensive set of rules that might as well be history. As the war wages on, Taylor learns to take an active role in her community, as well as develop relationships that she never thought possible. Especially with Jonah Griggs, the leader of the Cadets, whom she already has quite a history with.

This war will be like no other. It will not only be between the normal three parties, but among friends, hearts desires, and, most of all, Taylor herself.

From the title I was expecting a light and fun read. Wow, was I wrong! This book is filled with heartbreak, joy, laughter, and sorrow. It completely blew me away and surpassed every expectation I had, even though I was expecting something completely different.

Before I even get into the elements of the story I have to comment on how much talent the author has. Melina Marhetta's writing style is indescribable. It seemed that she was so comfortable writing the story and her words just flowed from page to page with great clarity. I loved how the author weaved many intricate details and mini-stories into one big story, making it like a puzzle that slowly comes together until those last couple of pieces just fall into place.

The only miff I had with this book is that it took me probably until the third chapter to actually understand what was going on. In the beginning, there were two stories and it was hard to wrap my head around everything that was happening. After that, though, it seemed the author settled into writing and the story took off.

Taylor, without a doubt, is one of the best characters that I think has ever been created. She has this true voice where you can hear and feel her emotions ring out. By the time the book had ended I felt like I knew Taylor like I know my best friends. While Taylor was the main character, the author did a fabulous job creating the other characters, too. Unlike many supporting characters in books, the characters in JELLICOE ROAD all had their own voices and became their own people, with real and likable personalities.

I highly recommend this book to readers everywhere. Whether you're a girl or a guy, you will treasure this novel and hold it near and dear to your heart for a long time to come. JELLICOE ROAD is a beautiful love story, a heart-wrenching story of loss, a poignant self-discovery, and, most of all, an unforgettable tale.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Entirely too many plot spoilers here giving away too much of the story line, one of which even gives away the ending. Bn, please put a stop to the plot spoilers. Limit the amount of space so they cannot rewrite the book in the reviee section.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's heartbreaking and beautiful, and the moment you finish you'll want to pick it up and start again because it will all come together. Two profound stories seemlessly woven together. If you only read one book for the rest of your life, let it be this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was spectacular. The writing style was absolutely beautiful - Marchetta is a master at weaving stories together. The characters were all well-written and had lots of depth, and it was so fun to read about the relationships that developed between them all. The mystery was interesting and the story itself was bittersweet, and fit perfectly with the rest of the book. I cannot recommend this highly enough!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The beginning was very hard to understand. I wanted to stick with it, just to finish the book. However, it got more interesting around the middle. Very hard to get there though.
AnthonetteLoraine More than 1 year ago
This book was absolutely amazing. Though it may have been confusing in the beginning, you start piecing it all together and understanding it more towards the middle and the end.
sandyemerson More than 1 year ago
Oh dear, I'm going against a fan favorite here. I'd heard nothing, but good things about this book, so I thought why not give it a go. I don't know what to say about this book that doesn't give away the fact that I'm just not swept up in this book as everyone else seemed to be. The sad thing is I think I should have been. The novel is about a girl who hunts for her mom and the truth after being abandoned when she was younger, but there's also underground school war games, romance and friendship. Sounds great, doesn't it? But, to me, it was just 'meh'. There is nothing obvious about the book that I should feel this way. Melina Marchetta wrote a wonderful novel. The plot is sound, the characters - Taylor and Jonah are great. It's not even the scene sequences as I have read the 'Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern' and I absolutely loved it. I guess I'm just one of those readers who has to connect with the main character right from the very start and it has to have a great hook in the first chapter and, to me, it just wasn't there. Instead. there was utter confusion, and the feeling that I had somehow started reading it halfway through the book. To be honest, the first half of the book was so boring that I almost gave up reading it. It was the second half of the book that redeemed the book from having the lowest rating.
