"My father took one hundred and thirty-two minutes to die.
Jellicoe Road could be described as the story of seventeen-year-old Taylor Markham, who was abandoned in a 7-11 bathroom at age eleven. She is now seventeen and has just been named the new leader in the territory wars against the Townies and the Cadets. She is a reluctant leader, though not so reluctant that she'll accept mutinous behavior from the heads of the other houses.
Her intimate history with Jonah Griggs, now the leader of the Cadets, will have no impact on the war.
It could be described like that. But that only just touches the surface. Because while it is Taylor and Jonah and Raffaela and Chaz and Jessa's story, it is also the story of Tate and Fitz and Webb and Jude and Narnie. It's a story of friendship, love, redemption, grief, sacrifice and survival on the Jellicoe Road, and I'm getting all teary just typing out that extremely vague description. It's a tragedy, but ultimately, it's gorgeous and hopeful and it's epic without being an epic, somehow. Oh, hell, now I'm really going to start bawling.
It's been a long while since I've read one that's hit me this hard.
Yes, Jellicoe Road made me sob like a big baby. On Christmas. It's not an easy read—the story jumps from Taylor's narration to her dreams to pages of a manuscript without warning or explanation, so it does require work on the part of the reader. For some, it will not seem like anything happens, though I was so involved that it felt almost action-packed to me. It will not be a book for everyone. But for some, it will be a very, very special read.
Melina Marchetta's writing is top-notch, spot-on, perfect-a-mundo, beautiful, her characters are believable, so real that less than twenty pages in, I forgot I was reading a novel—both because I was so involved in the story that I felt like a bystander and because the characters were so immediately real to me. I was completely entranced from page one, and I'm certainly going to buy a copy for myself. It was just lovely in every way, and it's one I already want to re-read.