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On the Jellicoe Road

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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.

290 pages, Paperback

First published August 28, 2006

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About the author

Melina Marchetta

30 books7,553 followers
Melina Marchetta was born in Sydney Australia. Her first novel, Looking For Alibrandi was awarded the Children's Book Council of Australia award in 1993 and her second novel, Saving Francesca won the same award in 2004. Looking For Alibrandi was made into a major film in 2000 and won the Australian Film Institute Award for best Film and best adapted screen play, also written by the author. On the Jellicoe Road was released in 2006 and won the US Printz Medal in 2009 for excellence in YA literature. This was followed up by Finnikin of the Rock in 2008 which won the Aurealis Award for YA fantasy, The Piper's Son in 2010 which was shortlisted for the Qld Premier's Lit Award, NSW Premier's Lit Award, Prime Minister's Literary Awards, CBC awards and longlisted for the Miles Franklin Award. Her follow up to Finnikin, Froi of the Exiles and Quintana of Charyn were released in 2012 and 2013. Her latest novel Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil is an adult crime novel.

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5 stars
24,071 (48%)
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3 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 7,241 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,993 reviews298k followers
January 27, 2019
There's a monster in my mirror with puffy bloodshot eyes because she stayed up most of the night, crying and reading On the Jellicoe Road. But it was worth it.

Melina Marchetta never fails to remind me why she is one of my favourite authors and, in my opinion, this is the best of her books I've read so far. It's very difficult to put into words how I feel about On the Jellicoe Road. All I can say is that my heart has been ripped out and shredded, my throat has sealed up with emotion, and when I finally get some sleep, I get the feeling I'll probably dream about Jonah Griggs.

The story is of Taylor Markham, a girl who was abandoned by her mother as a young child and now resides in a boarding school for kids who are troubled, neglected or criminally inclined. Her closest friend and mentor is Hannah, a woman who lives on the edge of the school grounds. Taylor is elected as a leader in the territory war games played by her school with the Townies (locals) and Cadets.

Taylor tries to balance this responsibility with her own worries about Hannah's sudden disappearance and her belief that it is connected to her mother. On top of that, there's her relationship with Jonah Griggs, one of the Cadets and a boy from her past, who knows her a little too much for comfort.

This is so much more than a typical YA book. I want to tell everyone to read this, scream praise from the rooftops, and glare with disapproval at the teens in my local library until they drop Halo and pick up these fantastic works of fiction.

Saving Francesca, The Piper's Son, On the Jellicoe Road... every book I read seems better than the last. She creates moods that permeate the entire book so even the most simplistic scenes or conversations become deeply emotional, and Melina Marchetta plays my emotions like Jimi Hendrix played guitar. I can't think of a single book that has had me choked up more than this one.

And Jonah Griggs, you stole my heart. Though I do think Melina Marchetta could quite easily persuade me to fall in love with a goldfish.

Basically this book is everything... beautiful, powerful, tragic without being melodramatic, and I know this wonderfully sad story will stay with me for a very long time.

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Profile Image for Lora.
186 reviews1,001 followers
August 16, 2011

There's a reason why books like Twilight don't receive those. They don't give those to just any book, and when you factor in excellence . . . well, a lot of titles just don't make the cut. But it is clear to me why Melina Marchetta's third tribute to YA literature received a Printz award back in 2009. It is because it is excellent, to the very meaning of the word.

If all YA contemporary writers wrote like Marchetta, I doubt I'd play in any other genre playground very often. She writes these beautifully inspirational, relatable, and emotionally-charged novels that seem to affect me in an undescribable way.

Some of the passages in Jellicoe Road seem to beat with their own heart:

"These people have history and I crave history. I crave someone knowing me so well that they can tell what I'm thinking."

"'What do you want from me?' he asks. What I want from every person in my life, I want to tell him. More."

I've always believed that an exceptionally good writer can take you places emotionally that others can't, and, for me, Melina Marchetta is one of those writers.

I'm going to end this review here for two reasons: 1) I believe this is the type of book that should be experienced first hand, without much knowledge of the story going in. So, go read it and remember, the beginning is confusing, but plow through it and I promise you won't regret it; 2) I'm tearing up thinking about this story and its characters, so all you'll be getting from me is the aforesaid and this: I love this book and I'm anticipating the day when I can read it again. I highly recommend Jellicoe Road to everyone.

Oh, and one more thing: I ♥ Jonah Griggs.
Profile Image for karen.
3,988 reviews170k followers
July 2, 2018
i have got to stop being surprised when teen fiction is good. printz-award winning fiction (you know, the award for literary teen fiction that all the grown-ups read and say "this is for teens??"). australian teen fiction. complicated, multi-layered teen fiction.

this book is all of the above, and it is remarkable.

it has sex and drugs and rock and roll, it has violence and terrible crimes, it has shock and awe and guilt and terrible secrets and it opens with a death. this is my kind of teen fiction. it is mostly about loss and being lost, and being so close to redemption but frustratingly denied. it is about the teen-girl default position of lashing out like a wild animal and of the deepest regrets.

it howls.

it is astonishing - jellicoe road is sophisticated both in its subject matter and the way in which the story is told. it actually took me a little while to get into the swing of things - whose story is italicized? what is their relationship to the rest of the story?? but it was a good kind of lost - the kind of lost where you are in an interesting part of town with attractive people and cute little knickknack shops, not the kind of lost where you are late to a job interview in the wrong goddamned borough.

and toward the middle, the plot became a little predictable, but that didn't even matter, because by that point i was so enmeshed in these characters' lives - i just wanted everything to work out for them, even though i knew this was not going to be the kind of book with a tidy-sweet ending.

she created powerfully three-dimensional characters that i cared about and hated to close the book on. truly - it has been a while since i have fought sleep. i love sleep - i neeeed sleep. but i forced myself awake to keep reading this, and when i finally had to give in, it was with the deepest resentment.

this is a rich and emotionally complicated tale, and when i go to that panel next week, i may have to throw myself on her a little bit and beg her to take me with her and tell me bedtime stories every night.

for posterity, i will announce here that i did not cry. but this is definitely a crying-type of book for those of you that way inclined. i got that throat-thing that happens before a good cry, which is unusual enough for me, but i expect you people will cry like when a puppy dies on your birthday.

and you will love every minute of it.

come to my blog!
Profile Image for Maggie Stiefvater.
Author 81 books168k followers
February 14, 2009
I will preface this review by saying that I love this book. But not every will love this book.

I will also preface this review by saying that you shouldn't decide whether you belong in group A or group B before you get to page 125 or so. The first 125 pages are a confusing, emotional slog that seems to be about territorial "wars" between rival teen sects in Australia. But it's really brilliantly done -- because that is exactly what the main character, Taylor Markham, thinks of things. It's busy and there are plot threads everywhere and all I knew was that I loved SAVING FRANCESCA and Melina Marchetta was doing all of this for a reason.

And she was. It ties up beautifully in the end, and there's a scene which even made me shed a tear -- me, who has not cried since THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE (three tears) and while writing my second novel SHIVER (one tear from each eye) -- and I'm left feeling just about cheerful about everything in the book though it was not a Hollywood happy ending by any stretch.

