On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Merchetta
Release Date: June 26 2007
Publisher: Penguin Australia
Add it: Goodreads
FOR SHAME!!!! WHY did it take me so long to come across this book!!Abandoned by her mother on Jellicoe Road when she was eleven, Taylor Markham, now seventeen, is finally being confronted with her past. But as the reluctant leader of her boarding school dorm, there isn't a lot of time for introspection. And while Hannah, the closest adult Taylor has to family, has disappeared, Jonah Griggs is back in town, moody stares and all.
In this absorbing story by Melina Marchetta, nothing is as it seems and every clue leads to more questions as Taylor tries to work out the connection between her mother dumping her, Hannah finding her then and her sudden departure now, a mysterious stranger who once whispered something in her ear, a boy in her dreams, five kids who lived on Jellicoe Road eighteen years ago, and the maddening and magnetic Jonah Griggs, who knows her better than she thinks he does. If Taylor can put together the pieces of her past, she might just be able to change her future - Blurb from Goodreads
I had everything I was going to say in this review in my head before I went to bed last night, now I can't remember any of the insanely clever things I thought of (haha).
Okay, so if you've already read this book, you would know that the first 100 or so pages are incredibly confusing - it sort of goes from one perspective to another which are in the past and present and between our main protagonist and kids we've never been introduced to before. The main character also has random dreams or something, all the while there are some strange 'territory wars' going on between kids at a boarding school and we don't really know why this is happening. For the first 100 or so pages you will be so confused and will either want to stop reading due to frustration or be intrigued and keep reading. I was intrigued and kept reading and I'm incredibly glad I did.
I am actually unable to describe the plot in my own words without confusing myself or you, so above is the synopsis from Goodreads :)
This book may frustrate you at first because Marchetta isn't giving you backstory on ANYTHING. However, as you progress further in the book you will discover this is exactly how she wanted you to feel. She wanted you to be confused and wanted to reveal the story to you piece by piece. As it seems there are so many subplots and stories in the one novel, it gets confusing, which I've already established (sorry!!), but Marchetta weaves all of these clues and bits & pieces into one neat, amazing mystery toward the end of the novel.
In regards to the characters, at first I wasn't sure whether I liked them or not. After a while, I really began to love the main character and also the supporting characters. Marchetta managed to make them talk, think and act exactly like teenagers (well, Australian teenagers). The characters were extremely realistic and whilst I didn't exactly bawl my eyes out in this book, I found myself tearing up or crying in several parts of the book - so many of the kids are in situations that I can't even put my head around. It's sort of like, you know that horrible things happen, and yet we as humans all complain about trivial things and hate our lives if our fucking boyfriend dumps us. Everybody does it, especially alot of people in Australia, who are fairly well off, in the luckiest country in the world. But like any other country, Australia has people who are in bad situations and it's heartbreaking that we don't take these people or children into account when we're complaining about nothing. The characters are so realistic and it really breaks my heart because there are people who suffer out there like the kids in this book.
I loved Taylor, and I loved Jonah Griggs - my new literary crush (apart from Tucker in Unearthly). Their relationship was realistic, heart warming and beautiful. I loved Jonah because he wasn't just sweet and caring (although he was), he was portrayed as a REAL boy - as in punching somebody without even flinching or having his blood boil when somebody he cares about is threatened or is being cracked onto. This is pretty much EXACTLY how 70% of guys I know react and underneath that hard exterior, they are all sensitive on the inside.
Honestly, apart from the beginning being confusing as anything, this novel is brilliant and I can't believe it took me so long to read the damn thing.
This is a book I think everybody has to read and you have to read this in order to know what I mean and I think once I read this for a second time, it'll be even more beautiful than the first time around.