This book has phenomenal reviews on Goodreads, so I guess I’m in the minority for not loving it.
Seventeen-year-old Taylor is the leader of the secret “territory wars” that happen every year between the students at her boarding school, the teenagers in the nearby town, and the Cadets who camp near the school’s campus. When Taylor’s guardian, Hannah, goes missing, Taylor starts reading the manuscript that Hannah left behind. As she puts together the clues in the manuscript, she discovers her own history and the history of the territory wars.
There are a few elements of this book that I really like. First, it’s set in rural Australia, which isn’t a setting I’ve seen very often before. I also like the slow way that the pieces of Taylor’s life fall into place. The book starts out confusing because there are so many mysteries, but they are all solved by the end. I enjoyed trying to put the pieces together as Taylor uncovered more and more information. This novel is also very well-written, and I’d love to read more of Melina Marchetta’s work.
Maybe I’m too old for this book. I think teenage-me would have appreciated it more than twenties-me. I struggled with this novel because Taylor’s angst got on my nerves. The beginning of this book is so mysterious that it’s confusing, and I didn’t understand why Taylor was so overdramatic about everything. Even after finishing the book, I didn’t think she needed to be so angsty. I was constantly annoyed at her.
Most of the book focuses on the territory wars, which I may be too old to find interesting. The territory wars are a game that the teenagers play. They invade each other’s territory, take hostages, and negotiate for land around the school campus. Sometimes the players take the game too seriously, and somebody gets hurt. I found the territory wars childishly pointless. I think I would have liked the book a lot more if the wars had taken up less space. I considered giving up on the book several times because I just couldn’t get invested in the wargames story.
Finally, I wondered why Taylor’s past is a mystery at all. Why couldn’t the adults in her life just act like adults and talk to her about her parents? Why does her family history have to be a deep, dark secret? I don’t get it.
The lesson that I’m taking away from this book is “use your words.” A lot of angst can be prevented if people just talk to each other.
Everybody loves this book. I have absolutely no idea why. It annoyed me so much I feared for the health of my poor e-reader, as it was close to being hurled across the room several times.
This was at least twice as long as it needed to be, it was freaking obvious who all the grown-ups in Taylor's life were and the damn moronic school war shit going on for almost half the book almost killed me. I hated its pointless plot-existence with a vengeance.
What bugs me the most is that the school war crap just petered out halfway through the book, with everybody basically forgetting about it when the leaders & their posses of the respective schools become BFFs. I slogged through a lot of boring that in the end was only a tool to get the MC to meet some other people. They could have met at a yearly school get-together of some sort and the end result would have been the same. With added bonus of cutting the book in half!
It almost reads as two separate ideas for a book that were then woven together. Technically I guess it didn't suck, but jeesh was it boring me to tears for long stretches. So not my cup of tea.
I have books collecting dust on my shelf that I tell myself over and over again that I need to read. "Today will be the day," I tell myself. Instead, I pick up a book I've read numerous times but still feels like a fire truck rammed itself into my stomach each time I reach the ending.
Jellicoe Road starts off slow and I remember the first time I read it that I disliked the constant shifting between Narnie's story and Taylor's narration. I still prefer Taylor's story to Narnie's but Marchetta successfully merges both perspectives into a moving tale about survival, friendship, family, and how secrets kept with the best intentions can ultimately cause more pain and destruction to the people we love most.
This book is a tad melodramatic but I love the lyrical passages and the way the author is able to craft characters who are damaged but likeable. This is something Marchetta excels at in her other books as well. Although it's somewhat hard to believe that Taylor so easily forgets certain aspects of her upbringing, her character's strength, wittiness and persistent desire to find answers to her mysterious childhood is compelling. This book has everything: a slow burn romance, amazing dialogue, lies and secrets, major plot twists, death, friendship and a sense of community. The themes of the story are dark and none of the characters come away unscathed from the events that unfold, but there's still a possibility of hope and redemption. For me, this is the best kind of story.