I think quite possibly my absolute favorite thing that Marchetta does is the character reversal. She introduces a character which we view in a terrible light because the main character views them in a terrible light, and then she completely changes our mind about them in a subtle and realistic way throughout the book until finally we and the main character are in love. She did this in SAVING FRANCESCA and she pulled it off again in JELLICOE ROAD even though I was watching for it. By the time we get the first kiss in the novel, I was sort of clapping embarrassingly like a seal.

This is one of those books that I know will be wonderful on the reread, because I'll get to look past the busy beginning to see the groundwork Marchetta was laying.

Happy sigh. I'm very happy this one won the Printz this year.

***wondering why all my reviews are five stars? Because I'm only reviewing my favorite books -- not every book I read. Consider a novel's presence on my Goodreads bookshelf as a hearty endorsement. I can't believe I just said "hearty." It sounds like a stew.****
Profile Image for Kristin (KC).
251 reviews25.1k followers
March 28, 2017
*5+ Stars! Gorgeous*

Books like this make me realize just how insignificant words become when attempting to convey raw emotion.

On the Jellicoe Road is more than just a book; it is a hauntingly beautiful journey towards an unexpected destination where tragedy and despair become the bridges to the greatest of friendships. 

And life goes on, which seems kind of strange and cruel when you're watching someone die.

This story is told in alternating perspectives set in both past and present which, at first, seem entirely unrelated. But as the mysteries of this plot unravel, they begin to show hints of their glorious connection.

If you find yourself confused or frustrated at first, don't give up - you are strategically been fed only pieces to a larger puzzle that will all fit together nicely in the end. 

The character development in this story is extraordinary; no one is denied the sweetness of redemption and transformation.

Seventeen year old Taylor Markham has been living on the Jellicoe Road after being abandoned by her mother at a local 7-11. The school she attends partakes in traditional games of territory wars where Taylor eventually becomes a leader.

Taylor is tormented by the grief and uncertainty of her abandonment and keeps herself emotionally distant from others. She has few memories of her childhood, but when her history starts presenting itself she begins a relentless quest for answers. 

The writing in this story is captivating as it flows methodically from one vivid scene to the next. Taylor's character, as broken as she appears, is actually quite funny in a dry and witty, sarcastic sense - which is my favorite type of humor. I appreciated being able to smile and laugh in the midst of such angst-ridden scenarios.

Taylor's love interest, Jonah, is equally damaged and initially comes across as arrogant and crude. But, as their gentle relationship develops, it not only becomes one of the most loving but also one of the most inspiring. 

Being part of him isn't just anything. It's kind of everything.

Every single element and occurrence in this book is connected to some larger piece of the story. Everything. Most connections are prominent enough to take your breath away, but then there are those as subtle as whispers, and if you're not careful enough you just may miss them.

I was still connecting the dots even after the book was done. The way this author seamlessly executes this perfect union of all that exists though past and present is truly astonishing. 

Touching messages of hope, love, and determination tugged at me endlessly while reading this book. This story brought me to tears - from being just so deeply moved and so humbly inspired. 
"Hold my hand because I might disappear."

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Book Stats:
▪ Genre/Category: Young Adult
▪ Steam: Clean
▪ Romance: Beautiful love story involved, but not sole focus.
▪ Characters: Complex, well-developed, lovable.
▪ Plot: Uniquely focused on tragic events forming powerful friendships. Lots of mystery; a side story interwoven.
▪ Writing: Brilliant! Beautiful execution. Insightful, poetic dialogue. Inspiring concepts with a slight spiritual element.
▪ POV: 1st Person: Heroine.
▪ Cliffhanger: None/Standalone
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.6k followers
August 1, 2021
i was obsessed with this book when i was a teen and its always a relief when a favourite is just as good as you remember it being.

what i loved about this when i first read it was the mystery. i had fun trying to figure out how the lives of five teenagers were significant to taylor and the current students at jellicoe. but now that im older, i can further appreciate the history, rather than the mystery.
“these people have history and i crave history. i crave someone knowing me so well that they can tell what im thinking.”
this is honestly one of my favourite coming-of-age stories because its two generations, two groups of friends, wrapped up in an overlapping history of family, love, sacrifice, loss, friendship, and acceptance.

easily MMs best book.

5 stars
Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,406 reviews11.7k followers
February 19, 2014
As seen on The Readventurer

I don't often give books 5-star ratings. Normally these are the books that either horrify me (Unwind, The Handmaid's Tale) or delight me with superb writing (The Queen of Attolia, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks) or awe me with imaginative world building (The Left Hand of Darkness) or make me cry (Before I Die). Jellicoe Road definitely falls into this last "made-me-weep" category.

Jellicoe Road is the location of a boarding school for kids that are often neglected or with criminal tendencies. Taylor Markham is residing in the school because her mother had abandoned her at the age of 11 at a nearby 7-Eleven. Now Taylor is 17 and unexpectedly selected to be the school's leader in the game of territory wars with the Townies (locals from a tiny neighboring town) and Cadets (who spend several weeks a year in the Australian wilderness). Taylor is not sure she can handle the responsibility. She is uneasy more than ever - her mentor and friend Hannah disappears and Taylor is sure it has something to do with her mother; Jonah Griggs, a Cadet who she has a shared past with, is back and seems to know her all too well; she is plagued by dreams of a young boy who attempts to tell her something. What follows is Taylor's journey through the past and present to uncover the reasons why and how she was abandoned by her mother.

As always, it is hard for me to explain what I like about a 5-star book, but I'll try. Melina Marchetta draws characters that are deep, complex, and real. The relationships among them are touching - more than anything I think, this book is about the power of friendship and, boy, there are some magnificent examples of friendship in this book! The book is also about grief, guilt, forgiveness and, of course, love.

If I am forced to point out any flaws in this book, I'd say the writing some might find confusing in the beginning. It takes a few pages to figure out what is a dream and what is a page from a story Taylor is reading; what is from present and what is from the past. But soon enough all pieces of the puzzle fall together and you are faced with a deep, meaningful and heartbreaking story.

Another thing that might bother readers is that some characters go through a lot of tragic events, sometimes too many. However, the story never becomes overly melodramatic or emotionally manipulative IMO.

Jellicoe Road is a remarkable work of YA fiction and rightfully deserves the Printz award it was given in 2009. I have no doubt I will read Marchetta's books in future.
Profile Image for Candace.
1,176 reviews4,334 followers
August 11, 2017
'On the Jellicoe Road' is the first book I've read/listened to by this author. After all of the glowing reviews for this one, I was prepared to be blown away. Unfortunately, it just didn't work out that way for me. It ended up being an "okay" story for me.

My first problem has less to do with the actual story, and more to do with the format that I chose. I listened to the Audible edition and that was a big mistake. The problem didn't stem from the quality of narration, so much as the complexity of the story. There were simply too many moving parts for me to try and keep track of while listening to an audiobook. It is incredibly hard to pull off a book like this in audiobook format and it didn't work for me.

I spent hours trying to figure out who the characters were and what the hell was going on. The transitions between characters and time frames was not always obvious, making matters even worse. I must have been hours into the story before I figured out that there were actually two stories playing out -- one in the present and one in the past. Needless to say, I lost a lot of time being utterly confused and unaware of what was going on.

By the time I began to piece some things together, I had already missed so many of the "connections" and details that it was kind of pointless. When the big reveals came toward the end, they were kind of meaningless to me. I never really connected with the characters or the storyline. I had simply missed too much to play catch-up at that point.

