On the Backlist: Jellicoe Road

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.

I know that there are a lot of adult readers who have strong (and possibly negative) feelings young adult literature. Let me say this: if you read just one YA book in your entire life, may I suggest you consider this one?

Jellicoe Road is the kind of book that has teenage protagonists, but they have mature voices and experiences, and because of their life experiences, they–and the book–aren’t melodramatic or trite. Jellicoe Road is an intricately plotted mystery, filled with multi-dimensional characters and extraordinary emotion. I’m not a huge crier (well, not when I’m reading, anyway), but I wept when I read this book. Marchetta’s writing is powerful, and it’s impossible not to feel deeply for her characters.

I don’t want to give anything about this plot away. It’s best, I think, to go into it blind and not know what you’ll be reading. I will say that there are details that are purposefully left out in the first several chapters, and as a reader, you’re playing catch-up. It’s written that way in a sophisticated bid to put you in the characters’ shoes. Stick with it and trust the writing, and all will be revealed. You’ll be grateful that you did.

Now, you’ll note that there’s an advisory note up above. It’s true that there is a fair amount of harsh language in this book. I’ll say that I’m not sure whether I would have finished this book in the last year or two (I’ve become much more picky about what I read, profanity-wise). I feel like I need to warn readers, especially those whom I know feel the same way I do about swearing. That said, if it doesn’t bother you, or not so much, the story is amazing. A-ma-zing. I won’t try and talk anyone out of their principles, but I was glad I read it. You’ll obviously have to make your own decision.

Jellicoe Road is one of my favorite young adult novels ever, and rates very highly on my list of favorite novels of any genre. Marchetta is uncommonly brilliant and talented, and it’s kind of ridiculous that I still haven’t read anything else she’s written. 5 stars. I usually subtract one for adult content, so just know that I’d have given this book 6 stars to begin with, if I could.

How about you? Have you read any of Marchetta’s other novels? Or Jellicoe Road? What did you think?


5 Stars

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