Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Age Group: Young Adult
Length: 432 pages
"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.
Review: Jellicoe Road is a gorgeous book—after you get through the beginning of it. It does start off slow, with lots of plot threads that don’t seem to connect or look like they’re going anywhere. But after you get through the setup section, it gets amazing, and it’s definitely worth reading.
I loved the characters so much in this book. Marchetta does a fantastic job of introducing the main character and making her flawed—very flawed—but still likeable. And the other characters develop very well, too. They change in your eyes as they change in Taylor’s, which is difficult to accomplish but wonderful when done well.
One thing that really bothered me was the constant trips into back-story that didn’t make sense. Every chapter or so, there would be a portion of story that was meant to be from a “manuscript” that Taylor’s guardian was writing. Not only did you not really understand who the characters were for most of the book, they skipped around through time so I rarely even knew at what point in their lives they were. I know it was meant to be a mystery, but I just found myself skimming those sections to get back to the main story.
Apart from that, though, this book was excellent. It introduced me to some of present-day Australia, which was fun, and did so with well-written and believable characters.