The story centers on Taylor Markham, a girl that was abandoned on the Jellicoe Road by her mother at the age of 11. She lives at a boarding school (orphanage???). When the lady that has taken care of her disappears, she is certain that something is amiss. Taylor sets out to find Hannah, or discover what really happened to her.

When she runs across a book/journal written by Hannah, she begins to unveil some long-standing secrets. Along with some friends from her school, she has several creepy encounters and a variety of adventures. There is some sort of rivalry described between the two groups of kids...but I was pretty confused so I can't say I ever really grasped what that was about for sure.

Overall, this ended up being a middle of the road story for me. I do suspect that I'm not doing this story justice though. I was just too lost for most of the book to take much away from the experience this time around.

I do plan to re-read this in the future, because I have some lingering questions. I'm sure they were answered along the way and I just didn't catch it. I definitely won't be listening to the audiobook on my second attempt. This story will require my full attention.

Check out more of my reviews at www.bookaddicthaven.com
Profile Image for Nataliya.
784 reviews12.5k followers
April 26, 2023
"I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was 12 - Jesus, did you?" This quote belongs to Stephen King, but it describes the soul of Melina Marchetta's Jellicoe Road perfectly.

Jellicoe Road is the story of friendships that form your world, friendships so wonderful that it's easy to fall to pieces when they break. It is the story of abandonment and loss and learning to deal with it. It is the story of love, intense to the extreme with the generous helping of teen angst. In short, it is an excellent example of a good quality YA book, emotional, intense, and lyrical.
"I remember love. It's what I have to keep on reminding myself. It's funny how you can forget everything except people loving you. Maybe that's why humans find it so hard getting over love affairs. It's not the pain they're getting over, it's the love."
Here's a short spoiler-free synopsis: Taylor Markham was abandoned by her drug-addicted mother at age eleven. She is now 17, living in Jellicoe School, a boarding school full of state wards and troubled children. She is in charge of her House (50 girls) and is expected to lead a sixteen-year-old 'territory war' between the Jellicoe School kids, the 'Townies' and the Cadets who camp out in the area for a couple of months each year. All while having strange dreams and feeling abandoned by her caretaker Hannah. All while reading Hannah's unfinished novel about five teenagers in the 1980s who form very intense friendship bonds after the horrific car accident on Jellicoe Road when they were 11-12 years old.

Now, I have to say that not once did I look at this book as a mystery even though it's marketed as such. The central mystery of the story - well, I easily figured it out only a few chapters in, and the rest of the details easily came into light as the story developed. Not much took me by surprise; it was quite predictable, actually. But since the mystery was not why I enjoyed the story, the reading experience was perfectly fine. To use the book's own language, the whole mystery setup was not a trip but a journey. It was never about the resolution but about the emotional journey it took to get there.
"I remember asking, "What is 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."
What I loved was the friendships that the 'old five' and the 'new five' have developed throughout the course of their respective stories. My favorite by far was between Taylor and Raffaela, with the developing friendship with annoying but adorable Jessa as a close second. Even though there was a romantic story threatening to take the foreground, it never overshadowed the rest of the story and the friendships, and I'm thankful for that.
"This is the best night of my life," Raffy says, crying.
"Raffy, half our House has burnt down," I say wearily. "We don't have a kitchen."
"Why do you always have to be so pessimistic?" she asks. "We can double up in our rooms and have a barbecue every night like the Cadets."
Silently I vow to keep Raffy around for the rest of my life.
I was quite emotionally affected (I'd say 'manipulated' if not for the negative connotation of that word) by the nostalgic atmosphere Marchetta creates here. The nostalgia for the beauty of childhood and adolescence, for the friendships of the kind that you can only have before you reach adulthood, for the safety of childhood (no matter how messed up it can be), for the safe haven of Jellicoe School for the lost and messed up children.

I also loved Marchetta's excellent characterization. Her characters are well-developed and multi-dimensional, and feel quite real. That is not to say that there's no stereotyping or clichés, but those are kept to the minimum.
"These people have history and I crave history. I crave someone knowing me so well that they can tell what I'm thinking."
As for the voice of the novel - it is very emotional. Please be warned - it is emotional with the generous helping of teen angst. Oh, teen angst! It's on every page, in every sentence - just like it was so overwhelming when you were 16-17. Everything is intense, the tension is palpable, emotions are right on the surface. Reading this book is like experiencing being a teenager you once were. I found it to be a bit of eye-rolling experience initially (thankfully, I'm way out of the adolescence) but eventually the style grew on me and started to feel quite organic. But if you'd rather not deal with overexaggerrated raw teenage emotions - well, be warned and stay away from this story.
"What do you want from me?" he asks.
What I want from every person in my life, I want to tell him.
Now, here are the issues that I had with this book that forced me to knock off a star:

- The Territory wars. I thought that storyline was limping on both feet. Why all the intensity if the whole thing only takes place for about 2 months each year? Why the whole issue with the Club House when it's only a few weeks when it becomes relevant? Honestly, just setting up a rivalry between the 'factions' would have been enough for the story. .

- Sometimes the emotional intensity slips into a blatant melodrama. I mean, there was actually a remark on .

- The adults in this book (even Taylor remarks on it!). Seriously, what the hell is going on with the adults?

- Taylor and Jonah:

And yet, despite my adulthood, despite a few eye-rolls, despite the issues that I describe above, I STILL teared up at the end. I think admitting that will TOTALLY ruin my street cred, but oh well. All the above taken into consideration, 4 easy stars.
"And life goes on, which seems kind of strange and cruel when you're watching someone die. But there's a joy and an abundance of everything, like information and laughter and summer weather and so many stories."

Recommended by: Emily May
Profile Image for the burning dreamer..
266 reviews556 followers
November 3, 2016


Thank you for existing.


This is the kind of book that slowly sucks you in, and at first, you may be unsure if you want to go on but before you know it, it's already swallowed you whole.

And I'm not sure I ever want to get out of the abyss of emotions and just plain rawness this book snared out of me.

And it's not like there's some blatant, profound message here that's changed my life. It's not like I hadn't already started to pin the pieces of the puzzle early on for myself. It's the sheer beauty and mastery with which Miss Marchetta constructs this tiny little world and its complex characters who don't feel like characters at all because that's how deep in you are. It's that constant air of enigma and enchantment, that underlying presence of hope mixed with tragedy that draws you in so very thoroughly; all presented without the need for tasteless dramatics, maudlin behavior or overattention to romance.

When you can manage making my heart feel so passionately for a person who only exists in whisps of memories throughout the entire course of a novel, I salute you.

To me, reading this book felt like a journey . An experience in and of itself. And quite frankly, the first time, in a long time, that I've been taken away to that far away place we all go to with the simple power of words.


Word of advice— suitably apt mood music will make reading this endlessly more exhilarating. Do it. Trust me. Here's mine: The Takedown by Koda & Dabin.

757 reviews2,349 followers
April 22, 2017
*had to rewrite the roast bc gr is a fucking shitface and deleted it so I apologize if it is sucky. I tried kids.*

And that's basically me after reading this ^

My brain cells are ded. I want to cry and drown in my own tears, not because of the feels this book gave me, but the lack of fucking everything this book failed to give me. I want my time back that was wasted reading this book.

