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You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend. ~ Paul Sweeney

Monday, August 2, 2010

Review: Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta


"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.


I had heard a lot of good things about Jellicoe Road before I decided to finally read it. Usually, I judge a book by the first line. If it hooks me, then there is a chance I might like the book. If it doesn't hook me, then I won't waste my money on the book unless someone I know reads it and says it was good.

My father took one hundred and thirty-two minutes to die.

This is how Jellicoe Road begins. So many questions swirled around in my head when I read that line, and I knew that I had to know more about this character. So, I was pretty excited when I got this book for Christmas.

The beginning was a little slow and confusing. But I was intrigued by the idea of Houses and leaders and this "territory war" that seemed to be taking place. Although from the book description, I knew it was a boarding school, it seemed like something more. Like this story took place in a distant future.

As I started to learn more about Taylor, I fell in love with her. She has a distinctive, original voice, that is loud in my ears. I laughed at some parts. I cried at most parts. Mainly because I could relate to her feeling of being abandoned. Of not knowing who her father is. Of not knowing where she belonged.

One thing I liked about Taylor was that she wasn't a weak character, but she was definitely vulnerable. I think there should be more characters like her in YA, because often writers tend to portray girl characters as damsels in distress and Taylor isn't a damsel in distress. She's so much more than that.

As I said, the beginning starts off really slow and as you're reading you won't find out the big picture until the book is over, until you read the last page. Jellicoe Road is a mystery with many different nooks and crannies and doors you need to unlock yourself.

And then there's Jonah. Rough on the outside, but inside he's just like any other guy. He has a lot of emotional baggage, and he tries desperately to hide his feelings but sometimes it doesn't work out. I seriously have a crush on this character. He makes being a Cadet HOT. Seriously.

But Jellicoe Road is not just a love story. It's not even just Taylor's story. It's a story about how this 'war' was started. It's a story about how one must know their past before they can understand their present and realize their future. It's a story about broken hearts and death and seeing through walls that have been up for a long time.

I can't explain to you how beautiful, how heart-breaking, how touching this book is. I really can't. When I finished reading Jellicoe Road tears were streaming down my face, because this book was just that good.

I'm not even going to rate this book because it would pointless. This book goes beyond any rating system out there and ... JUST READ THE BOOK.

I promise you that you'll love it as much as I did.

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