Thursday, October 23, 2008

Enchanting Review: Jellicoe Road

Contemporary YA
ISBN# 978-0-06-143183-8
419 pages
Print – Available now

Rating: 5 Enchantments

Xavier Webster Schroeder, better known as Webb, was a friendly and fun-loving guy who was always full of life. He was the string that held his group of friends so close together. He was Narnie’s caring brother, Tate’s lifeline, Jude’s buddy, and Fitz’s partner in crime. All five were inseparable, and they did everything together, including creating a game called the territory wars between the Townies, Cadets, and the kids of Jellicoe School.

Twenty-two years later, the territory wars have become a much more serious tradition and are no longer the silly game they were intended to be. Taylor Markham is the leader of the Underground Community at Jellicoe School, which mean she’s in charge of one of the teams in the territory wars. She has worked hard for this position because she believes it will give her the freedom she craves—the freedom to find her mother who abandoned her six years earlier.

But Taylor has many more responsibilities that take up her time, like developing strategies to implement in the territory wars and taking care of all the students in her dormitory house. And then Hannah disappears, and Taylor loses the closest thing she has to a parent and friend at Jellicoe School. Consumed with worry, Taylor starts to lose the self-control she has worked so hard to develop for the past six years and bit by bit, long-buried memories start to come back to the present. People she never thought she’d never see again, like Jonah Griggs, and those she wished she had never met, like the Brigadier reenter her life and little details that she once thought were insignificant are coming back to haunt her. In this incredibly moving and beautifully written masterpiece, Melina Marchetta weaves an unforgettable story about friendship, family, love, and redemption.

JELLICOE ROAD is without a doubt one of the best books I have ever read. Although it starts off a bit confusing, with two interconnected yet seemingly separate narratives, the story is just so captivating and thankfully becomes much clearer. It is easy to tell that all the small details of this story were written with care. The plot may seem a bit messy at times, especially because there are so many events occurring or being remembered that don’t seem related, but when all these incidents turn out to be connected, it seems to obvious that they were in the first place. Even with all these different smaller stories going on, I was never distracted from the main plot and all the details were surprisingly easy to remember. As the plot was created so carefully, so were the characters, especially Taylor. Emotions just pour out from the pages through Taylor and Griggs which allowed me to connect with them in a way I don’t usually do when reading. Marchetta has a way of drawing the reader into the story so they feel they are right next to the characters even though they are outside the book. The emotional journey the characters experience is so moving and so wonderfully drawn out. I highly recommend JELLICOE ROAD, an incredibly beautifully written novel, to all readers.

Melina Marchetta is the author of two other award-winning novels, LOOKING FOR ALIBRANDI and SAVING FRANCESCA, which I look forward to reading in the future, as well as the upcoming FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK.

Rachael Stein
Enchanting Reviews
October 2008

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