Sarah7498 More than 1 year ago
Taylor Markham was a really interesting character; she has a true voice and I really felt for her. I was so eager to find out about her past, and future. Five kids from the pasts' story enter-lace with Taylor's, starting with the boy in her dreams; and the tension between her and Jonah was incredible and excited me every time he came in. When I finished this book, I found that I was seriously in love with it. Whenever I'm asked, "What's your favorite book?" I have a hard time answering, but Jellicoe Road is definitely it. I don't think any other book in the whole world has had me this addicted. I read the whole thing in one day, stopping only to eat and use the restroom. The emotion, the characters, the plot...everything was amazing. So many people say they couldn't fully like a book because it was sad, but I sobbed at the end of this one and still LOVED it. This book also has one of my favorite quotes: "Hold my hand, hold my hand because I might disappear."
Angieville More than 1 year ago
I picked JELLICOE ROAD up as a result of the fact that it came away with the Printz Award this year. It is Australian Melina Marchetta's third book and the first of hers I've read. A fault that will have to be remedied quickly as I absolutely loved this knotty, painful, beautiful book. Taylor Markham is head of her house at the Jellicoe School--a backwoods boarding school located somewhere in Australia. Abandoned by her mother at a 7-Eleven on the Jellicoe Road, Taylor was taken in by a mysterious woman named Hannah and installed at the school. Now eighteen, Taylor is embroiled in turf wars between the Jellicoe students, the Townies, and the Cadets. But when Hannah up and leaves without a word, Taylor is convinced it has something to do with her mother and with a horrific accident that happened on the Jellicoe Road twenty-two years before. Past and present become harder to discern as the story unfolds. Simultaneously obsessed with and terrified of finding out what happened and just how closely it is tied to her own fragmented life, Taylor is forced to form alliances with the leaders of her rival gangs, including Cadet leader Jonah Griggs with whom she shares a confusing and painful history. This story grabbed me by the throat and shook me until I begged for mercy. Parts of it read almost stream of consciousness and you have to just let it wash over you as characters and histories distill and become clearer on the page and in your mind at about the same pace they do for Taylor herself. And by the time the wars really begin, you are so invested it's impossible to extricate yourself from the world Marchetta has created. Fortunately you don't want to. I was charmed by the dust and heat of the Australian summer, the layered language with its overtones of fear and longing, and the periodic chapters detailing the story of five children who were determined to survive after the world ended. This book will both stop your heart and then remind you how to breathe again. It's gorgeous and deserves every accolade it gets.
book_worm127 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Jellicoe Road is probably the most original book that I've ever read. I've never read a book where I had no clue what was going on but still had to read it. I've never read a book that makes me care so much about five characters who are barely in the book. I've never read a book that makes me think so much trying to piece things together. I've never read a book like this one, and I loved every minute of it.Don't be discouraged if you're a hundred pages into it and you still have no idea what's going on. It'll come. One thing that confused me was that the narrator in the prologue, is not the same person as the narrator of chapter one. Also, the prologue is important, so pay attention. Go back and read it once you have more of a handle on things.Taylor (Hey, that's me!) was a really complex character. She had so many emotions and she knew what they were, most of the time. She had trouble knowing how she felt about people. She's good at making connections too. Her relationship with Jonah Griggs is odd, but works so well.The territory wars are hard to understand, but really fun to read about once you do. They're kinda like a life size version of monopoly, with certain people owning certain places.This book is really beautiful, and heartbreaking, and wonderful. And the ending. Oh the ending... If everyone reads this, I will be happy.
pru-lennon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
a beautiful book that had me in tears by the end. taylor markham is a girl who constantly tries to keep people at a distant but only because she so desperately wants to be close to them. searching for her mother who abandoned her at the age of 11 brings her more in the way of family and friendship than she could have ever imagined. to me, there was not one corny part to this book. nothing felt sappy about it and the dialogue didn't feel book-y instead of real life-y. marchetta's writing is sometimes heady in that way that i love. this is definitely one to re-read.
gglpolk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read half way through this book and got very bored if u like mystery-ish, then this is the book for you!!! but there were very little exciting parts to me but some people may like it but i didnt like it very much!