You know you should dnf a book when you:
1. Can't even pronounce the fucking title correctly.
2. Find it hidden under your bed like that glass of milk your mom gave you years ago.
3. Can't even remember the MC's name.

I would dnf this, but then PEOPLE.

nOW how the fuck did Sana manage to hate a book with an overall 4.14 rating from about 38,500 people, you ask? :)

※What is the fucking story? -A five star read by Sana Khalid
What the fuck was going on in this book? WHAT THE HELL WAS HAPPENING? Did I miss out on something bc I seriously don't even know what the fuck was the point? What the fuck happened like?? WHAT THE FUCKITY FUCK DID I MISS??? All I know is that *insert MC's name here bc I forgot lmao* is left on Jelis road by her mother and she goes to fucking Jelis school and she cries too much and who the fuck is Fritz?? Like I'm sorry, actually I'm not, but like I didn't even understand what was going on??? Honestly what was even happening.

◇You know when you read something you have a sense of what going on?? Well imagine reading a book in a totally different language? You wouldn't know what the MC's fucking name is right? You wouldn't know what the fucking plot is, right? You wouldn't know what the fuck is going on , right? YOU WOULDN'T FUCKING KNOW WHO FRITZ IS RIGHT? YOU WOULDN'T KNOW ANYTHING. THAT WAS BASICALLY ME AND I 130% ASSURE YOU, I KNOW MY FUCKING ENGLISH.

This book was torture. It physically became hard for me to turn another page. I was in pain and may no other reader ever suffer what I have went through reading this book. I wanted to cry bc I was reading this book. It was so fucking awful ugh. I want to cri now.

◇This was hella fucking long and boring and I hated it all. I didn't connect with anything, bc 14/15 of this book made 0 sense to me.

Profile Image for Fares.
246 reviews314 followers
December 13, 2022
Let's go for read number seven
Jellicoe is my heaven

And by heaven, I mean tears and heartbreak and emotional damage that will stay with me for years.

You see, I know pain
This book has taught it to me
You see, I'm back again
Jellicoe is where I long to be

Buddy read with Me? and Chairman Meow
It's the most wonderful time of the year.
People happy and celebrating.
People at home cozy and warm.
And Fares reads Jellicoe Road.
Let the pain begins!
Another end of year and another Jellicoe read.
Get it? Cuz Jellico Road and now it's Jellicoe read?
I'll just leave now.

Buddy read with
I'll always blame you
Black belt in friendship
Hug master
Reading 10 books? I call that weekend

What a way to end 2018, crying alone in my room :)
Half this book I was: ????
The other half I was: on the verge of tears
Profile Image for ✨ A ✨ .
432 reviews1,800 followers
December 15, 2022
This book really came at me unexpectedly. Going into this, I did not know that these characters and their stories would stick with me for days, weeks, after. Immediately after finishing this book, I felt like starting it all over again.

I think Jellicoe Road is best read if you jump into it blindly. So I'll try not to give too much away in this review.

“These people have history and I crave history. I crave someone knowing me so well that they can tell what I'm thinking.”

Since the age of eleven Taylor Markham has been at boarding school. At seventeen she is now the chosen leader of her school's underground activities and is in charge of how they proceed in the annual territory wars against the townies and visiting cadets.

Taylor's past is filled with abandonment, grief and pain. When her caretaker at school, Hannah, the only adult she trusts, leaves unexpectedly Taylor has a need to know where Hannah could be and in doing so also finds out other unexpected truths.

I know many people did not enjoy this book because of the writing style and the confusion of the first half. It's definitely not everyone's cup of tea. But for me, it was perfection.

Yes it was confusing but I love figuring things out. We got passages set in the past, which didn't follow a proper time line. The mystery of not knowing what was going on or how things connected added to my enjoyment. I needed to know how everything fit.

“As I walk back to the school on my own, I realise I'm crying. So I go back to the stories I've read about the five and I try to make sense of their lives because in making sense of theirs, I may understand mine.”

I really loved the setting. I have never read a book set in Australia before and it was super interesting to read about. This was set around Christmas time which is the summer holidays in Australia. I could totally relate to that as I too live in the southern hemisphere.

I am surprised by how quickly I became attached to the characters. Those in the past and present. I wanted them to be happy, to confront their fears and to be together.

“Because people with that much spirit frighten the hell out of me. They make me want to be a better person when I know it's not possible.”

The side characters were so well fleshed out. And I was just as invested in their stories as I was in Taylor's. Their character growth and development and their own struggles was so beautiful to read. Watching them become more to one another brought me such joy.

“But grief makes a monster out of us sometimes . . . and sometimes you say and do things to the people you love that you can't forgive yourself for.”

This is a book that I will reread again and again and know that eveytime it will still impact me as it did the first time I read it.

I think what also added to my experience was that I read this with a group of besties. We'd text eachother our thoughts and laugh about how much this book was making us cry. I had the best time reading this. A thousand thanks to Fares for suggesting we read one of his favourite books. It has become one of mine as well 🌻.

“A home to come back to every day of their lives.
Where they would all belong or long to be.
A place on the Jellicoe Road.”

Buddy read with these lovelies 👉 Warda, Türkan, Fares and Karima
Profile Image for Jo.
268 reviews945 followers
May 12, 2020
God. This book.


Note: I’m not sure where the words ‘On the’ went… I’m assuming it’s different for the British version and not that I have a defective copy.
Also… while I’m Note-ing: This review will be a lot shorter than other reviews because this book is best read knowing nothing about it.

Initial Final Page Thoughts.
Breathtaking. I need to listen to the masses more.

High Points.
JONAH GRIGGS. Sorry, had to get that out there. Taylor Markham= New Soul Sister. Australia. Mystery! Nostalgia. Childhood games. Raff. Beautiful writing. Amazing character development. Heartbreakingly perfect ending.

Low Points.
When I read books (real books, not Kindle ones because they have the nifty ‘Add Notes/Highlights’ button) I have a pink polka dot notebook that I jot down page numbers, thoughts and quotes in. I know that’s not a radical thing to do because I know a lot of people who do similar things, and as I read this novel I found myself writing down questions that I believed would be answered at the end.
Most of them were and everything made sense, but there were two questions that I had that I really wanted to know the answers to. The answers wouldn't really add anything to the story... I'm just nosey.
Not that I’m hankering after a sequel because this book was perfect on its own and I think a sequel would be pointless, but I feel like I need to sit Ms Marchetta down and ask her my questions just for some closure.
So, if you’re ever in Manchester MM, there’s a caffeinated drink on me!

I loved loved loved Taylor Markham and from the first page I knew that she was going to be a part of the League of Soul Sisters (along with Vera, Katniss (don’t mention Mockingjay), Viola and The Rat) that I am considering setting up.
I’m going to be the ‘funny one’ in this group, obviously, because I lack the coolness, wit, feistiness and the ability to throw a ball in a straight line never mind shoot an arrow.
Taylor was the perfect mix of disgruntled moody teenager, spunky heroine and confused young girl. Yes, she can teeter on the edge of being a bitch but I think that’s what I liked about her. She’s flawed and she’s normal and she’s trying to deal with so much I practically encouraged her to be a bit prickly.
YA fiction is so full of impossibly perfect heroines that make it so hard to relate to. But I really related to Taylor and her outlook on life and in the time it took me to read this book, I found myself really caring about what happened to her. And I think that’s why a lot of people really love this book.
So yeah, Taylor, keep your eye out for the postman because there's an official invitation in the post for you...

