Title: Jellicoe Road
Author: Melina Marchetta
Summary: Taylor Markham, who was originally abandoned by her mother on Jellicoe Road when she was 11, is now a 17-year-old trying to piece together her past all while juggling being the leader of her boarding school dorm, competing with other schools in their “territory wars,” and (maybe) falling in love. All of this is made more complicated when her guardian, Hannah, disappears, leaving Taylor with only Hannah’s manuscript written about 5 kids in the 1980’s.
Six Word Review: Unusual mystery. Believable characters. Fast-paced.
I give this book 8/10 stars. This was a very compelling read. Marcheta writes with unusual style—somewhat similar to Ransom Riggs’ in that both of these authors write in a sort of surreal, perhaps fairy-tale-esque tone, even when the book itself is realistic fiction. This is especially true of the excerpts from Hannah’s manuscript. Overall, readers can connect to the characters, even if they’re not always likable, and the plot is engaging.
I started reading it because my best friend gave me this book as a gift in maybe 6th grade, and while I read it, I just remember being really confused. I always meant to re-read it, and after a few years, I picked it up again when I needed something to read on an hours-long plane trip. I kept reading because I was intrigued by the characters and struck by the unusual voice of the story.
Gut Reaction: Really good book, but when reading it, it can feel really confusing due to the number of characters and the sections of Hannah’s novel placed unannounced throughout the text.
What you hated: there were a few plot holes that caught my attention, ranging from small *SPOILER ALERT* (character using cell-phones after readers were told there was no service) to large (the author refers to one character killing another even when the author didn’t make that clear in the first place).
If the main character were stuck on a deserted island, they would: Taylor would probably get angry first and then figure out practical solutions: finding shelter, food and water, all while plotting how to get off of the island.
This book reminded me both of Ransom Riggs’ Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, in addition to Jonathan Safran Foer’s work because they have similar, if a little odd, styles.
Who would like this book: mystery book lovers, people who like books within books.
Websites of Interest:
Melina Marcheta’s blog
–Emma, Greenwood, Teen Blogger