|Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Published by HarperTeen
Publish Date: September 1, 2008
My Source: Gifted/Won from
Jacinda, The Reading Housewives of Indiana
“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. -(summary from Goodreads.com)
My Thoughts: I chose Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta as one of my choices for the 2011 Award Winning Reads Challenge because of the RAVING reviews I’ve heard, seen, and read from some other trusted bloggers in the past few months. I had heard Melina Marchetta’s name on many blogsites, but I had never read any of her books before, so this seemed like a perfect chance for me to become acquainted. Well, let me just say…WOW.
I have thought on this book for a couple of days since I have read it and I have come to this conclusion: I do not really know how to share adequate thoughts on it for a couple of reasons. First of all the plot is so complex it would be way to complicated to try and type out without giving away spoilers. Secondly, and probably most importantly, I don’t really know how to use a short blog post as a medium for a description of this book like it truly deserves. That would be unfair to the author and unfair to the integrity of the story. So, if you read this you will just have to trust me when I say this–
I started reading this story after promising that I would finish it no matter what. Anytime someone asks me that, my curiosity is automatically at a high point and I’m wondering what I have gotten myself into! But I never felt–at any time–like I did not want to finish Jellicoe Road. I will admit, in the first few chapters, I was completely confused…but I think it took that long for the story to lay the foundation of its structure. Once I got a few chapters in, I was hooked.
There were so many characters to keep up with in this story, and I really loved them all. I had favorites: The Hermit and Jonah Griggs. In this book, I would have loved to know more about The Hermit-his thoughts, his strengths and weakness, and his inner turmoil. He played such a large part in Taylor’s life, and one of the only things I would change about this book is that I would put a little more of him in there. Jonah Griggs could have a volume of fiction all to himself. (Can we get a Jellicoe Road #2, Ms. Marchetta??) He is incredibly complex as a character, and it would be very interesting to have his point of view on the events of this book.
I was extremely invested in these characters…all of them. I laughed with them, I felt fear for and with them, I cried for and with them. When they were devastated at more than one instance, so was I. I got chills at more than one place in this book. This book wrecked me. But it felt wonderful. It felt so incredible to know the people in this book that well…in their good times and bad times, in their happy times and sad times. I feel like they are a part of me, and I feel like Jellicoe School is a part of me. Writer John Kieran once said, “I am a part of all I have read.” This book is a perfect example of that.
My first experience with Melina Marchetta was exhausting, but it was exhilarating. For an author to make me feel absolutely every single emotion possible in a span of 400+ pages of a beautiful book, with every character in that book…I’m an instant fan. Marchetta’s imagery was exquisite and I’m pretty sure I could draw a map of Jellicoe School and its surrounding area, which I love.
I absolutely and completely understand why this book was an award-winner. It is incredible. From one reader to another, you just need to trust my recommendation if you love a complex story with raw emotion. If that sounds like you, then I recommend this book to you. But stick with it and read it all the way through. This is not a light and easy, fresh and breezy book. But it is SO WORTH the time you will invest in it.
Jellicoe Road is the recipient of the 2009 Michael L. Printz Award.