Saturday, 4 July 2009

On The Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Publisher: Penguin Aus
Pub. Date: 28 August 2006
Age Range: Young Adult
Pages: 304

Taylor Markham is not a popular choice. She is erratic, has no people skills and never turns up to meetings. Not to mention the incident when she ran off in search of her mother and only got halfway there. But she's lived at Jellicoe School most of her life and as leader of the boarders that's her greatest asset. Especially now the cadets, led by the infamous Jonah Griggs, have arrived. The territory wars between the boarders, townies and cadets are about to recommence.

But Taylor has other things on her mind: a prayer tree, the hermit who whispered in her ear, and a vaguely familiar drawing in the local police station. Taylor wants to understand the mystery of her own past. But Hannah, the woman who found her, has suddenly disappeared, leaving nothing but an unfinished manuscript about five kids whose lives entwined twenty years ago on the Jellicoe Road . . .

On The Jellicoe Road once again proved that Melina Marchetta owns great power over words. She can make simple normal things became so meaningful and special. And turning a dark, mysterious, hard-to-digest story into one interesting kind isn't something beyond her control either.

Saying goodbye to the complicated lives of the teenagers in the city, the book moved to a faraway area - somewhere less crowded, quiet and held so many secrets, a place where three clans of young people got caught up in the territory war and seemed to forget everything else. I have to admit that at first I didn't like the idea very much. The war seemed unreal to me and it made the story appear a little bit old and serious. I didn't find the characters having fun in their teen years much, instead, they seemed to be under so much pressure as well as depression. But as it progressed, everything actually became new and exciting, like noone has ever written about this kind of thing before.

The characters are simply awesome. The female lead is like the signature of MM. Every main girl in her stories is unfailingly independent, fearless, inspiring yet they're also full of flaws like selfishness, confusion or obstinacy too. Taylor to me was just the same. One thing that made her distinct from Francesca and Josephine was that her life was harder and there were so many parts about herself she didn't know about. I liked the fact that even though she suffered from athsma, the illness actually made her stronger than ever. And I also liked her relationship with Jonah. Their bond was extremely deep because it related to life and death and they went farther then any couples in MM books had done. More and more I adored how MM created her male leads. They are perfect but in a realistic way and their expressions of love are really clumsy yet too nice too handle.

In this book you'll find a lot of about family, but you can also find plenty of exploration on friendship. The connection of the five in Hannah's manuscript was the strangest also greatest of all. It felt like they needed each other to feel worthy, to be alive and happy, as if they were closer than family. And don't take the manuscript for granted when you read this book okay? Because it held the key to reveal every secrets within. In addition to that was the war. It felt really weird at the beginning, but, as I said, gradually it got really fun and enjoyable.

Overall On The Jellicoe Road is another refreshing and impressive read from Melina Marchetta. It presents true meaning of family, friendship and how to make your life complete. Strongly recommended.

Rating: 4.5/5


a flight of minds said...

I love On The Jellicoe Road. I really want to read Melina Marchetta's other books, but I have yet to see them in any bookstore. :( I really like the cover. It's different than the cover on the copy I read... Thanks for the great review!

- Alex

B.A.M. Book Reviews said...

Hm, I've never read this book but is there another book called Jelicoe Road? I know theres a book that has something to do with Jelicoe, but Idk if it's the same one.


prophecygirl said...

Great review Thao! All Melina's books sound amazing, I need to get them!

Adele said...

Great review. MM is my fave author bar none. She's going to Chicago this week for the ALA conference - maybe some of the bloggers can catch up with her?

towerofbooks said...

Great review! I really need to read this because I've heard great things about it.