On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta / My rating: ★★★★★
One sentence summary: There’s a boy in a tree in Taylor Markham’s dreams, she’s her school’s leader in the annual territory wars, and as she uncovers the mysteries of the kids who started them she begins to unravel her own past.
I ran away one day. He was running in the same direction.
Genre: Young Adult/Contemporary
Plot: You’ll feel lost in the first hundred pages of this book. It will frustrate you. But it will be worth it when it all slowly begins to weave itself together until you find yourself weeping by the end. At least, that’s what happened to me. This is a beautiful, fun, heartbreaking story that never slows down and comes at you with all sorts of tragic and lovely twists. It twines together the past and the present, and what starts out as a story about territory wars between teenagers turns into a tale of so much more.
Characters: The plot is brilliant, but it’s the characters that really make this book. At the beginning, you rather start out hating everyone, much like Taylor seems to. Taylor is a force of nature, filled with angst and anger and heartache, and as her character develops, so does the light that is shed on everyone else. Taylor’s story is punctuated by excerpts from the manuscript written by Hannah, her school house’s supervisor, which tells the story of a close-knit group of friends that start out a bit hokey, perhaps, but comes to punch you right in the heart. Marchetta is great at breaking hearts, but the love and loyalty that balances it out is enormous. This book will fill you with fuzzy feelings of friendship. The romance is sweet and sincere. And because I always like to mention my favorite character, I love Chaz Santangelo.
Writing: The writing is lovely. The story is told from the first person point of view, which can sometimes feel a bit generic, but I loved reading the story through the eyes of a Taylor, who is a very biased and emotional character. I felt a palpable different between the beginning and the end as her character developed. Marchetta creates pretty scenes, and I love how she writes dialogue. One thing I would have liked to see more of are physical descriptions of characters and settings- simply because I have liked a clearer picture of them, and I think it would have given me a bit of a firmer grasp on things.
Was I satisfied? Yes, yes, yes. I loved it. I want to bury myself in it.