In this lyrical, absorbing, award-winning novel, nothing is as it seems, and every clue leads to more questions.
At age eleven, Taylor Markham was abandoned by her mother. At fourteen, she ran away from boarding school, only to be tracked down and brought back by a mysterious stranger. Now seventeen, Taylor’s the reluctant leader of her school’s underground community, whose annual territory war with the Townies and visiting Cadets has just begun. This year, though, the Cadets are led by Jonah Griggs, and Taylor can’t avoid his intense gaze for long. To make matters worse, Hannah, the one adult Taylor trusts, has disappeared. But if Taylor can piece together the clues Hannah left behind, the truth she uncovers might not just settle her past, but also change her future.
The story in a nutshell:
Taylor Markham did not want it but she’s now the leader of her co-ed boarding school and the annual territorial wars the school has with the Cadets and the Townies has responsibilities left and right waiting for her. Add to this the fact that Hannah, one of the adults that she trusts, disappears without even a by-your-leave to her. She did find a manuscript of some kind that she saw Hannah working on before. It’s a story of five friends, set in a curiously familiar setting and she thinks this gives her clues as to where she might find Hannah.
What worked for me?
What do you say after reading such a great piece of literature like Jellicoe Road? I don’t even know where to begin.
- How about when I had finally gotten into the rhythm of the story and the story-telling and I began to appreciate the genius behind it
- Or how about how much I love how the story unravels through Taylor’s eyes or head for that matter
- Or how I initially thought that the territorial wars was some kind of dystopian world term when it is, in fact, a tradition of sorts among the schools
- Or how the past and the present were first skirting around each other, showing glimpses here and there, and then finally coming together in the end towards life-altering revelations
- Or how the story-telling builds up the mystery and sustains the suspense up until the end and then everything falls into place, and you understand, and you accept, and you can’t help but be in awe
- Or lastly, how awesome Jonah Griggs is (because yeah, I’ve got to have one line for him alone)
What did not work for me?
As I’ve mentioned earlier, I had a little difficulty following the story especially in the beginning. I’m reading paragraphs and getting introduced to a lot of characters and all I have are questions about what is really going on. But having said that, I respected the route Melina Marchetta decided to take when she wrote this kind of beginning. She did have to establish roots for all these characters in the story and I would have imagined it took a lot of work and talent to pull this thing off. But other than the vague beginning, which a part of me is saying is entirely my fault for not understanding it well (LOL), this was such a great, powerful, and emotional read.
My over-all take on it?
I can’t believe it took me this long in my life to read a Melina Marchetta work. I’m almost saddened to think of all those years I could have re-read this book already. If you’ve never read this one, now is the time to buy yourself a copy and devour it asap. I promise you, you won’t be disappointed.
About the Author:
Melina Marchetta’s writing career took off in 1992 when she published her first novel,Looking For Alibrandi. She later turned the story into a film script. The movie Looking for Alibrandi screened in theatres around Australia and the world from 2000.
Melina managed to combine writing with teaching English and History in secondary school for ten years up to 2006, when she committed to writing full-time. During that period, she released two novels, Saving Francesca and On the Jellicoe Road.
Her first fantasy novel, Finnikin of the Rock, was published in 2008. The Piper’s Son(a companion novel to Saving Francesca) was released in 2010. She has written a children’s book, The Gorgon in the Gully, as part of the Puffin Pocket Money series.
Her novels have been published in 17 languages in at least 18 countries. Melina lives in Sydney where she writes full time.
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