Review–Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Jellicoe Road
by Melina Marchetta

Summary: 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 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.

Source: I purchased a Kindle copy.

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I wanted to love this book. I was so sure I would. I remember epicreads posting quotes and pictures on Instagram and I immediately bought the book. So what happened?

The book began in a very confusing way. There was no introduction to the character. It went from a italicized prologue to a 22 years later heading and then straight into the narration of Taylor Markham. Her voice was not different from the italicized sections, so at first I thought my Kindle bugged out and I wasn’t reading the beginning because I was so confused. Who is narrating? Is this not the same person? Where are we? What is happening? What war? WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON?! Why am I supposed to care? What is important? WTF?!

I felt like that for about 30% of the book, which is quite a large section to be confused and irritated. I knew from other reviews that the book would pick up soon and make sense, but I promised myself I would not rate it 5 stars even if I loved it because I wouldn’t forget how irritated the beginning was. Yes, now that I’m done it makes sense. Yes, it was a good story. Yes, I even cried. But the execution of Jellicoe Road was horrible and it’s not okay. I don’t forgive the author for the beginning. It should have done what beginnings of stories are supposed to do and explain, build, and draw me in. Not confuse the hell out of everyone. It’s not brilliant that it all “comes to together in the end” and makes sense. It’s crap.

I loved the actual plot. I eventually enjoyed Taylor’s narration, even if I never quite connected with her. I still don’t feel like I knew her at all, but at least the pieces of her life were put together. I loved the end result of Jellicoe Road. It could have been an unforgettable and amazing story. I cannot say whether anyone was believable because I felt so disconnected from everyone. I was so confused for so long. I was angry at Taylor for being dull and not giving me more information. I liked figuring out who was who and finding out so many memories and layers were all interconnected, but I wish the execution of the story was different and smoother.

I wish I could give Jellicoe Road more credit for being amazing, but I just couldn’t get over the way it was told. I am frustrated that it wasn’t better and more organized because I would have absolutely loved it. I am used to strange writing styles, being thrown into a story, and being told two different stories. I’m used to YA. I’m used to this kind of fiction. Unfortunately, this just didn’t work for me. I am giving it 3 stars because it was a good story, so I don't want to underrate it.


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