Thursday, November 1, 2012

Book in Review: Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta



In this lyrical, absorbing, award-winning novel, nothing is as it seems, and every clue leads to more questions.

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.

Why I Read This:

Very many recommendations.


When I started Jellicoe Road, I was very confused. It's one of those books where you learn little things along the way. Nothing is set out from the beginning, and you are slowly immersed in the world, only coming to that understanding part-way through. The one that leads to a revelation, an AHA! moment. So, it took a lot of "sticking with it" and a lot faith that all the 5-star reviews out there meant it would make sense at some point.

I'm glad I did! Jellicoe Road is not only a beautiful portrait of the world around Taylor Markham, a 17 year old girl trying to figure out where she belongs, but also the world of friends. Not just any friends, but ones that love each other with abandon. 

I think the most well written portion of this book was the "manuscript". My favourite character was Jude. Despite the fact he was a Cadet in the army he seemed to have the most heart out of all the bunch. My favourite character in the present day Jellicoe Road was Griggs, also a Cadet. I guess I just really loved that aspect of the book though.

As for plot, I thought that the territory wars was a brilliant idea. In a town where kids don't have much to do for entertainment and there is this tension between schools and townies, it seemed the perfect way to pass their time. The tension between the characters was entertaining and made me want to turn the pages.

Taylor and Grigg's relationship was one that had the most tension, and though it seems they really do like each other we aren't really sure what's going through their heads until they make up their minds how they feel about one another. Taylor's story and her quest to find her mother of course made for some interesting sub-plots and ways for the gang to all get together, but it also brought her and Griggs really close.

This book is heart-breaking, it's intense, and it's fun. There is also this element of mystery I mentioned above, both with the way it is written and with Taylor's quest to find her mother. Unfortunately I couldn't *really* get into it like I should have because I refused to break down into a ball of tears in front of my family. So, for some parts I did have to distance myself from the story. I think if I could give myself the proper time to read again, I would give this book an even higher rating.

Definitely read if you haven't yet!


My Rating:


I bought my copy.

post signature


  1. I haven't heard too much about this book, I mean, I've seen it around and nothing except this has really convinced me to pick it up. But I am a tad confused on the plot, it seems like an action adventure mixed with a tad comtemporary. Hmmm.

    1. It is definitely more contemporary than adventure.

  2. Totally agree about the beginning. It is definitely one you have to stick with, and it is so worth it! Great review! :)

    ~Sara @ Forever 17 Books

  3. Glad you stuck with it, Erika, and glad you could mostly enjoy it. =) A lot of people find it tough to get into... I don't know why I didn't, because most of the time books like that drive me crazy. I'm so thankful that I listened to reviews/recommendations, because I really find this to be one of the most beautiful books I've ever read.