Published by HarperTeen on 2008 August 26
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I'm dreaming of the boy in the tree. I tell him stories. About the Jellicoe School and the Townies and the Cadets from a school in Sydney. I tell him about the war between us for territory. And I tell him about Hannah, who lives in the unfinished house by the river. Hannah, who is too young to be hiding away from the world. Hannah, who found me on the Jellicoe Road six years ago.
Taylor is leader of the boarders at the Jellicoe School. She has to keep the upper hand in the territory wars and deal with Jonah Griggs - the enigmatic leader of the cadets, and someone she thought she would never see again.
And now Hannah, the person Taylor had come to rely on, has disappeared. Taylor's only clue is a manuscript about five kids who lived in Jellicoe eighteen years ago. She needs to find out more, but this means confronting her own story, making sense of her strange, recurring dream, and finding her mother - who abandoned her on the Jellicoe Road.
The moving, joyous and brilliantly compelling new novel from the best-selling, multi-award-winning author of Looking for Alibrandi and Saving Francesca.
When a fellow blogger said that Melina Marchetta gave her the feels, I wasn’t convinced. I didn’t know that an author named Melina Marchetta existed until I started blogging and reading a lot of awesome things about her works. But my gawd, after reading four of her books, Marchetta didn’t only gave me the feels but she always suck them dry every time I finished a book. My point is, before you dive into Melina’s books, you should fully recharge yourself with emotions. You can electrify or inject or take them orally whichever works best for you. Otherwise, the onslaught of punches will leave you hollow. It will render your insides dead like a Dementor has just kissed you.
Jellicoe Road is another Marchetta masterpiece that left me gutless. I don’t know how to describe it properly but it was amazingly unusual. It’s one of the best contemporaries I’ve read. And that’s saying something because contemporary isn’t my preferred genre. True, I had a hard time getting into this one. I endured hundreds of pages (~160 pages) to be finally enlightened. But boy, when every piece of the puzzle fell to their right places, I was breathless. At long last, I finally understand what Queen JK meant when she explained the Harry Potter epilogue, that it was her desire for the ending to be “nebulous,” something “poetic,” and that she wanted the readers to “feel as if they were looking at Platform 9 3/4 through the mist, unable to make out exactly who was there and who was not.” Nebulous, that is how I would describe the beginning of Jellicoe Road. Everything was so foggy that you wouldn’t know where Marchetta will take you. You just have to trust her all throughout the journey.
With Jellicoe Road, Melina Marchetta accomplished constructing a multi layered story of two different yet connected set of lives. Though the plot seemed scattered at first, Melina masterfully strung all the pieces together halfway through the book.
And before your minds start making assumptions about the romance of Jellicoe Road, just stop. I am not sure if you’d like how Melina created the romance here. For me, it was definitely charged. If you’re looking for a sickening, over-the-top romance of two teenagers then this book isn’t for you. You will not see a lot of romance here because Melina never used it to propel her stories. Just like The Lumatere Chronicles, Melina’s brand of romance is always meant for blind people… because readers are supposed to FEEL it rather than see it.
But Melina doesn’t stop with the wonderful plot. She ensured that her pawns for this awesome story were fleshed out… fleshed out to the point that you will go chasing after them crying your heart out. Taylor Markham, our main protagonist, didn’t really impress me at first. She was an insensitive, self-centered bitch who didn’t give a damn about the people around her. But as the story developed, I grudgingly gave her my heart bit by bit. Behind the veneer of bitchiness lies a lost and insecure soul who only dreamed of getting reunited with her mother and riding her father’s shoulders once again.
Then here comes Jonah Griggs, the love interest. The whole time I was reading the book, I kept on guessing what his true nature is. Did he really betray Taylor? Was he a coward? I had a lot of questions about his persona but when Melina dropped the bombed, I felt… I can’t even.
Ahhh. Melina, I don’t deserve this kind of emotional ordeal. I still wanna live long but my heart is so burdened with pain. Instead of giving me compassion, you’ve got the nerve to introduce me to the Fucked up Five that I just wanna pull an emo stunt right now.
When I thought that I have no more tears to shed… when I felt that my heart is beyond repair… Melina still proceeded to end the story in a fashion that’s both beautiful and bittersweet. The impact was not only bone deep but I felt my soul temporarily left my body… Perhaps to accompany Webb on his journey.
Jellicoe Road is the Center of Excellence for Contemporary YA. You, book, you.
Book, you actually deserve a 5 but I couldn’t forgive you for that nebulous beginning.