A highly anticipated follow-up from the best-selling author of Looking for Alibrandi and Saving Francesca, both highly acclaimed productions available from Bolinda Audio.
Taylor Markham is now a senior at the Jellicoe School, and has been made leader of the boarders. She is responsible for keeping the upper hand in the territory wars with the townies, and the cadets who camp on the edge of the school's property over summer. She has to keep her students safe and the territories enforced and to deal with Jonah Griggs - the leader of the cadets and someone she'd rather forget. But what she needs to do, more than anything, is unravel the mystery of her past and find her mother - who abandoned her on the Jellicoe Road six years before. The only connection to her past, Hannah, the woman who found her, has now disappeared, too, and he only clue Taylor has about Hannah and her mother's past is a partially written manuscript about a group of five kids from the Jellicoe School, 20 years ago.
©2008 Melina Marchetta; (P)2006 Bolinda Publishing
2009 American Library Association Michael L. Printz Award, for excellence in literature written by young adults.
Recipe for a perfect audiobook: a mind bogglingly good book mixed with an amazing narrator. There is no way to over recommend On the Jellicoe Road. If you are in doubt, please give it a chance. You will not regret it. I loved every minute.
I am a passionate devourer of chocolate and books. I also listen to audiobooks and drink chocolate. When I die, I don't want to be embalmed!
Where to start? This story was very confusing at first, but I expected that because I had an advanced warning. The story went back and forth between telling the story of a present day situation with a bunch of kids to an older story of a bunch of kids. The similarity being the place they were located, Jellicoe Road, in Australia. Jellicoe Road reminds me of a summer camps where they have kids who live in the camp and then bring in kids from the neighboring town and then bus kids in from wherever else. The three groups have mini battles of control and territory, but all in a nice way (or at least it is supposed to be in a nice way.) Most of the kids that live at the Jellicoe Road school seem to have some emotional dysfunction or other problems they are dealing with, like both parents getting killed or pyromaniac tendencies. The main character, Taylor, is a Jellicoe Road resident. She is a bit unstable and has huge gaps in her memory and is constantly trying to figure out how to get back to her Mother who had abandoned her when she was 11.
Toward the end of the story, I did decide that I liked the book, but it just wasn't my cup of tea. (I am a hot chocolate drinker.)
I will admit that the first hour or so, I was completely confused. There are flashbacks, and dreams, and dreams within flashbacks, ok, maybe not that confusing. But once the pieces fall together, it just become such an emotional rollercoaster, that you can???t put it down. They become like your brother or sister, you fall in love with them, and you want to take their hand, and make it all better! And Rebecca Macauley; she really got the feel of the characters.
Glowing reviews from other people have tricked me into believing this was the next best thing in YA since "Catcher in the rye". Oh, how deceived I was.
So what's not to like on the Jellicoe Road? To start off most of the characters are supposed to be 17-ish something, but their real maturity level is more of 10 year old kids. Their main concern is looking tough and playing imaginary wars. Why are they doing it? No one knows and no one cares to even think about it. Actually there's hardly any thinking taking place in the heads of those children at all.
The main girl, Taylor, is especially annoying because of her constant self-absortion, hostile mood swings and "I want my mommy but I won't admit it to anyone". Honestly I wished to smack her headfirst into a wall of bricks more than on one occasion.
Lastly, narration was below average. The main voice was unpleasant to listen to as it always seemed to be on the verge of hysteria. For example the same tone was used to describe a serene view from the top of the tree and when someone attacked the character. In dialogs it was very hard to discern who spoke what because all of them used the same tones. Really frustrating.
I read and review Young Adult lit!
Jellico started out painfully slowly with no sense of where the story is going. After an hour I put it down and didn’t pick it up for over a year. After three hours I was considering deleting it even though I have a rule about always finishing books. That first was just sucha chore, I thought it could be the first to go.
It wasn’t necessarily a bad or even badly told story; it was just seemed so murky and muddled. The story-within-a-story interludes were as yet unframed, the goals of Taylor (the lead) were still unknown and the initial set up (the ‘war’ between three groups of teens that live or study by the Jellico road) was confusing and, as such, uninteresting. I’m all for a story unfolding, for pieces of information deftly doled out at the right moments etc but the first third seemed like it belong to a different story or at least set up a completely different story.
The first three hours were about that ‘war’ but that is not what the book is about and event thought eh story provides more than one could-be ‘resolution’, the conflict is simply dropped when the real story got going.
The protracted set-up gave an opportunity to tease a few things and start setting up the real story but since I had no idea what the real story was, the tid-bits, flashback, allusions and interludes left me confused and bored.
Jellico road is essentially a story a story of two generations of friends who form/ed unbreakable bonds. It becomes about Taylors search for family, love and understanding. When it does – it is utterly fabulous. I just can’t help but think that if it were only framed like that from the beginning it would have been solid gold.
By the last third of the book, the interludes/flashbacks are breathtaking in their revelations and I got excited every time I heard the music that signalled the change (as opposed to considering fast-forwarding them in the first third).
I guess you just have to go with the book and trust where it will take you but it’s the second novel in a row that I feel did not frame the ultimate story early enough for me to be invested from the beginning. It’s also the second in a row I’ve picked back up a year after dumping it – not a coincidence.
