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Jellicoe Road Paperback – March 9, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 8 Up—For years, three factions—Townies, Cadets (city kids doing a six-week outdoor education program), and Jellicoe School students—have engaged in teen war games in the Australian countryside, defending territorial borders, negotiating for assets, and even taking hostages. Taylor Markham, a 17-year-old who was abandoned years ago by her mother, takes on leadership of the boarding school's six Houses. Plagued with doubts about being boss, she's not sure she can handle her Cadet counterpart, Jonah Griggs, whom she met several years before while running away to find her mother. When Hannah, a sort of house mother who has taken Taylor under her wing, disappears, Taylor puzzles over the book manuscript the woman left behind. Hannah's tale involves a tragic car accident on the Jellicoe Road more than 20 years earlier. Only three children survived, and Taylor discovers that this trio, plus a Cadet and a Townie, developed an epic friendship that was the foundation of the many mysteries in her life and identity, as well as of the war games. While the novel might put off casual readers, patient, thoughtful teens will remain to extract clues from the interwoven scraps of Hannah's narrative, just as Taylor does, all the while seeing the collapse of the barriers erected among the three groups over the years. Elegiac passages and a complex structure create a somewhat dense, melancholic narrative with elements of romance, mystery, and realistic fiction.—Suzanne Gordon, Peachtree Ridge High School, Suwanee, GA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Taylor Markham isn’t just one of the new student leaders of her boarding school, she’s also the heir to the Underground Community, one of three battling school factions in her small Australian community (the others being the Cadets and the Townies). For a generation, these three camps have fought “the territory wars,” a deadly serious negotiation of land and property rife with surprise attacks, diplomatic immunities, and physical violence. Only this year, it’s complicated: Taylor might just have a thing for Cadet leader Jonah, and Jonah might just be the key to unlocking the secret identity of Taylor’s mother, who abandoned her when she was 11. In fact, nearly every relationship in Taylor’s life has unexpected ties to her past, and the continual series of revelations is both the book’s strength and weakness; the melodrama can be trying, but when Marchetta isn’t forcing epiphanies, she has a knack for nuanced characterizations and punchy dialogue. The complexity of the backstory will be offputting to younger readers, but those who stick it out will find rewards in the heartbreaking twists of Marchetta’s saga. Grades 9-12. --Daniel Kraus --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen; 1 Reprint edition (March 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061431850
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061431852
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (231 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,397 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

As for Melina Marchetta's writing: absolutely beautiful.
The alternate story gave a way to add a depth to Taylor's character, and a past she didn't even understand or know about until near the end of the book.
Ryan Grooms
There are a lot of things going on in this book, and, for a while, you just kind of have to take it on faith that it will all make sense in the end.
Lawral Wornek

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 25 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on August 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Taylor Markam was abandoned by her mother at a 7-Eleven on Jellicoe Road when she was a mere eleven years old. Only moments later a woman by the name of Hannah picked her up and brought her to the Jellicoe School. Now she is seventeen and finds that Hannah is a rock in her inconsistent life. While she has Hannah, Taylor doesn't know much about her family except the horror stories she remembers of her mother.

She does find comfort, though, in a manuscript that Hannah has written about a group of five friends who met in the worst circumstances, but developed a remarkable friendship when they only had each other. When Hannah just up and leaves, Taylor doesn't understand what has happened and she becomes a wreck. Not only does she have to deal with Hannah's disappearance, but she has just been named the head of her House and the leader of the school kids in the annual territory wars against the "Townies" and "Cadets."

In the war, the three groups battle and negotiate, following an extensive set of rules that might as well be history. As the war wages on, Taylor learns to take an active role in her community, as well as develop relationships that she never thought possible. Especially with Jonah Griggs, the leader of the Cadets, whom she already has quite a history with.

This war will be like no other. It will not only be between the normal three parties, but among friends, hearts desires, and, most of all, Taylor herself.

From the title I was expecting a light and fun read. Wow, was I wrong! This book is filled with heartbreak, joy, laughter, and sorrow. It completely blew me away and surpassed every expectation I had, even though I was expecting something completely different.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Paula A. Berman on March 29, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Jellicoe Road is an engaging read, and I flew through it, but upon reflection I have several qualms. The first is that the book begins so confusingly. Yes, there is pay off for the obscurantist beginning, but it was far from the most engaging way to begin the book. I found the flashback storyline that starts in the prologue is told in a (possibly deliberately) confusing and difficult to follow way. However, I did unravel the book's mystery about halfway though, long before Taylor, the protagonist, ever did, and she had a lot more information than I did. Made me wonder why a character depicted as so sharp was so dense when it came to this matter. Marchetta gives her selective amnesia about her past, but I found that rather ham handed and contrived.

My main issue with the book, then, was all the secrets. Why not level with Taylor about her family? Why keep the kid in the dark about who her father is and how he died, who her aunt is, just exactly what her mother is up to, and who the Brigadier is? She was obviously tormented by the mystery, but instead of telling her, her beloved Hannah just disappears, nary a word. Her mother had also abandoned her, and no one tells her anything. These adults, who we are to believe love her and each other so much, lie to her for years through omission despite her burning need to know, so deep that she ran away to try to get some answers when she was 14. None were forthcoming. Do people really treat children they love this way? And to what end? She knows that everyone around her has more information than she does, and they just dole it out in little dribbles, surely a technique that it meant to serve the plot more than it is to serve as realistic character development.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I can honestly say, this is one of the best books i've ever read. It's my favourite, along with Saving Francesca. My sister got our first edition from her friend in Australia. While she was reading it I was not interested in it until she forced me to read it. I couldn't put it down.
Taylor Markham is an abandoned child in Jellicoe School. She lives in a boarding school. Her care taker is a girl called Hannah, whom Taylor is very close to. Taylor strives to find the truth about who she is. Along with her friends Ben Cassidy, Raffaela, and Santangelo she finds that friendship is the closest thing she can have to a family. Along the way she falls in love with the enemy, unearth secrets about her past, and is the leader in a war she does not want to happen.
This book made me laugh, and from a specific point onwards I cry non-stop, despite having read it over ten times. Easy read and catchy plot, Melina Marchetta does not fail you!
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By YA Book Queen VINE VOICE on October 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I'll admit it, I amost gave up on this novel. I put it off for weeks, after reading only 30 pages, because it just wasn't grabbing me. Yet, I continued to hear how incredible it was, and after a few weeks I promised myself I'd just jump in and finish it before I moved onto another book.

I'm so glad I did continue and gave JELLICOE ROAD another chance. I've read so many YA books, and I've never been one for having favorite anythings, but this novel is seriously close to topping the charts of all books that I've read. The beginning is slow-moving and it does not make much sense, but as the story continues, the magic happens. I learned more about Taylor Markham's life, the mysteries wrapped around her, and the "wars" she participated in. I don't want to say much about the plot because I'd hate to ruin the magic of the story, but this book was extraordinary and so much more than I expected it to be. I'd highly recommend it.

HIGHLIGHTS: Weaving the stories from the past into Hannah's manuscript, I loved learning everything with Taylor. There was always more to keep me curious, keep me turning the pages. I also loved the "wars", because they were so entertaining at times. Jonah's backstory was a blow to me, and I wasn't expecting what he says to Taylor about the day at the train station. It was an interesting shock, and I'm rarely surprised when reading.

LOWLIGHTS: It was incredibly hard to get into at first, but as I got to chapter 3, or 4, I was was hooked. I didn't want it to end.
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