Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Published By: Penguin

Date of Publication: September 1, 2006

Categories:Contemporary, Fiction, YA

Pages: 300

Summary (from goodreads.com): My father took one hundred and thirty two minutes to die.

‘I counted.

‘It happened on the Jellicoe Road. The prettiest road I’d ever seen, where trees made breezy canopies like a tunnel to Shangri-La. We were going to the ocean, hundreds of kilometres away, because I wanted to see the ocean and my father said that it was about time the four of us made that journey. I remember asking, “What’s the difference between a trip and a journey?” and my father said, “Narnie, my love, when we get there, you’ll understand,” and that was the last thing he ever said.

‘We heard her almost straight away. In the other car, wedged into ours so deep that you couldn’t tell where one began and the other ended. She told us her name was Tate and then she squeezed through the glass and the steel and climbed over her own dead – just to be with Webb and me; to give us her hand so we could clutch it with all our might. And then a kid called Fitz came riding by on a stolen bike and saved our lives.

‘Someone asked us later, “Didn’t you wonder why no one came across you sooner?”

‘Did I wonder?

‘When you see your parents zipped up in black body bags on the Jellicoe Road like they’re some kind of garbage, don’t you know?

‘Wonder dies.’

Review: This book started out a lot like The Book Thief did for me. 75 pages into Jellicoe Road, I wasn’t convinced that it was the book for me. However, I had heard so many people tell me that it was an amazing book, their favorite even, and that they loved it. So I decided to give it a few more chapters to grab my attention. Boy am I glad I did, just like with The Book Thief, it took me awhile to ‘get’ the writing style. Once I got it though, I thought it was amazing.

I think the big thing that threw me in the beginning was that the story switched between two storylines – two groups of teens – I had trouble keeping all the characters straight and ended up confusing myself. But about half way through I was able to keep things straight, and the confusion was definitely worth it by the time I was done reading it.

Melina Marchetta created a cast of amazing characters. Without really realizing it, I ended up pretty attached to a couple of them, specifically Taylor and Jonah. They were very real to me, and I went through all the same emotions that they did as the story progressed.

In addition to the characters, I was impressed with how the setting came alive for me. It was almost like another character. I’ve never been to Australia, but from the way Melina described the landscape, I felt like I was actually there. Because so much of the story takes place outside, being able to imagine myself outside with the characters made such a difference in how much I enjoyed reading it.

Not that this has anything to do with the actual book, but when I borrowed it from the library it was categorized as science fiction. Nothing that I had read about it indicated that it was anything other than contemporary, so I was a little confused to say the least – I kept waiting for a time machine, or aliens, or something to explain why it had a science fiction sticker on it. But, needless to say, I think it was just mislabeled. So maybe that accounts for at least a little bit of my confusion in the beginning.

If you’re looking for a great read about characters that you’ll remember long after you’re finished reading it, not ot mention that amazing setting, I would definitely recommend Jellicoe Road.

Image: goodreads.com

Disclosure: I borrowed this book from the library.

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She’s So Dead To Us by Kieran Scott

Published By: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing

Year of Publication: May 25 2010

Categories: YA

Pages: 278

Summary (from goodreads.com): When having money is all that matters, what happens when you lose it all?

Perfect, picturesque Orchard Hill. It was the last thing Ally Ryan saw in the rear-view mirror as her mother drove them out of town and away from the shame of the scandal her father caused when his hedge fund went south and practically bankrupted all their friends — friends that liked having trust funds and new cars, and that didn’t like constant reminders that they had been swindled. So it was adios, Orchard Hill. Thanks for nothing.

Now, two years later, Ally’s mother has landed a job back at the site of their downfall. So instead of Ally’s new low-key, happy life, it’ll be back into the snake pit with the likes of Shannen Moore and Hammond Ross.

But then there’s Jake Graydon. Handsome, wealthy, bored Jake Graydon. He moved to town after Ally left and knows nothing of her scandal, but does know that he likes her. And she likes him. So off into the sunset they can go, right? Too bad Jake’s friends have a problem with his new crush since it would make Ally happy. And if anyone deserves to be unhappy, it’s Ally Ryan.

Ally was hoping to have left all the drama in the past, but some things just can’t be forgotten. Isn’t there more to life than money?

Review: First off, I really enjoyed the writing in She’s So Dead To Us. I thought it was top notch, easy to read, with enough detail to make it seem like you’re right there in the story, but not too many details that you get overwhelmed.

The story was told from the alternating viewpoints of Ally – a Norm whose family is middle class – and Jake – a Crestie who family is upper class. Ally used to be a Crestie, until her dad lost most of her friends’ parent’s money. Her dad ended up leaving, and now Ally has to try to figure out where she belongs in her high school,as well as figure out her feelings for Jake. The problem with Jake is that there’s pretty much no way a Norm and a Crestie could date at Orchard View High School.

There are a couple villains in this book, and I thought Kieran Scott did a great job at creating their characters. You could understand where their motivation came from, but at the same time they were so cruel to Ally, I couldn’t understand why they’d do that to her.

The only not so great part about this book was the ending. I thought it ended a little too quickly, leaving some lose ends. I felt like there was a chapter missing. The good news is that there will be a sequel, due out summer 2011. I’m not sure if I can wait that long to find out what happens to Ally and Jake though.

Disclosure: I borrowed this book from the library.

Image: Goodreads