Book Review: Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Quick note: I'll be out of town for a few days and might not be able to check my email and comments. I'll reply to everything when I get back, if I'm not able to do it earlier. Happy Monday!

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Publisher: Harper Teen
Format: Paperback
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Publication Date: 09.01.2008
"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.

In this absorbing story by Melina Marchetta, nothing is as it seems and every clue leads to more questions as Taylor tries to work out the connection between her mother dumping her, Hannah finding her then and her sudden departure now, a mysterious stranger who once whispered something in her ear, a boy in her dreams, five kids who lived on Jellicoe Road eighteen years ago, and the maddening and magnetic Jonah Griggs, who knows her better than she thinks he does. If Taylor can put together the pieces of her past, she might just be able to change her future.

Someone asked us later, "Didn't you wonder why no one came across you sooner?"
Did I wonder?
When you see your parents zipped up in black body bags on the Jellicoe Road like they're some kind of garbage, don't you know?
Wonder dies.
-Melina Marchetta, Jellicoe Road
I am amazed at my reaction to this book. I can honestly say that not only is it the best book I have read this year, but it is one of the best books I have EVER read. But let's start at the beginning....

I wanted put this book down in the first 20 or so pages, and if it hadn't been my book club's pick for this month, I would have. I didn't understand it, and I wasn't connecting to the characters because of that. And then, like a fog clearing, things began to make sense. I became enthralled with the story, going back and forth between pages to clarify what I thought I understood or had figured out. The reason I had so much trouble in the beginning is because this books asks just as much out of the reader as it gives; it makes you work a bit, putting puzzle pieces together to figure out what is happening. It doesn't give information up easily. And I love it so much more for that reason.

These characters are three-dimensional. Their strengths and weaknesses are written on every page, right along with their deepest fears and greatest joys. The friendships, the arguments, the bonds that are made--there is something startlingly truthful about this book and how the past of a few characters contributes to the future of so many others in harrowing, life-changing, and sometimes exciting, ways. I fell in love with Narnie after reading her first words, I fell in love with Taylor when she first stood up for herself against the townies, and I fell in love with Ben and Raffie after they good-naturedly teamed up to tease Jonah.

*Spoiler warning* 
And Jonah Griggs? Well, I fell in love with that boy the moment he stood up for Taylor and punched Richard. It was obvious what he was doing, even if he didn't know yet, and it made my heart do flips!
*End spoiler*

I won't go on forever, because there is hardly more that I can add about this book that others haven't already said. I'll just say that it is all true; Marchetta is one of those writers who can bring emotions out of you that you've never experienced before; one of those who can make you see the world in a different way. And that happens in this book, believe me. I finished reading and immediately opened it back up and started from the beginning again so I could experience it all one more time; something I have never felt compelled  to do before. It was even better the second time.

Read this if:
...you are human. Just read it!! You won't regret it. :)

Content Warning
*This section may contain some spoilers about content!*
Highlight between the brackets to reveal the text.
{Swearing, a couple undescriptive references to characters having sex, and some violence.}

Did I mention that I'm now part of an awesome book club? My childhood friends and I have started one, in an attempt to stay close and get together more often. I love these girls! We even named it after our childhood idols: mermaids. We all wanted to be mermaids and we names, hair colors, descriptions, powers...everything. We just needed an ocean.

Jellicoe Road Discussion Guide

Purchase Jellicoe Road:
Melina Marchetta:


  1. Right on! I'm so glad it worked out for you. I've heard nothing but great things about this book. One day I must try it.

  2. Omigosh YES!!! Another 'Jellicoe' convert!! I'm not sure if it's sad or awesome when you get so excited when you see reviews for a book because you love it so much and you just hope that this other person will love the book as much as you do. And, well, in this case it seems as if you do. Your review explains my feelings for the book perfectly. I'm just dying to re-read it again!

  3. Yay! I'm so happy you liked it. I feel just like Ashley... I love it when other people enjoy my favorite books as much as I did. And I really think this is the best book I've read all year. :)

  4. I've noticed a trend in lots of mermaid books recently, and I wasn't sold until I saw Arthurian twist. Looks great!

  5. Great update and I thank you for the review.

  6. I think I'm going to have to go and buy this book now!! Awesome review!!

  7. Nice review and I thank you for the submission.

  8. I entirely agree with you about this book. It's one of my all time favorites. I'm impressed that you liked it after 20 pages. It took me two tries and a good 100 pages before I was hooked.

  9. Yes! The beginning WAS hard, and I admit I put it down for a couple of months before getting to the 'clearing.' but I went back to it and am so glad I did it. Since then I've read it about 5 times and am in love with each character! Melina just has this ability with her characters - making me feel like I know them, or that I want to know them.

  10. I love your review! Here's mine if you don't mind: http://lorxiebookreviews.blogspot.com/2012/09/jellicoe-road-by-melina-marchetta.html

    Thanks and have a nice day! =D


Thanks for commenting! I read each and every one, and reply as soon as I can :)

Please note: The Reading Fever is an award-free zone. I am very flattered, but comments are all the thanks I need.


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