Sunday, 8 April 2012

On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Don't judge a book by its cover! Yes, this does look like a cheap crime novel in which a girl gets brutally killed and thrown into a ditch by the side of the highway. It's not like that at all (thankfully)!

No one can write compelling, secret-filled stories like Melina Marchetta can. I started this book before a long road trip and read it all the way through winding roads- I commanded my carsickness to subside so I could finish the book!

The way the mysteries are set up in this book remind me a lot of Finnikin of the Rock. It starts off with an incomplete story in the beginning, and through the course of the book builds the full picture. The way all the different clues come together at the end is just so goregeous, and I've never seen it done the same in any other book. That said, it is a realistic fiction novel, so it does have the friendship aspects of Saving Francesca.

Have I got you intruiged yet? Good. Now for some plot summary.

Taylor Markham has just been appointed the school captain of her boarding school on the Jellicoe Road (yes, all the events in this book take place near the Jellicoe Road, hence the title). This means that not only does she have a House to take care of, she also has to lead the territory wars that have been going on for as long as she can remember. She has to negotiate with the Townies and the Cadets to win more territory for her school. However, this process is complicated by the fact that she has some...ahem...history with the leader of the Cadets, Jonah Griggs. When she tried to run away and find her mother, he was there too.

And then there's this whole issue of who her parents are. Her mother left her at a 7-11, and less than five minutes later, Hannah picked her up and brought her to the school. It wasn't a coincidence. After Hannah disappears, she leaves behind a manuscript with a story of five children, three of which were victims of a horrific car crash, all of whom have many memories on the Jellicoe Road.

Yeah, the plot is pretty complicated, but I really like that. Different mysteries weave in and out of your mind, only to pop back later, answered. The parts where Taylor is negotiating had me cheering inside my head. (GO! FIGHT! KILL!) She's such a wonderful and strong character, playing the complex politics of this war. I was almost disappointed when the wars took a less prominent role in the later half of the book, but I've gotta say, the romance between her and (I won't spoil this for you) is very, very cute.

A beautiful, intricate, fantastic read that'll leave you thinking and rereading for weeks.

If you loved this book, you'll like:

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
Protector of the Small, the Immortals, and the Lioness quartets by Tamora Pierce