Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta Book Review
Saturday, August 18, 2012 10:14 PM
Release Date: August 28, 2006
Rating: 5 stars
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“My father took one hundred and thirty-two minutes to die."
― Melina Marchetta, Jellicoe Road
Abandoned on Jellicoe Road by her mother at the age of eleven, Taylor Markham is now the reluctant leader of her boarding school dorm at age seventeen. Hannah, the closest thing Taylor has to family and her House coordinator, disappears. And Taylor's confronted by the past when Jonah Griggs comes back to town as leader of the Cadets, making the territory wars all the more difficult with his intense stare.
With each clue Taylor finds, she has more questions, such as where has Hannah disappeared to, why did her mother dump her, what did the Hermit whisper in her ear before he killed himself, why does Jonah affect her so, and who are the five teenagers in Hannah's manuscript? As she uncovers the secrets of the past, she learns more about herself than she ever knew.
So, I finally got around to reading this. Wow. Just wow. I've read Marchetta before, and while I was less than impressed with Froi of the Exiles, I loved Finnikin of the Rock, and Jellicoe Road was my favorite of all. Despite all the recommendations and positive reviews for this book, I originally read the plot synopsis and thought this isn't my type of book. But I love when I'm proven wrong! Jellicoe Road was a phenomenal read, and there were shivers going down my spine when I finished.
While the book started off slow and a little confusing, Marchetta masterfully developed the tension between the feuding territories and the chilling mysteries of Jellicoe Road. I liked how the story sort of eased into itself, and it wasn't long before I couldn't put this book down. I was fascinated by Taylor's haunting story and eager to find answers. Every chapter was written beautifully, and the story flipped smoothly between Taylor's POV and Hannah's manuscript. Hannah's story was reminiscent of The Breakfast Club, with a group of close friends tested by tragedy, and it was touching and poignant. I found myself loving each and every one of the characters. All of the mysterious five in Hannah's manuscript, Jessa, Raffy, Ben, Santangelo, Santangelo's dad, Hannah, and the Brigadier. And can't forget Chairman Meow. No one was hanging in the background, fading into insignificance, because everyone played their role.
Taylor and Jonah were my favorite characters. The romance was wonderfully set up because it was realistic. Both of them were broken and haunted by their pasts, and it took them some time to trust in each other. There were no rainbows or puppies, but their relationship just worked so well and developed naturally. Nonetheless, there were some sweet, touching moments shared between them. I just couldn't get enough of these two together.
I'm still a bit confused about the schooling system in Australia, as this story takes place near Sydney. But it didn't confuse me enough to interfere with my enjoyment. I loved how they spelled curb kerb and how French kissing is pashing. The territory wars were so entertaining to read about, and there were some hilarious scenes that I enjoyed so much. Plus, the connection between all of the students at Taylor's school was adorable and heartwarming.
As for the mystery, it was wonderful how every element was beautifully interwoven. Everything came together in such a surprising, clever way. It was genius. Which explains my shivers at the ending.
Jellicoe Road is a new favorite! I'm in love with this incredible, awe-inspiring book!
And here's Fat Cat again because she read Jellicoe Road too! She gave it one out of five tails because she was confused. She's not a big fan of mystery, but she loved Chairman Meow.