Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
For years, three factions—Townies, Cadets (city kids doing a six-week outdoor education program), and Jellicoe School students—have engaged in teen war games in the Australian countryside, defending territorial borders, negotiating for assets, and even taking hostages. Taylor Markham, a 17-year-old who was abandoned years ago by her mother, takes on leadership of the boarding school's six Houses. Plagued with doubts about being boss, she's not sure she can handle her Cadet counterpart, Jonah Griggs, whom she met several years before while running away to find her mother.
When Hannah, a sort of house mother who has taken Taylor under her wing, disappears, Taylor puzzles over the book manuscript the woman left behind. Hannah's tale involves a tragic car accident on the Jellicoe Road more than 20 years earlier. Only three children survived, and Taylor discovers that this trio, plus a Cadet and a Townie, developed an epic friendship that was the foundation of the many mysteries in her life and identity, as well as of the war games.
Some books are best savored - read and reread. Jellicoe Road is one of those books. Each chapter pulls away another mysterious layer of what is going on at the Jellicoe School, what happened in Taylor Markham's past, and what happened to the five friends who met on the Jellicoe Road. And as much as I was rushing - impatient to get to the end and find the answers to the mysteries - I made myself read slowly and save Marchetta's enchanting prose.
From page 44,
I stop and look into Jessa McKenzie's eyes and suddenly I see someone...something that I have seen before. I feel an anxiety I can't explain.
I push past them and escape to my room and when it's securely locked, I walk to the basin and lean over it, nausea rising in me.
I want to see Hannah. I'm not sure why but I find myself repeating the need over and over again. Because it's like a voice whispering in my head telling me that there is something so unnatural about her absence. It's like the last line of Hannah's Yeats poem.
I hear it in the deep heart's core.
Taylor is an amazing character, and her and the other characters to life. And the romance is fantastic. Jellicoe Road has instantly become one of my favorite books, and definitely one I plan to reread over and over again.
To see the awesome interview with Melina Marchetta about Jellicoe Road and her upcoming novels Finnikin of the Rock and The Piper's Son, click here.
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