Review: On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

September 1, 2012 Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, HarperTeen, Melina Marchetta, On the Jellicoe Road, Readalong, YA, Young Adult 10

From Goodreads:

I’m dreaming of the boy in the tree. I tell him stories. About the Jellicoe School and the Townies and the Cadets from a school in Sydney. I tell him about the war between us for territory. And I tell him about Hannah, who lives in the unfinished house by the river. Hannah, who is too young to be hiding away from the world. Hannah, who found me on the Jellicoe Road six years ago.

Taylor is the leader of the boarders at the Jellicoe School. She has to keep the upper hand in the territory wars and deal with Jonah Griggs – the enigmatic leader of the cadets, and someone she thought she would never see again.

And now Hannah, the person Taylor had come to rely on, has disappeared. Taylor’s only clue is a manuscript about five kids who lived in Jellicoe eighteen years ago. She needs to find out more, but this means confronting her own story, making sense of her strange, recurring dream, and finding her mother – who abandoned her on the Jellicoe Road.

The moving, joyous and brilliantly compelling new novel from the best-selling, multi-award-winning author of Looking for Alibrandi and Saving Francesca.


~My Thoughts~

I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when I opened to the first page of On the Jellicoe Road, except a highly recommended novel by an amazing author. Did I find that? You betcha. But it is one hell of a ride to reach that point.

I must admit, I found the first 100-150 pages terribly confusing. I was lost and confused, and to be honest, a little disheartened because my expectations were so high and I was feeling like something was wrong with me for my confusion and not feeling as highly about it as others. BUT, bit by bit, pieces started to pull together. As they fell into place, my love grew with each page and I finally started to see what so many others did. I often found myself laughing and of course there was the crying. I did a LOT of that. But more than anything I felt honored to follow along this incredible journey with Taylor, the main character. She has gone through more than anyone should, but she was so strong, even when she didn’t feel like she was. She becomes a part of the reader and that is what I was hoping for and what makes this novel the greatness it is.

That being said, I do think it is important to state that I do have a little bit of confusion lingering upon completion. The plot is complicated and intertwined with a story of the past that greatly affects Taylor’s journey. When it all unfolds it is spectacular, but I truly feel like this is one of those books that you have to reread to feel the full impact, and honestly, when you get to the end, you WANT to reread it. I just know my reread will make me fall in love even more than I did the first time and I look forward to that feeling.

There is a huge cast of characters but no one did I love more than Jonah Griggs. *sigh* He was sweet, yet intense. He wanted to be anywhere Taylor was and put her first before all else. He is the guy who would do anything for you, and who doesn’t love that? His story is also heartbreaking, but Taylor and Jonah together were strong and magical. Every scene the two shared was one of my favorites.

It is so hard for me to express my feelings for novels that touched me as deeply as this one did so I will leave you with some of my favorite quotes:

         “Never,” he tells me in a tone full of ice, “under-estimate who or what I
       care for.”

There’s that intensity I mentioned.

          When I turn around, he cups my face in his hands and he kisses me so
       deeply that I don’t know who is breathing for who, but his mouth and
       tongue taste like honey. I don’t know how long it lasts, but when I let go
       of him, I miss it instantly.

          “If you weren’t driving, I’d kiss you senseless,” I tell him. He swerves to 
       the side of the road and stops the car abruptly. “Not driving any more.”


           I’m not looking for anything more than being a part of him. Because being 
        a part of him isn’t just anything. It’s kind of everything.

If you are looking for a novel to touch your heart, then this is the one for you.

Sara @ Forever 17 Books

10 Responses to “Review: On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta”

  1. Jennifer Messerschmidt

    I’ve heard such great things about this but I also heard it is a bit confusing and that kind of turned me off. Also the emotional part. I cry so easily. I hope it has HEA? lol Sometime when I am in the mood for an emotional journey I might pick this up!

  2. YA Novelties

    I love Melina Marchetta’s books so much! Her Finnikin of the Rock and Saving Francesca are some of my fave books of their genres. I have heard of Jellicoe Road, but it never really crossed my mind to read it. Reading your review makes me realize that I need to read this like now! I desperately need another Marchetta dosage!

    Angie @YA Novelties

    • sarabara081 @ Forever 17 Books

      I just read Saving Francesca last week and thought it was good. And I really liked Finnikin of the Rock when I read it a few months back. I had some confusion with Finnikin but overall loved it. MM is awesome at writing amazing characters who easily become some of your favorites. I hope you give this one a try!

  3. Nina

    Yay, I am so happy that you joined the readalong and that you liked the book! It definitely gets even better when you reread it, just because it’s not as confusing:) But I LOVE this story, and am glad I got to share that with this readalong:) Great review!

  4. nea barabea

    Beautiful review Sara!! Really 😉 And I felt the same way you did!! Like it was something wrong with me because I didn’t understand lol 😛 And it felt magical and amazing to be part of Taylor’s journey to me as well <3 <3 And Jonah!! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaa that guy OMG YES!! 😛 😛 Great quotes you've picked 😉 😉 Love them too <3

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