Love Interest.
Oh Jonah. When I heard you described by many a girl as the mysterious loner with a dark and tortured past, I have to admit that alarm bells were going off.
There’s something about the word ‘mysterious’ and 'loner' when used to describing boys that triggers an alarming adverse reaction in me (lots of frowning, yawning, skipping of pages, eye-rolling, eye-clawing-out etc).
But you, Jonah Griggs, you are my kind of guy and you are allowed your dark and tortured past. I don’t want to say a lot on this subject because if you haven’t read it already then you need to experience JG first hand.
But this guy brings the swoon and I have to agree with Taylor on one thing (well, on most things, but this one in particular)… I prefer him in his fatigues. BOOM.
Also an honourable mention has to go to Santangelo, with his abs (don’t worry Taylor, I wouldn’t look away either) and Ben, my violinist and his medieval jousting. Hot damn.

Theme Tune.

Local Boy in the Photograph - Stereophonics.
I immediately thought of this song... not just the subject matter but the whole message of the lyrics. Bitter sweet.

Angst Scale.
9/10. I really don’t want to say anything in this department for fear of spoiling things. But my favourite part of this book was the way past events were interwoven with the present day and how they affected the characters. I found these passages that were filled with innocence, hope, lost youth, impossible situations and, most importantly, the power of best friends so beautiful and captivating.

Recommended For.
EVERYONE. People who love mystery books. People who are comfortable with having butterflies in their stomach permanent because when JG brings the swoon… sorry, I’ll stop. People who like kick-ass, resourceful and perfectly complex heroines. People who love beautifully written and fantastically paced prose. People who wish they were younger again so they could have adventures in the best tree house in the world… complete with espresso.
Profile Image for Nicole.
750 reviews1,935 followers
February 22, 2023
The Reader’s Guide to the Jellicoe Road is a wholly unremarkable review. It has been compiled and recompiled many times over many days and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from a countless numbers of experienced readers and researchers.

The introduction begins like this:

“On the Jellicoe road,” it says, “is good. Really good. You just won’t believe how phenomenally amazingly mind-bogglingly good it is. I mean, you may think it’s confusing up the road, but that’s just normal. Listen…” and so on.

(After a while the style settles down a bit and it begins to tell you things you really need to know, like the fact that it'll make you cry, laugh, lose hope, love, grieve, hope again, smile, shake, and all kinds of emotions but hate. There's nothing to hate there. Moreover, it gives directions to the best way to read this book and gives some very illogical arguments.)

The guide provides the best way to read on the Jellicoe road, it goes something like this:
1. know a bit but not much background
2. use your brain
3. bring a box of tissues

It goes even further and explains each point.

➀Taylor’s life and the italic paragraphs intertwine together to deliver a beautiful story. Our MC is not perfect. In fact, there isn't any perfect character in this book but you’ll love all of them. No exceptions.
The guide goes a bit off topic so we had to cut the rest of the paragraphs and get back to the actual summary.
[…]Taylor goes to the Jellicoe school. Hannah, who works there, found her alone (left in a restaurant) and took her in when she was 11. However, when Hannah disappears leaving Taylor more lost than ever and our MC is selected to lead the territory war against the Townies (people from the town) and the Cadets (military students) her whole life is about to change. It doesn’t end there, the leader of the Cadets is none other than Jonah Griggs with whom she shared an unforgettable history. Her obsession about finding her mother only complicates matters. All of this will change not only her perspective of her life forever but her future as well.

Have fun reading this book, literally. Try to come up with your own theories because believe me when I say I, every word Marchetta writes has a purpose. It’s also not impossible to make correct predications because I did. Make assumptions, link everything, analyze, think, whatever you want. Just don’t sit there waiting for the author to tell you what’s happening. If you don’t, you probably won’t like the book. Things start to make a bit more sense after page 100 and everything will be clear only by the end of the book. So you’ll have a hard time reading On the Jellicoe Road if you try to be only a passive reader.

Happy moments, sad moments, nothing moments, my tears kept running. It was just so emotional and beautiful not in a forced way. Sometimes you feel like the author is telling you: it’s time to cry!! Not here. This book made me want to lay down, curl in ball, and just cry forever. Sure, there are tragedies here but it’s not just that. While the amazing writing style definitely helps, you’ll just feel like you’re a part of the story and not just an outsider who is reading a book. You’ll share the characters joy, sadness, hardships, adventures, friendships, love, and hope, just everything.

(Expert from The Reader’s guide to the Jellicoe Roadpage 49372, Section 3b. Entry: the characters.)
The best thing about this book is the characters. I mean yes everything about this book is the best thing but these are special. They are so memorable and real that you’ll love each and every one of them. It’s really hard to pick a favorite because you’ll find yourself relating to each person one way or another. You’ll wait with Jude to meet his best friends (who will become yours too but just one sided :p) each September, you’ll share Taylor’s difficulties trying to manage her house, you’ll enjoy the time she spends with her new not so friends, you’ll try so hard to discover the reason behind Hannah’s disappearance, you’ll fall in love with Jonah and Santangelo… You’ll just feel like you’re part of the story and the characters who are flawed and very realistic will make you want to read about their adventures forever.

A Final Note from the Author:
Read this book. It was hard to review it because I find it hard to review the books I loved. I really think this book should be more popular. Best YA contemporary I've ever read. Melina Marchetta is a genius. On the Jellicoe Road is what I call a Contemporary Young-Adult Masterpiece.

I wrote this review after reading The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and I couldn’t help borrowing the writing style
Profile Image for emma.
1,869 reviews54.6k followers
June 28, 2018


I'm giving it three stars okay???? So don't be mad. That's not even a bad rating.

That being said:
- this book was sososososo confusing, for, like, the first 15%, after which it was overwhelmingly obvious but took 300 pages to get to the revelations that had been pret-ty clear in a long term way
- STUPID UNNECESSARY ROMANCE THAT I HATE. SO MUCH. BLEH BLEH. Why do people ship this so hard???

However there were moments of very pretty writing, and ya gotta admire the badassery of these characters folks.

But this book and I just didn't click.




also i've read the first 10% of this four times. excited to go in for attempt #5



Profile Image for Andreea Pop.
321 reviews2,233 followers
August 21, 2016
“From this distance everything is so bloody perfect.”

This will not be a proper review, because On the Jellicoe Road turned me into ruins. Quite possibly, my favorite book of the year, because it is so unique and so gut-wrenching and so enrapturing it deserves the title.

This book is not merely a reading experience; this book is a journey. One filled with two emotional plotlines, past and present, that overlap in places only to thread themselves together in a masterful and sad, yet agonizingly beautiful story.

This book is about finding yourself. About hating the world and cursing the universe for forcing you to exist when you're left abandoned by everyone else. About your whole life being a question mark. And about finally opening up to the world and embracing it to the fullest.

“Hold my hand because I might disappear.”

This book is about love, every kind of love. The one between siblings. The one that's so intense it's everything to you and leaves you dying when that love suddenly stops. The one that's as natural as breathing. The one that you try to bury beneath excuses. And about the love for life, for living, despite it continuously trying to shove you down.