elissajanine on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book in a sort of...oh-no-this-book-is-going-to-crush-me-emotionally kind of way. To be fair, it lets you know right from the first sentence that this will be the case. What I loved about the book--the elaborate territory wars and their evolution as the characters formed relationships--also how this was reflected back and forth between the two stories. It was lovely, and it resulted in one of those settings that transports you as a reader, right there to Jellicoe Road. I felt like I, too, was spying on the whole place from the top of the Prayer Tree. I liked the way the manuscript was woven into the regular narrative, and I thought Taylor's character was very easy to relate to. The beginning was a bit tough because of all the secrets and names and such, but I personally found the whole territory wars backdrop intriguing enough to stick it out, and I soon figured out the secrets that Taylor was seeking. I'm very wary of books that make me weep, and this one did, multiple times, but I still came away with a very satisfied, resolved feeling at the end, which is important. I will certainly read more from this author.
crochetbunnii on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book follows the life of Taylor Lily Markham, a resident student at Jellicoe School in the bush outside of Sydney. The school consists mainly of children of the state and Taylor definitely has her own abandonment issues. Her mother left her at a 7-11 near the school when she was 11 years old. Taylor was found and looked after by a woman living near to the school and who volunteers at the school, Hannah. Hannah and Taylor have a strained relationship and Taylor slowly learns more about Hannah's past through a manuscript Hannah is writing about five children that grew up on Jellicoe Road some twenty years earlier: brother and sister, Webb and Narnie, Webb's girlfriend, Tate, a "Townie" Fitz (who saved Webb, Narnie and Tate's lives when they were involved in a car wreck on Jellicoe Road) and a Cadet, Jude. Jellicoe School is involved in a territory war against the Townies and Cadets -a military group who does training in the bush for a few weeks every year. Taylor learns how this rivalry began and learns more about herself and her relation to the history of Jellicoe Road. Taylor spends most of the book feeling isolated and alone, but gradually learns how interconnected and dependent she is on others, and how they depend on her.Mild sex and language.
Bogle3 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Jellicoe Road is about a girl named Taylor Markham, she is 17 and was abandoned by her mother six years earlier. In this book, she goes on a journey looking to find her mother with the help of Jonas Griggs. Taylor trusts only one adult, Hannah, and she has disappeared. Taylor slowly begins to unveil the mystery of who she is and the accident that happened long ago on Jellicoe Road.I would use this book in a young adult classroom. I would because teachers could make a connection to never giving up on something you feel so strongly about. Taylor felt strongly about finding out who she was, and she did not give up on finding it. Another connection a teacher could make with this book is the setting. The setting is in Australia. The teacher could talk about Australia and the many things it holds down there.I liked this book, but it was very hard for me to get into. It was definitely not one of my favorite books to read. On a scale of 1-10 I give this book a 5. It was just a tough book to get into.
trueturquoise on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wow, I think I just found my new favorite author. This book rocks. It's absolutely amazing and sucks you in so fast just to find out what in the world is going on. The love story is wonderful as well! Yay! Just loved it!
deb_bryan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Jellicoe Road documents a seventeen-year-old orphan's discovery of who she is via her journey to find out where she came from.A friend recommended this book to me, despite its being "written in a weird way." That "weird way" made it difficult for me to get through the first half of the book, but the story itself was intriguing enough that I kept going.The story unfolds a little slowly for my liking. It's only in its last quarter that the book becomes too captivating to set down. In the last eighth, it becomes such a compelling, beautiful tale of forgiveness and love, you forgive it for--like many things in life worth waiting for--taking so long to get where it's going.
