Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Jellicoe Road

Jellicoe Road Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Book 97 of 100 for the 100+ Reading Challenge
Book 28 of 50 for the New Author Challenge
Awards: Michael Printz Award; Kirkus Editors Choice; Cybils Finalist

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I might as well just say up front that I cannot rave about this book. I have not read a single review where the reader did not love this book. So, just take what I have to say with a huge grain of salt.

The first 150 pages of this book are somewhat confusing. It's clear that there are two story lines going on, but what isn't clear is how they relate to each other. Normally, I would have given up long before the 150-page mark, but I read many reviews that said just to keep going. And all of a sudden, I did understand what was going on. But I also understood much more than that, and I had the other 250 pages of the book totally figured out, making the book both confusing and predictable all at the same time.

The book is set in the Australian countryside at a boarding school. Taylor Markham is a 17-year old student, who is a school leader and helps look after the younger students. The students are involved in a turf war with the Townies (kids who live in the town) and the Cadets (who come to camp near the school for a couple of months each year) and Taylor also leads her school's crusade. Taylor's mom ditched her at a nearby 7-11 when she was 11 years old, and she was taken in by a woman named Hannah who works at the school. But Hannah has gone missing, which has Taylor very concerned and unnerved, especially with a serial killer on the loose nearby.

There is a lot of teenage angst in the book. It reminded me of Looking for Alaska, Catcher in the Rye, and The Outsiders all in one. I'm just not a huge fan. There's also plenty of controversial themes involved including drug use, sexual issues, suicide, death, and teen pregnancy. But, I did enjoy Taylor's process of self-discovery. And while much of the book is sad, there's also a lot of hope in there too. I enjoyed reading about the friendships the characters made and how they decided to solve problems together. It was an interesting story, and I did care about the characters.

This Printz-award winner is definitely only appropriate for older teens because of the coarse language and thematic issues.

Also reviewed by:
Have I missed yours?

Source: Library


bermudaonion said...

You're right - the reviews I've read of this have been wonderful. Thanks for balancing things out a little bit.

Luanne said...

Great review but it was the title that really got me. I actually grew up on a Jellicoe Crescent!

Anonymous said...

thanks for linking to my review! I mostly agree with you on this one. :)