Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
"What do you want from me?" he asks. What I want from every person in my life, I want to tell him. More.
Abandoned by her mother on Jellicoe Road when she was eleven, Taylor Markham, now seventeen, is finally being confronted with her past. But as the reluctant leader of her boarding school dorm, there isn't a lot of time for introspection. And while Hannah, the closest adult Taylor has to family, has disappeared, Jonah Griggs is back in town, moody stares and all.
Have you read Jellicoe Road? No? You're failing at life. Ah, ah, ah...failing. I know you don't feel like you're failing, but you must be, because this book was...captivating, complicated, amazing.
When I first began Jellicoe Road, I didn't like it at all. It was so confusing. There were all of these things going on that there was no exposition for. I felt like I'd been tossed into the middle of a story. Because I had. But in the best possible way.
The story just sort of blossoms. It's so gradual that you hardly realize you're wanting to read it more and more, you're getting in trouble in class because you're reading it instead of paying attention, you're up at 3 a.m. reading it when you should be sleeping. Marchetta feeds you these delicious bits and pieces of each character's past, and they all come together in the most heartfelt and powerful way.
Taylor was a confusing character. I couldn't really understand her logic half of the time. There are these territory wars going on in the novel, and she's so worried about them. Only, I didn't see the point. Win or lose, the wars didn't really seem to matter. I think she was using the territory wars as a way of distracting herself from her real problems. They distract her from the fact that her mother left, Hannah's missing, and Jonah Griggs is way more interesting than she'd like him to be.
Jonah Griggs is such a serious, complicated character. From the beginning you can tell that while he's trying to act like a jerk, there really is a lot brewing underneath. It's obvious that he and Taylor are totally swooning over each other, and they try to stay enemies because it's easier than facing their feelings. When they finally do, their connection rips right off the page. I may or may not have a literary crush on Jonah Griggs. You can guess. :)
Raffy was the general friend character. I honestly don't remember to much about her, except that her personality was really fun and sometimes funny and she was a really caring, genuine friend to Taylor. I really liked Ben. I thought he provided a lot of comedic relief at times and his outlook was great.
The book flashes back to the past more and more as it goes on. The friendship between the characters in the past is so genuine and has so much history that I'm surprised their story and Taylor's fit in the same book. Though, in the end, their story and Taylor's story are part of the same story. I really loved how this book kept me guessing as to who in the past was who in the future.
I must say, Melina Marchetta has created an amazing work of YA fiction that is very touching and almost alive. I feel like these characters are real people, like if I traveled to Australia right now, I could find them on Jellicoe Road. I definitely commend her for making such a complicated book work so well. It must have been really hard to imagine and create two completely different story lines, making them both so full, and then connect them so perfectly.
Character Development: 9/10
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