lifeafterjane on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
So many books don't live up to the hype but I don't think anyone can deny the perfection of this book. I don't think most people even know what to say or remember how to speak after reading it. So you were all right. It is that good. The story starts out with an accident that happened years ago. It's part of an unfinished book that Taylor Markham is reading. Taylor is an orphaned, permanent resident of a boarding school on the Jellicoe Road and the book is a work in progress of Hannah's, the woman who has helped raise her. As Taylor's story is being told, Taylor herself is reading a story set in her own school over eighteen years ago. The Jellicoe boarding school residents, the local kids (Townies) and the boys of a neighboring military school (Cadets) are engaged in a mock war against each other. The surrounding territory is divided up into zones and for years the three factions have been fueding over territory. Though it's all basically just a game, it is a long standing tradition and everyone must play it. Taylor is the school's newest leader, and it is her job to help organize acts of subterfuge against the opposition to gain "territory" and strength. As she is playing the game, she is also reading about the game as it was played eighteen years ago by the children in Hannah's story. Taylor doesn't remember much before she was taken in by Hannah and the school. With a vague recollection of her past, a present tangled in the make believe of a mock war and a future that is still undecided, Hannah is the only permanent, real thing in Taylor's life. But she leaves unexpectedly, leaving Taylor and the story behind. As the game goes on, more of Taylor's past is revealed, and the people in Hannah's story prove to be more than fiction. With so many stories being told, I can admit that I was a bit confused at first but I had to keep reading. I had to know what happened! The mystery and suspense was killing me but I didn't get to learn anything until Taylor herself learned it. It's such a marvelous puzzle. I was forced to take my time and be patient since I wouldn't be allowed to see the big picture until Taylor saw it herself. It completely binds the reader to the story, and you can't not read it. I felt that as Taylor's story grew, I was growing along with it. Very rarely do I finish a book and immediately want to reread it. Most of the time I need a break from the story when it's over but I didn't want to give this one up. I suspect that each reread (and there will be many) will reveal something new. While it wasn't a sad story, some of the things that happened were. You're involved with not only Taylor but with the five children who survived the accident in Hannah's story which gets a little heavy. It wasn't until the very end that I fully understood what had happened. That epilogue just about killed me and I bawled like a baby. The writing was outstanding and I loved that the characters were real. They didn't feel contrived or written as one would think a teenager would act or speak. She didn't try to stereotype them; she just let them be. I don't want my YA stories to read like they were written by adults trying to see things from a younger person's perspective, nor do I want to feel like I'm reading a kid's story. I want them to simply read and tell the story. Marchetta's writing makes sure that nothing stands in the way of that. If it's good, you shouldn't be able to make any distinction as to what genre it fits in. A good book is a good book. I can easily dub this book as the best one I've read this year and the book I've had the hardest time breaking away from. If you haven't read it, well, you just have to.
jacindahinten on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I admit I had absolutely no clue what was going on for the first 50-100 pages. I wasn¿t clueless enough to put Jellicoe Road down, but I was curious enough to want to keep on reading. I had to go on and figure out where Melina Marchetta was going with all of this, because I obviously had no clue.Melina Marchetta, from what I¿ve already read from her, has a way of turning a young adult novel about a character into being more than just about that one character. She brings adult characters into the storyline who still need to grow, change, and learn. They aren¿t just someone¿s parents or disciplinarians or elders in her books, but people with problems, in many ways, similar to a teenager. You almost can forget Jellicoe is a young adult book because it isn¿t based on high school specific problems.Once you start to understand the story and pieces of the puzzle come together, I felt myself wanting to rush to see everything fall into place. Make sure if you pick up Jellicoe Road, don¿t let the initial confusion confuse you to the point of setting it down, everything will make sense!Romance is a big factor to me in many books I read; sometimes I find myself reading books just for the romance. Jellicoe Road of course had the romance in it I needed, but it wasn¿t the only part of the story I wanted to read. Melina Marchetta has a way of writing her stories that make you forget (almost) about the romance between characters. She adds other points to the plot that give the story more depth.Jellicoe Road is a book anyone of any age can enjoy and I would recommend to anyone.
