At age eleven, Taylor Markham was abandoned by her mother. At fourteen, she ran away from boarding school, only to be tracked down and brought back by a mysterious stranger. Now seventeen, Taylor’s the reluctant leader of her school’s underground community, whose annual territory war with the Townies and visiting Cadets has just begun. This year, though, the Cadets are led by Jonah Griggs, and Taylor can’t avoid his intense gaze for long. To make matters worse, Hannah, the one adult Taylor trusts, has disappeared. But if Taylor can piece together the clues Hannah left behind, the truth she uncovers might not just settle her past, but also change her future.
Published: First published August 2006, republished in March 2010
Publisher: First by Penguin Australia, republished by Harper Teen
Rating: 5/5 STARS
In this lyrical, absorbing, award-winning novel, nothing is as it seems, and every clue leads to more questions.
“My father took one hundred and thirty-two minutes to die. I counted. It happened on the Jellicoe Road. The prettiest road i’d ever seen, where trees made breezy canopies like a tunnel to Shangri-la”
So opens one of the most incredible books i’ve ever read. Lyrical and full of gorgeous prose, clue after clue leading to more questions and family dynamics and friendships beautifully fleshed out, Jellicoe Road is a story of lost family, love found and friendships formed.
I’ll admit that I was incredibly confused for the first half of this book. The references to Hannah’s life story didn’t fully make sense to me, mainly because I couldn’t tell who was who. The connection didn’t form for me until little details met up. And they did so subtly and in a way that made me question if I could even be right. Taylor was a beautifully flawed character. I absolutely loved the friendships she gained as a result of the territory wars. It took something that had once been a solution to boredom, which over the years turned into serious battles, and turned it back into a way for the Jellicoe students, the Townies and the Cadets to become friends.
My absolute favourite part of Jellicoe Road was Marchetta’s writing. It was so subtle in it’s beauty but there were some seriously gorgeous passages in there. My second favourite thing was her development of Taylor finding out about her past. Hannah’s manuscript for her story, which Taylor believes to just be made up, rather than her actual past, is the main clue to Taylor discovering where she comes from and the “Fucked Up Five”‘s history together. When Hannah disappears, it is this story that is Taylor’s connection to the one adult she has ever trusted.
The relationships between Taylor and her mom, Taylor and her friends, Taylor and Griggs, and Taylor and the girls she mentors along with her relationship with Hannah, was incredibly well developed. I felt every single thing each character went through. Her descriptions of the scenery were beautiful too. The river and the school and especially the Prayer Tree. I loved every bit of it!
I absolutely cannot believe that it has taken me so long to read Jellicoe Road! I will be reading basically everything she has ever written, thats for sure. I own Finnikin of The Rock and have picked it up to peek through before but i’ll actually read it now! Jellicoe Road was just an intensely beautiful story of family, friendship and love that will stick with me forever.
Have you read Jellicoe Road? If so, please tell me what you thought of it! I absolutely know I am not alone in what I am feeling for this book and I want to know what you all think! Let me know in the comments below!