Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Book Review: 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.

I’m really not a big fan of contemporary anything, but I do make exceptions for exceptional novels. And thankfully this most certainly fits into that category. It was a fresh, bittersweet, and most definitely exceptional novel.

For the first half of the book I felt a little lost, but that’s mostly my fault for being in the middle of 3 other books at the time. But by around page 200 things finally started making sense, and I quickly put together what had happen in the beginning. And then I got to enjoy the journey that Taylor and her friends get to go on.

I loved the flashbacks to the past. They added another layer of depth and helped to piece together the future of where things might lead. The plot was masterfully constructed. It wasn’t an insane, thrilling story. Just the simple story of a girl trying to discover her past. But it was so much more than that.

The different characters were all complex and interesting. I loved learning their backstories, especially Taylor’s. The things she goes through to full discover her past are remarkable.

The ending was heartbreaking and wonderful. Nothing horribly dramatic, but outstanding nonetheless. I very highly recommend this book to anyone who wants a touching and thoughtful story that will stay with them long after they finish it.

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