sroslund on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Taylor Markham is in a war. The school, townies, and cadets are fighting for local territory and things are getting bloody. When Taylor¿s favorite teacher goes missing, she begins to wonder if everything is more than it seems ¿ is Hannah¿s disappearance somehow connected to all the other people gone missing in Sydney? Does this all have something to do with Taylor¿s strange and checkered past? Printz-winning Melina Marchetta¿s ¿Jellicoe Road¿ tries to answer these questions while following Australian youth into the outback, but it never seems to make it back and leaves readers wondering, ¿Why the award?¿ The language is naive and juvenile and the books narrator, Taylor, can¿t seem to drop the dripping sentimentality: ¿[referring to a kid looking at a tree with multiple carvings on the trunk] I wonder if he sees the blood of someone who cut themselves while carving out their soul,¿ and ¿My insides are in a million pieces and I feel like someone out of one of those tragic war movies.¿ Similar affects can be found two to a page in this book. Too many characters, plot arcs, and tragedies crowd in to this story, making it an eye-roller of a read. Teen readers will be frustrated at the over-blown, too-good-to-be-true nature of some of the characters and the martyrdom of others. Overall, a big (400-page) miss. Plot refers to teen sex, drug use, pedophilia and murder. Recommended (sort of) for ages 14-16.
allureofbooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta is one hard book to review, folks. I read it for the first time a couple of years ago and just recently read it again because I couldn¿t quite help myself. I¿m happy to say that absolutely nothing was lost in the reread. The emotional intensity and deeply felt sense of loss remained the same despite the fact that I know how the story weaves itself together.I know a lot of people who haven¿t read the book get frustrated because all the reviews they read are so vague and mysterious. All I have to say to that is: Welcome to Jellicoe Road. The mystery that unfolds inside this story is incredibly deep and personal.I don¿t really even know how to write a review without being ridiculously intense about the whole thing. I also feel like I should dig out a thesaurus so I don¿t throw around the words ¿intense,¿ ¿powerful¿ and ¿emotional¿ too often. Because let me tell you, the book is all of those things.When you start reading the stories of the present day Taylor Markham along with the mysterious past narrations woven together by five friends ¿ you¿ll start out confused. Then, around half-way you¿ll think ¿oh, I¿ve got this figured out.¿ And sure, some of the pieces are easy to connect. But don¿t think that doesn¿t mean the story is without twists and turns ¿ because you¿re wrong. Also, don¿t think that knowing how some of the pieces fit mean you won¿t feel anything when the book finally brings them together. Because you¿ll be wrong then too. No matter what you think you know, I can promise you at some point you will be affected. Heart broken. Mind blown.Also, no matter how many times it gets said, it deserves to be said again: Jonah Griggs is pretty much a god. He does have imperfections which are nicely highlighted, but it just makes him seem more real. Even though I normally scoff when high school aged relationships get too intense, I can say with no hesitation whatsoever that this is an exception.I would give a lot to see a sequel with these characters, but their story has been told. I don¿t feel that there were any loose ends or pieces left unfinished. Darn shame. After creating these beautiful characters for us, the least Melina Marchetta could have done was give us a little more time with them.This book is definitely an experience y¿all, and I could probably go on about it forever. If you haven¿t read it ¿ make time to do so. Feel free to thank me afterwards!
LauraLulu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"What¿s the difference between a trip and a journey?"This book is a journey.Let me preempt by saying that I will not do this book justice with my review. I had read other reviews before starting this, so I didn't have a problem with being slightly lost in the beginning--I was expecting it, so it was much smoother sailing for me, I was prepared to have some confusion and a ton of unanswered questions at the beginning, knowing that it would all be worth it in the end.And man, was it worth it--this book was so worth the small investment of my time to see where the author was taking us on this journey, and that's exactly what it was--a beautiful journey through heart wrenching sadness and heartwarming joy. Not a little quick trip of a book that I'll forget about as quickly as I got into it, but one that will stay with me. And all the mystery & slow build up only added to the resonance of it when we finally got answers.Read this book. Now. Today. You will thank me later. :)
connlibrary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This multi-layered book was recently awarded the 2009 Michael L. Printz Award for good reason. Taylor Markham was abandoned by her mother at a Seven-Eleven. The woman (Hannah) who picked her up and took her to the Jellicoe School is the only adult in her life that has stayed by her side. Taylor¿s world is turned upside down when Hannah leaves with no word. She¿s also been charged with leading the Jellicoe students in the territory wars between the ¿Cadets¿ and ¿Townies.¿ To make matters worse, the leader of the Cadets is someone who betrayed her in the past. One of the Townies knows more about her history than she does. Bit by bit, Taylor begins to learn about her past, her parents, Hannah, and others who have come in to her life. My only problem with the book is that it¿s written by an Australian author and the spelling of many common words is different than the U.S. spellings. I kept thinking the editor didn¿t do his/her job! But, if you can get past that, Marchetta spins an exciting tale that¿s hard to put down. As with any good young adult book, the teens are involved in typical teen behavior. . . .running off, breaking the rules, and having sex. This would make a great addition to any public or school library for an older, young adult reader.
