Title: Jellicoe Road
Author: Melina Marchetta
# Of Pages: 432
Publication Date: August 26, 2008
Level: Young Adult
Rating: 4 Hearts
"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’ve never been so glad that I stuck with a book than I am with this one. I absolutely hated the beginning and didn’t think I was going to finish, but boy am I glad I did.
The book starts out very cumbersome, introducing at least twelve characters within the first twenty pages or so. It was hard to keep everyone straight, especially with everyone being divided into either townies, cadets, or students at Jellicoe High.
Another thing I really disliked was how the territory wars weren’t explained until halfway through. The book dives right into these “wars” right at the beginning and I couldn’t figure out if they were real and it was some sort of dystopian age or if it was some big game that has spiraled way out of control. Once we find out, it made so much more sense, I only wish it was explained a lot sooner. I would like to tell you so that you’re not frustrated like I was but I don’t think I should spoil it, I don’t think we’re meant to know until later.
I honestly thought I would give up on this book, but once things started to get explained better I was totally hooked, reading almost the entire book during an eight-hour shift at work (it was slow that day.)
There are two main story lines going on, Taylor’s life as it’s happening and Hannah’s manuscript as it’s being read by Taylor. There are a lot of other smaller story lines going on, but I promise they all connect in some way or another at the end.
The character development is what really made this book for me. Taylor, Griggs, Raffy, Chaz, Webb, Fritz, Jude, Narnie, and Tate are all such strong characters that grow a lot over the course of the story. None of them were perfect, they all had their fair share of flaws, but that just made them more real, more believable. I grew so attached to them all by the end of it, I wasn’t ready to let them go.
Objectionable content includes some swearing, and one very brief sex scene.
I probably wouldn’t have stuck out this book past it’s slow start if it wasn’t my Random Reads book for the month of June, but because I felt obligated I stuck with it and discovered a great story and an author that I look forward to reading more from.