Saturday, 21 April 2012

Review: On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Title and Author: On the Jellicoe Road, Melina Marchetta
Format: Paperback
Pages: 300
Release Date: August 28th, 2006
Publisher: Penguin Australia

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.

Melina Marchetta is one of my favourite authors of all time. I trust her whole-heartedly to create beautiful, captivating stories that anyone can cherish and enjoy. But even with this trust in my heart, I was surprised by the pure brilliantness of Jellicoe Road. This is probably my favourite book of hers. In fact, it is one of the books I hold dearest to my heart. 

I'm not even sure if I can structure this in to a review because my mind is just all over the place after re-reading it for the third time. The novel starts off slow and confusing. Everything felt disjointed and I couldn't connect with Taylor at all. But this passed after a few chapters and then suddenly everything came together and the two story lines became more evidently related than I had originally thought. Jellicoe Road introduces us to a lot of characters and it does feel overwhelming to begin with but after some time, after you get to know them as though they were real, they became important and interesting in their own ways. Every character was complex and had a history. I'm not going to even bother describing each and every one of them for you because that would take a whole novel to do. All I can say is you'll learn to love every single one of them, including Taylor and Jonah and Narnie and Webb and all the others.

The territory wars were a brilliant idea. It was essentially a war for territory between the Cadets, the Townies and the school. The Cadets' leader this year is Jonah Griggs who happens to be a part of Taylor Markham's past. As for the Townies, their leader is Santangelo who has a bit of his own history with one of Taylor's friends, Raffaela. I loved how they formed such tight bonds by the end and everything was just beautifully written. 

In the other story-line that takes place some time ago, there are five kids: Webb, Narnie, Tate, Fitz and Jules. Their story was just as heart-wrenching. I was really attached to all of them and the way their stories were carried out made me sob. Yes, actual sobbing. In fact, Jellicoe Road made me sob a lot. 

I can't stress how much I loved this book and how I think everybody should read it at least once in their lifetime. Melina Marchetta, I bow down to you. Thank you for writing such a heart-breaking, enchanting novel. 


  1. Melina Marchetta is one of my favorite authors too and Jellicoe Road is pure brilliance. Great review, you really did this book justice.

    1. Jellicoe Road is probably one of my favourite books in all of history, to be honest :) I'm glad I was able to do the book justice and thank you!

  2. This is my alltime favourite Marchetta book! Like Sarah said above, Jellicoe Road is pure brilliance. Jonah Griggs! ♥

    Awesome review, Jenni! So glad you enjoyed it! :)