lawral on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. I cannot possibly write a rational and unbiased review of it, but I'll try. Kind of.There are a lot of things going on in this book, and, for a while, you just kind of have to take it on faith that it will all make sense in the end. Taylor, our heroine, is named the leader of the students of Jellicoe School, against the wishes of just about every other Head of House in her year, for the purpose of territory wars with the Townies and the (visiting) Cadets. She has recurring dreams about a boy in a tree that sometimes leave her crying in her sleep. Her best friend Raffy has some kind of veiled past relationship with the leader of the Townies. Taylor herself has a past relationship, which she wishes were a bit more veiled, with the leader of the Cadets. Taylor's friend/mentor/resident-adult up and leaves with no warning, and we are treated to portions of her manuscript which feature the story of five kids from about 20 years ago. One is a Townie, one is a Cadet and the remaining three are students at Jellicoe school, one of whom likes to hang out in a tree. As you can probably see, everything is connected, as much as Taylor wants to keep everything nice and compartmentalized, and even though hardly any of it makes sense on its own, let alone all together. Marchetta drops you right into the lives of these kids, giving you only the information you need (and sometimes not even that, I thought) to keep going. Eventually, though, it all starts to fall together. There is no aha-moment of clarity (or at least there wasn't for me). I just realized, at some point, that not only did I understand the intricacies of what was going on, but I cared deeply about the people to whom this was all happening.The strength of Jellicoe Road is the characters and their revelations, not those of the reader, and that is a hard thing to pull off. There is some mystery built into the story, which I solved before Taylor or the other characters did. Normally, I am the person who flips ahead just to see how long it takes the characters to figure out what I already have, and I'm always annoyed when it takes them eons. That was not the case here. Even though I was pretty sure I knew all about who those five kids were twenty years ago and all about Taylor and Raffy's former relationships with the boys, I still felt their pain, amazement, shock, and fear as they figured things out for themselves. I loved these characters. Taylor is so tough and yet so vulnerable at the same time, and Raffy is her perfect compliment, in the way that your best friend in any boarding school (or dorm or first roommate) situation should be. Their friendship reminded me SO MUCH of my freshman year of college, the wonderful women I lived with, and how we all thought we learned to be self-sufficient but because we did it together we really depended on each other for love and support. Their relationships with the guys were equally authentic. They were full of history, hurt feelings and attraction that in no way featured in their former relationships. And while I know nothing about what it is to be a high school guy and make friends with other high school guys, the relationship between Jonah and Chaz (Taylor and Raf's guys, respectively) also felt very real to me.And the whole thing is just so beautifully written. That's what made me keep reading in the beginning when I didn't feel like I knew what was going on, and that's what made me cry (like whoa) towards the end when everything finally came together and got to be okay. I cannot recommend it enough.I know I haven't written a review so much as some kind of testament to the everyone-should-read-it-because-it-was-SO-GOOD feeling, but everyone should so I'm okay with it.Book source: Philly Free Library
4sarad on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really loved this book. I don't know if I have ever read a YA book that stars adults almost as much as it does teens. There is a lot going on in this book, and I can understand how some readers get a little confused. There are a lot of characters and it takes place both now and in the past through the help of a manuscript left by one of the adults. I can't even say how much I enjoyed the book and how touching it was. I will run out and buy it ASAP.