Title: Jellicoe Road [Amazon]
Author: Melina Marchetta [website]
Publisher: Harper Teen (originally Penguin Australia)
Stars: 5 of 5
At age eleven, Taylor Markham was abandoned by her mother. At fourteen, she ran away from boarding school, only to be tracked down and brought back by a mysterious stranger. Now seventeen, Taylor’s the reluctant leader of her school’s underground community, whose annual territory war with the Townies and visiting Cadets has just begun. This year, though, the Cadets are led by Jonah Griggs, and Taylor can’t avoid his intense gaze for long. To make matters worse, Hannah, the one adult Taylor trusts, has disappeared. But if Taylor can piece together the clues Hannah left behind, the truth she uncovers might not just settle her past, but also change her future.
Let me get this out of the way first:
I ♥ YOU JONAH GRIGGS!
Okay, moving on…for now.
Honestly I didn’t think it was possible to love a book as much as I loved Jellicoe Road! It had been on my radar for a long time but for some reason I just kept putting it off. Well after chatting with a few people about it and not know what my next read would be I went for it. And man did Marchetta hit it out of the park! LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE!
It’s really hard to describe what Jellicoe Road is really about like I try to do in my reviews. The thing about Marchetta is that she has a very distinct writing style and you don’t really know what is happening until you are about 150 pages in. I have taken to calling this the “Marchetta Effect” and have used it when I’m reading other books before deciding if I should give up. But when the Marchetta Effect is happening and you reach that 150 page milestone, magic happens and I feel if I tell you what the book is about in my own words some of that magic might not be there and that would just be downright wrong.
I can tell you the story is so amazingly awesome and that Taylor is a character that will stay with you for a long time. There is something extremely likable about her right from the start. I don’t know if it is because of the circumstances of her life up until this point, or the fact that she seems so strong but you can tell she is an emotional mess. Or how she tries to put a wall around herself that isn’t very strong because she really doesn’t want it to be. Whatever it is, Taylor Markham is one of my all-time favorite female literary characters.
And Jonah Griggs! Oh Jonah *flipping* Griggs! Head over heels about him. Like Taylor he had an easily likable quality to him. He was tough and disciplined and had too been through a lot, but he had a huge heart for the people that meant something to him. And Taylor meant more to him then even she realized. Jonah Griggs is just this magical character that comes in and out of scenes with precise timing, delivering lines and attitude and love as needed. He was the perfect partner for Taylor is every way. Whether it was romantic entangling or the annual territory wars, the two of them seemed to work together in an almost unexpected way. GAH, I just LOVE Jonah Griggs.
Do you ever just find a book that completely touches you in a way you never expected? That stays with you long after you are finished? That is a literary masterpiece? That is what Melina Marchetta’s book Jellicoe Road made me feel. Something about it was just magic and not something that should be missed. I know this review may be slightly different from my others based on the fact that I didn’t tell you what the book is actually about, but trust me when I tell you I did for your own benefit. Marchetta’s books need to be read with as much of a blind eye as possible. It’s more fulfilling if you are as confused as the rest of us until you hit the Marchetta Effect. Just trust me and go and read it. And then go and read Saving Francesca and The Piper’s Son. Simply put, FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC!