Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Jellicoe Road-- Melina Marchetta

I finished reading Jellicoe Road about five days ago, but I have been waiting for some inspiration before I posted about it on my blog.

The inspiration hasn't really come to me yet.

Still, this was a GOOD BOOK. So I owe it some type of conversation, right? Then why can't I muster up excitement to spread the word about it? Hmmm.... anyway, about the book: Jellicoe Road takes place in Australia, at a boarding school. It is mostly narrated by Taylor, the protagonist, but the story of four teenagers who went to the Jellicoe School a generation prior is interspersed throughout the story. Taylor was abandoned by her drug addicted mother at a 7-11 on Jellicoe Road when she was very young. The school housemother, Hannah, took her in and raised her, yet somehow always kept her at arms length. Now a senior, Taylor is in charge of her dorm. She has been selected as the school's representative for the Territory Wars that happen ever year between the townies, boarding school students, and the cadets who participate in outdoor school/wilderness training on the Jellicoe School property. Even though she is supposed to be leading her school to victory, Taylor can't get past her mysterious family history, the emotions she feels toward Hannah and the leader of the Cadets, and her own personal drama.

Overall, this story is well-written and interesting, but somehow I don't see many teens being drawn to it. Taylor is a character teens might like, but the way Marchetta intersperses the secondary story of the four teens from the past gets a little fuzzy and confusing. Until about the last quarter of the book, the secondary story is not compelling and slows the pace of the book somewhat. That being said, I did enjoy this book (being a graduate of a boarding school high school, I always like reading books that take place in boarding schools) but would only recommend it to teens who are good readers and who like to really think about what they are reading. Teens who liked Marchetta's Saving Francesca, Notes from the Teenage Underground by Simmone Howell, and maybe Green's Looking for Alaska and Rosoff's What I Was migh enjoy this book.

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