“It's funny how you can forget everything except people loving you. Maybe that's why humans find it so hard getting over love affairs. It's not the pain they're getting over, it's the love.”

This book is about the ugliness of humanity. About serial killers. About drug addiction. About neglected children. About pedophilia and child pornography. About goddamn cancer. About abuse. About suicide. About car accidents. About being parentless. About loss and about death.

“Is a person worth more because they have someone to grieve for them?”

But, I believe, most importantly, this book is about friendships. I cannot find the words to describe how amazing the friendships portrayed in this novel are. They just filled me up with immense joy and plastered smiles on my face and gave me a sense of family. With their banter, their bromance, their love for mischief, their leadership, their honesty, their support for one another and their endless, boundless, eternal love.

Also, this book is about clever and magical storytelling. About how an author can enthrall you with some words on a page and make you cry like you lost someone dear to you. About how she can twist your heart and make you curse out loud for (fictional) live being so unfair. About how she can give you goosebumps and butterflies in your stomach and sighs and accelerated heartbeats.

And this book is about me and how I have fallen in love with its every single character. I love Taylor. I love Jonah. I love Santangelo. I love Raffy. I love Ben. I love Jessa. I love Trini. I even love Chloe P. and Richard and Sam. And I adore Webb and Narnie and Tate and Fitz and Jude. They were the backbone of this book, its essence, its soul.

And oh, Fitz, I just want to hug the poor precious boy.

And oh, Narnie, I just want to destroy her numbness.

And oh, Tate, I just want to hold her hand and be there for her.

And oh, Jude, I just want to save him from the heartache.

And oh, Webb, I just want to place him in the sky between the stars where he belongs because he is perfection.

After I finished reading at 5AM, I kept asking myself:

Why haven't I read this sooner?
How much can a single person cry in one night?
How much can you love a book?
What to do with my life now?

And so here I am, begging you to read this book if you haven't done so yet. Let it be a journey for you.

“You just have to belong. Long to be.”

I'll go back to my sobbing now, thank you.
Profile Image for Vinaya.
185 reviews2,091 followers
February 7, 2011
This book is so fucked up. Completely, totally fucked up. Everybody in it is fucked up, and living their lives is fucked up, and by the time you're done with it, you're fucked up, but you can't tell because your head is cloudy from all the tears you've shed getting through this fucked-up book.

I hate On The Jellicoe Road. I hate books that make me cry, and this book made me want to weep tears of blood for all that lost youth and promise, and the pain of loss and the promise of the future. If somebody had told me how mixed-up and emotional this book was going to make me feel, I would have abandoned it in a corner and floated off to the simple uncomplicated world of supernatural ass-kicking, where nobody dies and even if they do, they rarely stay dead.

In the big debate of Saving Francesca versus Jellicoe Road, I would have to pick Jellicoe Road. I liked Francesca better, but that's because it made me laugh and think and smile mistily, but it never, ever, shoved me into the wringer and brought me out feeling like a limp dishcloth. It never made me feel that piercing tender pain you get when you think of things long past that can never be regained. It never made me feel like I was drowning in the lives of people who are so real, it's hard to believe they don't exist and haven't consumed your life. Jellicoe Road is a harsher, deeper read, the sandpaper to Francesca's paint peeler.

Undeniably, the writing is brilliant. It's evocative and tender, it makes the emotions in each page almost tangible. The characters are drawn brilliantly too, and despite the fact that over half of the main cast wants to kill themselves at one point or the other, you cannot help but be drawn to them. I loved Taylor and Griggs and Santangelo and Raffy, but my heart got well and truly tangled up with Narnie and Webb and Judd and Tate and Fitz. It's for them that my heart broke, and shattered into a million pieces. The story is told largely from the perspective of Taylor, but it is the ghosts that predominate, that breathe life into the story, ironic as that sounds.

This is not a book for people who want a straightforward love story with a dash of drama. This is for people who want to appreciate good writing, and don't mind losing a little bit of themselves between the covers of a book in the process. Oh man, this book is just so seriously Fucked. Up. And I would so totally KILL anyone who dissed it. Ever.
Profile Image for Stacia (the 2010 club).
1,045 reviews3,982 followers
December 5, 2013
Simply incredible. I cried way too much, but it was so worth it. Will review tomorrow when I can wrap my head around what to write.

*moves ahead a day in time*

After sleeping on it, I'm still struggling with how to write a proper review. There are some books which are virtually impossible to explain, and this is one of them. The GR book summary gives no indication what the book is really about, and truth be told, I'm not sure you'd want to know what the book is about before reading it.

The first 150 pages or so are completely frustrating and confusing. I knew this ahead of time, but I also knew that just about every single person who has read this has said the exact same thing, yet still gave the book 5 stars. There is a reason for this. The first part of the book is only giving you glimpses of the player's lives and their world. It almost reminded me of one of those movies that you watch in reverse, where the ending is the beginning and the beginning is the end - yet not quite.

All I can do is echo the voices of those who prodded me to read the book - DON'T GIVE UP. You will not forget this book. You will not regret reading. It is so worth the read. Keep some tissues handy.

As the story unfolds, the author starts giving us a crumb of information, then another, then another. Slowly the pieces of a broken story come together as one revelation follows another in a wave - a very emotional wave at that. Just when you think you've heard it all, more starts to come. Then more, then more.

Pay attention to every single character. Just about every person's life is intertwined with the other characters in this story.

I'm done trying to prod you to read this. Just read it. You will not be sorry for making the effort. Please, I beg you...battle through the first part of the book (which is confusing) until you get to the part that starts to get into your soul. Let's call this a dare. I have yet to find one person who did not love this book.
Profile Image for Ari.
940 reviews1,314 followers
March 19, 2020
Update 2020: No words are enough to express my love for this author! I bow to you, Melina Marchetta! When I grow up, I want to be you! (Ok, I might have lost that chance, maybe in a new life then, lol)

Full (former) review:

It took me 113 days to write a full review.. I counted.

Reading one of Marchetta’s stories should be one of the “10 things to do in your lifetime”. Seriously, this woman is one of the most creative people alive, one of the most amazing writers I came across and I wish I could put into words the awesomeness of this book, but I feel at a loss for words once more.

In fact, I should invent a new language with a dictionary full of ways to praise her talent.

Because Melina Marchetta doesn’t only write books, she creates entire worlds full of fleshed-out characters and shattering emotions, and after you read about them you feel like you’re the luckiest person in the known Universe and beyond. Because not many people in this world are able to feel what she makes you feel, and not many authors get to create such strong connections between the characters and the reader.

I feel like her stories have a soul. Like her characters are living beings trappend into a fantasy world, waiting for us to come and listen to their stories. They seem to breathe through our emotions, and I don’t remember a moment when I didn’t feel something (deep) towards this story and these wonderful characters.

Her words sing to me, they reach into the deep core of my own soul, they make me laugh through tears, they break my heart into thousand pieces but they also put it back in together, making it beat in a whole new rhythm, making it love and ache on a different level.

