Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Jellicoe Road

Jellicoe Road
by Melina Marchetta

Pages:  432
Published: 4/6/10 by Harper Collins
Format:  ebook

5 out of 5 stars

Jellicoe Road (formerly called On the Jellicoe Road) by Melina Marchetta is a story about friendships and family and how those relationships are affected by tragedy.   It is a young adult novel, but I think it is one that transcends the young adult genre and speaks to a wider audience.

Taylor Markham was abandoned by her mother as a young girl.  She was picked up by Hannah, who took her to the Jellicoe boarding school and served as the main guardian figure in Taylor's life.  But then one day Hannah disappears, and Taylor finds pages of a manuscript Hannah has been writing.  The manuscript tells the story of five mysterious teens from the past, and Taylor can't help but feel a connection with them.

Meanwhile, Taylor is the leader of her gang in the "territory wars", a long standing rivalry between the Jellicoe school kids, a group of rugged campers called the "Cadets", and the local kids called the "Townies."  This brings her into contact with Jonah Griggs, the leader of the Cadets, who has connections to her past and knows some of her deepest secrets.

This is a story that comes together gradually; piece by piece is put into place as Marchetta weaves back and forth between the stories of the past and present.   It was fairly obvious early on where the story was headed, but it was enjoyable to read how it all unfolded.  The first third of the book was intriguing to me, but I still felt like it was a little slow and disjointed.  However, the book quickly picked up steam, and by the end, I just could not put it down.  

I loved the characters.  I loved the way the stories of the past and the present were woven together.  I loved the idea of the "territory wars" which weren't nearly as warlike as they initially appeared.  Most of all I loved the friendships in this book.   I really enjoyed reading the interactions between Taylor and Jonah and Sanangelo and Rafaella.  I loved how they were all supposed to be enemies, but deep down they were the best of friends.  

Jellicoe Road is a well-written engrossing read that I highly recommend. 

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