"What do you want from me?" he asks. What I want from every person in my life, I want to tell him. More.
Abandoned by her mother on Jellicoe Road when she was eleven, Taylor Markham, now seventeen, is finally being confronted with her past. But as the reluctant leader of her boarding school dorm, there isn't a lot of time for introspection. And while Hannah, the closest adult Taylor has to family, has disappeared, Jonah Griggs is back in town, moody stares and all.
In this absorbing story by Melina Marchetta, nothing is as it seems and every clue leads to more questions as Taylor tries to work out the connection between her mother dumping her, Hannah finding her then and her sudden departure now, a mysterious stranger who once whispered something in her ear, a boy in her dreams, five kids who lived on Jellicoe Road eighteen years ago, and the maddening and magnetic Jonah Griggs, who knows her better than she thinks he does. If Taylor can put together the pieces of her past, she might just be able to change her future.
THIS BOOK. I was super confused going in, and honestly, for the first 100 pages, I had no idea what kind of book Jellicoe Road was supposed to be. But then! It got so ridiculously good. Two stories meld into one. Enemies become friends. Mysteries are solved.
By the end, I was a puddle of a human. Taylor slowly reveals (or understands) her past, and the ramifications of how that impacts the people in her life is either heart-breaking or heart-warming.
And turf wars!? That is awesome! Taylor goes head to head with Jonah, leader of the Cadets, and Santangelo, leader of the Townies. There are fights, territory discussions, and under-the-cover-of-night espionage. If my high school had been like that...I probably would have been too terrified to contribute. But I would have wanted to, because it is awesome!
The best part, though, was the story that Taylor reads throughout the book. Finding out what that story means is just mind-blowing. My heart exploded, I'm pretty sure. There were several twists that I saw coming, but for the first time, it didn't lessen the impact of the reveal. And there were several more that left me reeling.
I cannot speak highly enough about this book, or more adamantly encourage readers to stick through the confusing beginning, because it gets SO WORTH IT.
Five out of five dreams in a tree.
Release Date: August 2008
Reading Level: Grade 8+
Where In Dunlap Public Library's Collection: YPL MAR
Don't believe me? Check out these reviews of Jellicoe Road:
Forever Young Adult
The Crooked Shelf