Once again, the complexity of the plot left me lightheaded, in awe, even though I knew what was coming my way. It’s been a while since the last time I read this book and I felt it all all over again: the confusion, the despair, the hope, the heartbreak, the happiness. My teary eyes could barely read and I was left breathless too many times to count. I loved EVERYTHING about this book, after all this time it is still my favorite story and I really hope that when (and if) you read this book you will be able to feel just a tiny-tiny part off all these blissful emotions flowing through my heart right now.


How much heartbreak can a heart take?

Jellicoe road is a roller coaster, a story meant to break hearts – one about true friendship and love, about forgiveness and salvation, about hope and disappointment, about life and death and everything in between.
It simply left me in awe again because there is no tiny detail, there is nothing less important in this story. Everything has value, all words have power – to make you laugh or cry, to dream and hope.. and the real beauty of it is connecting all the threads in this fabulous piece of art.

But as heartbreaking and intense as it might be, it is also fun, and I found myself smiling more than once. So don’t go thinking that this is a depressing book, it is not; it has the perfect balance between joy and sadness, between delight and heartbreak – but don’t believe me, see it for yourself!


I can’t put into words how much compassion I felt towards the characters in this story. I don’t think there’s one that didn’t leave an impression on me. Some times they made me laugh (even through tears), some other I just wanted to hold them close to my heart and protect them from all the hurt in their lives.


Every time I read “On the Jellicoe Road” it simply takes my breath away.
I fall in love with this book all over again, it hits me full strength no matter how well I think I know the story, it makes me smile and cry and sometimes both in the same time, all while I get drunk on the beauty of Marchetta’s words. Pure talent, pure Aussie awesomeness!

The full review can be found at: ReadingAfterMidnight.com


Blog (EN) | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Bloglovin' | Blog (RO)

Favourite quote (one of the many):


PS: And now allow me to express my joy:

PSS: Is this Jonah coming to life? :D
Profile Image for Flannery.
311 reviews
February 9, 2011
A lot of people think that Henry David Thoreau* went to Walden to live a solitary life. I felt like that until I actually went to Walden Pond. Imagine my surprise when some friends and I decided to go for a hike, go for a swim and check out the scenery--we left Boston around 9...and we got there by 9:30. Yeah right, HDT, I could live deliberately in the woods, too, if I knew my transcendentalist cronies would bring me a Cinnabon and some pumpkin ale once in awhile.** Nevertheless, Thoreau’s idea served as the inspiration for Yeats’ poem Lake Isle of Innisfree*** from which Melina Marchetta quotes in this novel. Yeats, who looks a little like Kenneth from 30 Rock, wrote about Innisfree because, to him, it served as an idyllic place where he could always go for peace and solitude. (I find it rather amusing that both Thoreau and Yeats wrote fascinating works about livin’ la vida simple that become so popular. Lesson: If you find a perfect place, KEEP IT TO YOURSELF)But Marchetta's magnificent storytelling was only enhanced by her reference to Yeats' poem. Instead of pounding quotations into your head, like a sad number of authors do, Marchetta only mentioned Innisfree once in passing...but it stuck with me through the rest of the book.

I don’t want to go into the plot of this book too deeply, for the point I took away from the book is that we all have those idyllic places we go to in our minds. For some of the characters in this novel, their Innisfree was with family, or with their childhood friends, or even just spending time with one particular person. It doesn't have to be a place at all. No matter how far we get away from those memories, they are always all polished up in our minds like the Hope Diamond when we need to imagine a perfect place in time.

Marchetta’s characters, as usual, were intriguing and fleshed out. It is constantly amazing to me that I can read a book and be unable to visualize even the protagonist, while this author is able to give me an extensive cast of characters and I feel like each one of them is someone I know. From Santangelo to Griggs to Raffy to the Brigadier, I understood where they were coming from and could reasonable predict what they would do in a situation. Very rarely was I frustrated with choices that characters made. I also have no idea how Marchetta can make my heart hurt one moment and make me hysterically laugh the next.

I must admit that the territory war aspect of the novel was not my favorite, though I understand its place in the overall story. The transfer back and forth between Taylor's present day and Hannah's story was rough for the first fourth or so of the book. If you try it and get stuck, please truck through it--it is so worth it.

As I knock each of Melina Marchetta’s book off my to-be-read stack, I am a little more sad. When I’m done with them, how long will I have to wait for a new one?

*The Wikipedia entry for HDT informs me that he wore a “neckbeard” for many years and insisted many women found it attractive. 1) I never knew that hideousness had a name; and 2) If you are a woman that finds a neckbeard attractive and we are friends on here, just go ahead and defriend me.

**He was only 1.5 miles from his homeboy Emerson’s house.

***This poem is the shit.

EDIT: I listened to the first third or so of this book and read the rest in book form. The audiobook was great but I wanted to read it faster. The only negative for the audiobook was the annoying DMB-type music that played between every chapter and at the beginning and end of every disc.
Profile Image for ♛ may.
806 reviews3,837 followers
December 31, 2017

how could this book hurt me on the second read just as much as the first read? i am a puddle of feels and sadness and tears and joy. i love this book more than i love myself.



guess which Marchetta Trash™ is back to have her soul ruined AGAIN???

buddy read and reread with the nice mice, zoop & foop

can't wait to die :')
August 9, 2021

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People swear by this book; they want to make it their god. Well, if this book is a religion, then I'm an atheist, because there was absolutely nothing in this book I want to believe in. Did we all read the same book? Man, the author is lucky that books don't have hotlines where you can phone in to complain about your lack of customer satisfaction, because I'd be on the line right now, saying, "Dafuque-ce que c'est?" Comme ça.

JELLICOE ROAD is an utterly nonsensical book that appears to thrive on its own pretension. Taylor, the main character, spends all of her time either whining or crying, and her biggest claim to fame is that she's in charge of this stupid mock-war her school fights with the locals and the local military school for "territory." If that sounds confusing, don't worry - it's never explained, it doesn't make sense, and it's just as childish and lame as it sounds. Oh, and she's in love with the local bad boy military student who ~betrayed~ her once, many a summer ago.

Looped in with this Risk LARPing is the story of some other pretentious kids with ~issues~ who are connected with Taylor's story in a mysterious way. This other POV was incredibly boring and I skimmed it, and yes, the payoff was just as disappointing as I'd imagined it would be, and surprise, surprise, I was able to predict most of it. I'm guessing this is the part of the story that made people shed tears, but mostly I just thought it was lame. And pretentious.

I guess if you want to read about the most boring LARP session ever with a tepid love story that makes TWILIGHT seem deep and profound by comparison, read this book. If you're looking for the profound and live-changing story that was beautifully written and so moving and unique, take me with you, because I finished this book and I didn't find that story. Maybe it's on the Jellicoe Road...

1 star
371 reviews58 followers
January 27, 2009
So I just don't get what others love about this book. It's a Cybil's Finalist and a ALA Printz Award Winner. So people LOVE Jellicoe Road and I usually follow popular librarian opinion, but I just can't get on this bandwagon.

I felt like the writing was very, very confusing. For the first 100 pages I really couldn't tell what was going on. Don't get me wrong - dramatic and interesting things were happening, but I couldn't even begin to see how they were related. The character development is very spread out and most of the characters do not become clear until the end.