All I can say is if you like powerful emotional dramas, family sagas or intergenerational searches for love, family and hope than the Jellico Road is a wonderful book so stick it out. The end was so utterly emotional I had to lock myself in the bathroom at work to finish it because I couldn’t leave it or sob at my desk.
I don’t know how international readers will take the Australian story and the Aussie narrator. I AM Australian so I found a lot of the stereotypes, characters and idioms accurate to the point of uncomfortable. Somehow though, I still found the narrator’s accent grating (I just kept wondering if that is what I sound like?!)
Overall, I strongly recommend Jellico Road and it is times like this I remember why I have my ‘always finish’ rule!
The musical interludes which seem to be the trademark of all Bolinda children's and YA audiobooks are actually very off putting and condescending here. The fact they play the music backwards to indicate the shift to the story from the past is painful. If you can ignore the music, though, which I hope you can, this is quite an amazing story. Performed flawlessly and written in a way which is so endearing you're in love with these kids before you even realise it. Ignore the age label. I did and thank god for it. This is a classic.
I really loved this audiobook. Macauley's narration was great and felt authentic to the characters and the story. I didn't love a couple of the male voices, like Griggs, but they they weren't bad - just not totally how I thought they should sound. Overall it was a solid performance from Macauley though, and it was a wonderful way to experience the story again. It made me ugly cry on the train, which looked even weirder than it usually does when reading, because I wasn't actually reading - I had headphones in and it probably just looked like I was listening to a really sad song or something. But it was worth it.
Wow. So it took me a little bit of time to get into this book. I'm a southern girl with my own accent issues and this is obviously an Australian book with it's own accent issues so getting used to the accent took me a while. Then the book just jumps between alternating storylines and it takes some getting used to but once I did, I was hooked. I was glued to the story and could not put it down. I was at work, listening to the story and crying and thinking I needed to turn it off because I was crying at work and then thinking "forget that, I've got to know what happens." This is an absolutely beautiful story about friendship and the bonds that are formed in the lowest moments of our lives and I loved it. I can definitely see why it won the Printz Award
I had a hard time staying with this story, but, boy I'm glad I stuck with it. The first third is a bit confusing because of the many story lines it presents. But, once I got past the the confusion, the story became compelling. Even though I finished listening to it two days ago, I find that I am still thinking about all the wonderful characters Marchetta created. Rebecca Macauley did a fantastic job narrating this story. I look forward to more stories by this author.
I actually really enjoyed this one as an audiobook. Marchetta's ability to paint with words is simply amazing. She is strong exactly where I am weak as a writer. She was really good at describing Taylor's emotional pain and struggles from the first-person point of view.
The dialogue was Believable. She sets up a lot of tension in the conversations. As you read, you learn most of what you learn in dialogue. Taylor is trying to find out who she is because she's at a boarding school and she doesn't really know who her mom is and she has missing pieces in her memory.
The story arc is hard to follow in the beginning, but it's the kind of book you can go back to the beginning and get a lot more out of it the second time. This definitely had a lot of depth.
Great job of getting the Australian feel and distinguishing parts.
It is very emotional.
I may have mentioned at some point (or at several points) that I am completely in love with audiobooks. They make my drive to work not just bearable, but enjoyable. I find that with audiobooks, your eyes don't get the chance to skip over the text and miss something important. Every nuance of a book is brought to life with unabridged recordings of books.
On The Jellicoe Road was another brilliant use of my Audible monthly membership. Rebecca Macauley brought Melina Marchetta's Australian narrative to life.
Taylor Markham was a protagonist who had me torn. At times I liked her cool independence and her "take no prisoners" attitude. At other times I was irritated by how tunnel-visioned she was. I guess when I was a teenager I suffered a case of near-sightedness and held the mistaken belief that my own tiny corner of the world was the sphere itself. Maybe that's just a part of growing up. Nonetheless, Taylor's selfishness irritated me. She'd been through a lot but didn't recognise the positives and potentials of her life.
The narrative of On The Jellicoe Road was split. On the one hand there was the first person narrative of Taylor, on the other was the manuscript written by Hannah, the woman who found and cares for Taylor. At first this was a tad confusing in the audiobook and it took me a few switches in perspective to figure out what was going on. However, I am slow...
I loved the setting of this book. The vivid description of the Jellicoe School and its surrounding grounds was made all the more bright and exciting by the Australian narrator who lent credence to the language. I found myself thinking in an Australian accent (a not at all believable one...) while listening to this book. What can I say? I'm an impressionable soul.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed On The Jellicoe Road. I'd heard a whole bunch of hype about it from my fellow bloggers and, while I'm not sure it's a book I'd rave about, it is a book which I found engaging and enjoyable!
"I am in love with this book"
I'm not giving any spoilers !!
laugh, cry, die a little and totally fan girl
I was a bit confused at first because I didn't understand what some of the slang meant but it becomes clear and is so work the effort to keep reading
This book is incredible, a little hard to follow in places so I'm going to re read it but I loved the mystery and excitement in it. I'm so glad I bought this book, and I'll definitely keep it around as a go to book when I'm low on credits!
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