Travis_J_Smith’s #CBR5 Review: Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta


Let me level with you. I still don’t fully understand the territory war that makes up so great a deal of this novel. That could’ve been my brain rejecting the mere idea of it wholesale, thus refusing to allow itself to understand precisely what was going on, it could’ve just been me being thick, or it could’ve been Marchetta’s fault for her writing lacking clarity. Whichever one of the three it is, all that matters for the sake of this review is I didn’t get it and, as a result, won’t be discussing any of that nonsense here, except to tell you that it’s that perceived lack of clarity that took me out of the story.

Because it extended beyond this silly territory war, which was never meant to be waged in earnest as we lat learn. Marchetta attempts to weave together the past and present, yet initially she only succeeded at confusing this particular reader. Some of that can be explained by our main character’s own lack of understanding of how this all ties together, I’ll admit. But I still could’ve used a little more clarity so as to not be completely lost.

Once everything started coming together, I couldn’t even fully appreciate it because I was hazy on the importance of it all. The writing flows well, in that Marchetta is good at stringing together words on a sentence level; it’s when she tries to string together sentences and paragraphs into a coherent story that she loses me.

There’s enough there, though, for me to continue looking forward to her other novel, Saving Francesca, which I intended to be my first until I saw no library in my area has a copy. I’ve heard better things about it, anyway, so I hope that translates into a better reading experience as well.


Travis Smith’s blog, containing this review, as well as others, photography, and more, can be found here.

Malin’s #CBR5 Review #109: Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Taylor Markham is seventeen, and has lived at the boarding school by Jellicoe Road since she was abandoned by her mother when she was eleven. She’s just reluctantly accepted the post as leader for her house (boarding school dorm – think Harry Potter), which means caring for the well-being of the younger girls in the house, as well as masterminding the territory war between the town kids, the boarding school kids and the group of cadets who camp near the town for a number of weeks each year.

Hannah, the only grown-up that Taylor is really close to, just disappears one day, leaving behind the house she’s been slowly restoring over the years, and an unfinished manuscript, which tells the story of four teenagers who met on Jellicoe Road more than twenty years ago. No one wants to tell Taylor where she’s gone. Then she discovers that the leader for this year’s cadets is none other than Jonah Griggs, the boy who helped her run away years ago, but who also betrayed her by getting them found. Hannah’s disappearance and Jonah’s reappearance in Taylor’s life sparks a series of events that will finally lead to her discovering why she was abandoned by her mother, what really happened to her father, and what may be in store for her in the future.

This is one of my favourite books of the year so far – go to my blog to read my inadequate gushing as to why.