There are two plot lines -

1 - Taylor's life at Jellicoe School - The school has tradition of playing war games with the local townies and the cadets of a military school. They fight over territories, trails, and clubhouses. They take it very seriously, but it’s mostly in good fun. Taylor is the student leader of the Jellicoe School (like head girl - very big responsibility), but the school is made up of 6 houses and all of the houses have leaders too and they must collaborate to wage war against the townies and cadets.

2 - Taylor's life before Jellicoe School – Taylor’s father has been killed and her mother is an abandoning drug addict. Taylor has no family to speak of but is taken care of by a local woman named Hannah. Hannah is writing a book about the goings on of Jellicoe School when she attended and Taylor is using the book to piece together her own random memories to understand what her life was actually about – mainly the story of her mother and father.

In my opinion, these two plot lines do not mix. I didn’t know when to take Taylor seriously or when she was in deep emotional distress. One moment Taylor’s reclaiming territory for the Jellicoe School and the next moment she’s drowning a cat with her bare hands.

There are very moving parts to this story. I felt for Taylor, Hannah, Griggs, & Jude, but everyone beyond that didn’t touch me. They were just part of the confusion.

Will someone please, please tell me what they LOVE about this book and what makes it a multiple award winner? Is something wrong with my logic?
Profile Image for Jiana.
296 reviews823 followers
April 29, 2017
Honest to God, I don't even know what the hell I read.

Before I begin, you'll realize I've referred to this book as JelliNOE Road. Because that's what is: A NO.

Don't ask me what this book is about, because 1) I don't know what it's about, and 2) I'd like to forget this book exists.

Thank you.

JelliNOE Road has been on my TBR for a while. I added it because MAYBELINE adores it. I only decided to pick it up last week because May and I had a deal. She fulfilled her part of the deal and me reading this book was fulfilling my part. LOOK HOW THAT TURNED OUT.

If you love this book, I'm glad you did! But I highly doubt you want to continue reading this review.

I'm aware I'm a minority here but I was literally suffering as I read this, because 1) Boring 2) Boring 3) Boring 4) Confusion level 10,000 6) HUH? 7) ????? 8) ?????, and 9) WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?

Listen, I don't have a problem with confusing plots, as long as I at least get a tiny bit of sense of what's going on and it gets me hooked, but in JelliNOE Road... I don't even know, guys. NOPE. NOPE. NOPE. Literally, the only thing I can tell you about this book is what's written in the blurb and the characters' names.

I started reading this book last week, but I was in a horrible slump, and apparently this book is not the best book to read during one. So, I stopped reading it for a few days while I fixed my slump. It was basically over beginning of this week and then I picked JelliNOE again two days ago. DID THINGS GET BETTER? NOPE.


Guys, please, someone tell me what was happening in this book. Why did everyone cry over it? What was the point? WHAT DID I MISS? This is actually stressful because I had high hopes???? AND NOW I JUST WANT TO BUY A PHYSICAL COPY SO I CAN THROW IT OUT OF MY DAMN WINDOW.

Also, ZERO connection with the characters (Jonah was okay, but whatever). Our MC, Taylor... Queen of Whining and Crying. That's her new name.

In conclusion, JelliNOE Road is my first AND last book by Melina Marchetta.
Profile Image for Aly (Fantasy4eva).
240 reviews122 followers
February 29, 2012
“He’s the most beautiful creature I have ever seen and it’s not about his face, but the life force I can see in him. It’s the smile and the pure promise of everything he has to offer. Like he’s saying, ‘Here I am world, are you ready for so much passion and beauty and goodness and love and every other word that should be in the dictionary under the word life?’”

Sometimes, guys, simply reading a book once is not enough.

You find that reading it a second time offers you a whole other reading experience.

Those once slow 100 pages now whiz you by, and you realise it was not the pace that was at fault, but your confusion.

You savour it so much more. Make sense of certain references - crush on the plot, characters and writing, and fall in love with Jonah Griggs all over again.

It frustrates me so much to know that I can never do this book justice. That so many readers out there have yet to read this beauty.

The thing is, somehow, even though I knew what was going to happen, I choked up and laughed like a mad women at the exact same scenes I did the first time around. What made me smile at times was how the little tissues were still there. So many times I would be about to bookmark a certain moment only to realise that it was already bookmarked. I suppose I know myself too well ;)

When I approached the last 100 pages I decided to read them outside in the garden. I have never had that urge before, but It was dark outside, silent and soothing in a way that I couldn't imagine it being inside. It felt right to read those last pages alone - in a peaceful surrounding. Yet, like last time, I dreaded that last page, and when it had ended - I closed the book and just allowed my thoughts to take over and savour them, because I knew it would be a long time before any other book would ever make me feel like this again. I took that moment to mourn characters and a world I genuinely felt I had lost - taking some solace in the fact that I would return to them when the feeling of loss became close to unbearable.

You know, I can see myself reading this every year, discovering something new every time, loving the characters even more - if that's even possible.

Once again I was left with this undeniable ache that made me want to be a part of these characters lives, but I think what bothered me the most, and what really made me feel somewhat of a loss, was knowing that I will never know a Tate, Hannah, Webb, Jude, Fitz, Jonah, Ben, Raffy, Chaz, Jessa, and Taylor.

I feel like I'm saying goodbye to something personal every time I turn over that last page, but now I know that's hardly the case.

LOVE does not even come close to describing what I feel for this book

Treasure it guys

And then read it all over again <3
Profile Image for K.D. Absolutely.
1,820 reviews
May 14, 2012
Every Filipino who loves his country must read this book.

Reason: On April 13, 2012, North Korea's long-range rocket launched, failed. Reuters is now saying that, embarrassed by rocket crash, North Korea may now be thinking of trying nuclear test.

Check the path and the trajectory plan of that failed rocket launch:
Do you see that tail-end of the yellow line? That's Luzon, the biggest island in the Philippines. That's where Manila is. That's where I live!

But why should we read this book?

Here's why:
He reads this book!

Seriously, I am one of the moderators of The Filipino Group here in Goodreads. This book, Jellicoe Road by an Australian novelist, Melina Marchetta is our book of the month and we will have our face-to-face book discussion on Saturday. As a moderator and one of the senior members of the group, some members ask me what I think of the book. Even if they don't say or admit it, my views influence some of them. At this point, I guess my job is to encourage them to read the book and join the actual book discussion. That's why even if I did not like this book, I cannot rate this with 1 star. Why I did not like this book?
1. I cannot understand why the first 100 pages should be made confusing
2. The claim or fight for territory has nothing to do with the rest of the book. Also, I do not understand exactly how it is supposed to work.
3. The love affair between Taylor and Briggs is too mushy for my taste. Felt like Katniss-Peeta or Bella-Edward. I'm too old for that.
4. Taylor is a pathetic female character IMO.
5. Taylor is asked to lead even if she is asthmatic. Is there nobody else who can lead?
Anyway, according to my trusted friends in this group, the book is amazing. Maybe they are still young and the story "speaks" to them. So, let's leave it at that. However, I can say that this book has a good intent. It also has a developed story that other readers can emphatize with. I guess that this is just not for me.

But it is my ardent desire that this book will influence our North Korean friend to back off in his evil plan of building nuclear arsenal in the side of the world. Stop your expansionist plan, please and be content on what you have. Then if you have to test nukes, please don't point it to the Philippines! See, we also love Melina Marchetta! See, we both read and enjoy this book!

Thanks for lending me this book, Aaron.
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