Saturday, January 21, 2012

7. Jellicoe Road - Melina Marchetta

2006 Australia, 2008 USA, HarperTeen
419 pages
Rating:  Awesome/5
Michael L. Printz Award

Setting:  Australia, somewhere in the Sydney vicinity.
OSS:  A 17-year-old orphan, still yearning for the mother who abandoned her, traces all sorts of secrets that ultimately lead to her own future.
1st sentence/s:  "My father took 132 minutes to die."

There are reviews of this book all over the web, mine would never do it justice. It was everything I look for in a perfect novel.  A seamless, well-plotted storyline; lovely writing; characters that become real, they're so well written, and a mystery.

Taylor Markham has little memory of her growing-up years with her drug-addicted mother, she only knows that she was abandoned at 11 and sent to a boarding school on the Jellicoe Road.  The only adult in her life since that time has been a woman named  Hannah, who works at the school but lives in a house on the riverside, quite close by.  And now it is Taylor's last year, and for six weeks a school ritual is about to begin - "wars" between the townies, the school, and the Cadets who come each year to camp and live in the wild.  From the lives and memories of five close friends 18 years previously, to the lives of five who will end up being close friends in the future, I am left to ponder love and family, grief and forgiveness, secrets and honesty.  Wow.  what a book.

The last line of the blurb on the jacket is what made me begin this book (finally): " If Taylor can put together the pieces of her past, she might just be able to change her future."

Oh, how many times I've taken this out of the library and returned it without beginning.  And to think I almost didn't read it this time, either.  What a shame.  This book is bound to be a favorite.  Incredible story-weaving, and gorgeous word-weaving.

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