Read: August 2011 - a year ago!
Source: Library book. Then purchase!
Category: YA (older teens)
Jellicoe Road was one of my favorite reads of 2011. In fact, it's one of the best books I've EVER read (yes, you heard that right). I wish I'd discovered it sooner. In reading other reviews or talking to friends to whom I've recommended it, I've found that people either LOVED Jellicoe Road or they couldn't get into the story. The most common complaint I've heard is that it is confusing for the first 100 pages, and people lose interest. For those of you that don't get my love for this book, or want to gush along with me, I'm going to tell you why I love Jellicoe Road.
To find the book description click HERE.
Some slight SPOILERS throughout but I warn before you get to them.
5 reasons (for 5 stars!) of why Jellicoe Road is one of my favorite books of all time:
1. The Writing - Melina Marchetta's writing style is gorgeous and lyrical, and throughout Jellicoe Road she produces an abundance of profound statements and quotable quotes that blew me away.
I remember love. It's what I have to keep on reminding myself. It's funny how you can forget everything except people loving you. Maybe that's why humans find it so hard getting over love affairs. It's not the pain they're getting over, it's the love.2. Slowly Revealing Characters (or I love Jonah Griggs)- I love how the characters in Jellicoe Road were revealed to the reader throughout the course of the novel. Take Jonah Griggs for instance. I love him. He holds a very special place in my heart. But the first things we learn about Jonah are that he is a "thug" and violent. And when Taylor sees him in the book, she says,
Jonah Griggs is a tank. His face is blunter, meaner than I remember. Hair cropped. Eyes cold. Arms folded. He has perfected the art of looking straight at someone while avoiding eye contact.What has made him that way? And how can he be all those things and still be one of my favorite male characters of all time? READ the book and find out.
3. Melodrama - Maybe this isn't everyone's favorite thing about Marchetta's writing. But I love how well she captures the big emotions of teens - both highs and lows. Her characters say and do outrageous things. And teenagers are all about drama (or at least I was). So I love it. The melodrama also helps to balance out the serious, emotional parts of the story. (This quote may be a SPOILER:)
"This is the best night of my life," Raffy says, crying.4. Re-Readability (is that a word?) - I could literal flip to ANY page in Jellicoe Road and start reading and get lost in the book again. It is rare - to nonexistent - when I love EVERY moment of a story. This is that book for me.
"Raffy, half our House has burnt down," I say wearily. "We don't have a kitchen."
"Why do you always have to be so pessimistic?" she asks. "We can double up in our rooms and have a barbecue every night like the Cadets."
Silently I vow to keep Raffy around for the rest of my life.
I fall in love with these kids over and over again and my heart aches for their tragedies and marvels at their friendship. And it’s like we’ve been talking for five minutes instead of five hours.5. Showing not Telling - Marchetta is the master at writing scene that seem simple and insignificant, but say SO MUCH about her characters (I mentioned this about Maggie Stiefvater in my review of Scorpio Races - they both do this well).
This is the biggest reason why I love Jellicoe Road so I'm going to spend some time on it. My example is a SPOILER (sorry!), though it does not reveal details about the plot. Read it at your discretion.
Part of Jellicoe Road is about Taylor trying to figure out who she is and how she fits into the world.
These people have history and I crave history. I crave someone knowing me so well that they can tell what I'm thinking.At some point in the book, Taylor is standing in line at a café with Jonah, and she's watching the "cheerful" employees know their customer's orders before they say anything.
And I wish they'd do the same with me. Just look up and recognize me and know exactly what I order every day.Taylor's so depressed by this, that she's become a bit moody. And possibly isn't paying attention when it's her turn at the counter.
Griggs orders coffee and bacon and eggs for himself then looks at me. I shrug.That is one of my favorite scenes of the book, because it's just one small moment in the story. But in those few lines you realize that Taylor has what she's been wishing for all along. She does have people who care about her, including Jonah. He knows exactly what to order her for breakfast without her having to say anything. I still get chills thinking about that scene.
"White toast and marmalade and hot chocolate," he say, and it doesn't surprise me just how much he's taken in about me.
Lest you think I'm blinded by my love for this book, I will say one thing that slightly bothered me about the story. I did figure some things out way before the main characters did. BUT all the reasons I LOVED the book far outweighed this small detail. So it's still 5 stars for me!
What is your favorite scene or quote in Jellicoe Road?
Rating: 5 STARS!
Love Triangle Factor: None!