On the Jellicoe Road by Melina MarchettaOn the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Published by Penguin Australia on August 28th 2006
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 419
Goodreads

I'm dreaming of the boy in the tree. I tell him stories. About the Jellicoe School and the Townies and the Cadets from a school in Sydney. I tell him about the war between us for territory. And I tell him about Hannah, who lives in the unfinished house by the river. Hannah, who is too young to be hiding away from the world. Hannah, who found me on the Jellicoe Road six years ago.

Taylor is leader of the boarders at the Jellicoe School. She has to keep the upper hand in the territory wars and deal with Jonah Griggs—the enigmatic leader of the cadets, and someone she thought she would never see again.

And now Hannah, the person Taylor had come to rely on, has disappeared. Taylor's only clue is a manuscript about five kids who lived in Jellicoe eighteen years ago. She needs to find out more, but this means confronting her own story, making sense of her strange, recurring dream, and finding her mother—who abandoned her on the Jellicoe Road.

The moving, joyous and brilliantly compelling new novel from the best-selling, multi-award-winning author of Looking for Alibrandi and Saving Francesca.

4.5 Stars

Well, now I definitely understand why this novel recieved the Printz Award. What a gem of a book!

It’s a very emotional story and at times painful to read because you see these characters that are good people make horrible decisions and become so lost that they don’t even know who they are anymore. It’s a story about loss, lonliness, death and guilt and all you want is for the characters get the happy ending they deserve.

Melina Marchetta’s writing is superb; she uses metaphors and similes in a way that is never jarring and really creates atmosphere. After reading On the Jellicoe Road I immediately wanted to pick up Marchetta’s other books because this novel has instilled a kind of trust in me that is hard to come by. I feel like I would love whatever she writes. The way she deals with such serious topics and still manages to make me laugh with her dry humour and sarcasm is fantastic.

I loved the characters. Taylor, our protagonist, is a 17-year-old girl who has been abandoned by her mother at the age of eleven. Since then, she hasn’t seen her mother or father and feels like she can’t trust anyone and that nobody in the world loves her. Characters such as Taylor are difficult to write because they can be very moody, depressed and even straight out mean at times and yet they still have to remain lovable. Melina Marchetta did a great job with this, I really empathized with Taylor and her witty remarks added another layer to the story.

I also loved Rafi and Ben, Taylor’s best friends and completely fell in love with Jonah. This book is full of complex, interesting and relatable characters. 

The reason I took away half a star is because the novel was quite confusing at times. Particularly at the beginning, it took me a while to understand what was going on, who these characters were, what was past and what was present. Getting through these first pages totally paid off though.

I highly recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys contemporary, particularly if you like books such as  I’ll Give You the Sun. The story concepts are somewhat similar and it deals with comparable topics, even though the writing is very different. On the Jellicoe Road is a beautiful book full of heart and will make you think and feel things you perhaps haven’t before. Highly recommended!