Friday, May 31, 2013

Beach Week: Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

 Our very last post for beach week comes from Katie as she takes a look at the Printz winner from one of TATAL's very favorite authors: Melina Marchetta.

Two years ago, I took a book to the Outer Banks of North Carolina and proceeded to park myself on a blanket for the entirety of the long weekend with my nose stuffed between the pages of Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. This was beach reading taken to a whole new level. There was humor, summer days, friendship, and romance. But there was also a 16-year-old mystery, genuine suffering, and an intensity of emotion that only author Melina Marchetta can pull off. Whether you like your waves with a side of edge-of-your-blanket suspense or of summer loving, this book is for you.

From the opening lines you know this book is different, this book is quite simply more:

“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...”

What follows is the story of Taylor Markham, a girl raised at the Jellicoe School who has just been made head of her house when the summer comes and the Territory Wars with the townies and the cadets commence. The wars require all of Taylor’s attention if she is to lead, but that’s hard to give when Hannah--who has been her guardian for years now--disappears without a word and secrets from the past keep popping up. And speaking of the past, don’t even get Taylor started on Jonah Griggs, who betrayed her years ago and who is now head of the cadets and her fiercest competition in the Territory Wars.

As Taylor pieces together the clues Hannah left behind, she discovers she has more support than a girl who was once abandoned at a 7-11 might have reason to suspect. And with the help of her friends, she may just discover who she is and where she belongs.

While at times utterly tragic, Jellicoe Road is also refreshingly smart, intricately plotted, and compulsively readable, as generations of friendship and romance are woven into this remarkable book. It’s also excellent company on summer vacation, whether you are beach bound or simply want to discover Jellicoe Road from the comfort of your home.

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