Book Review: Jellicoe Road

“From this distance everything is so bloody perfect.”
― Melina Marchetta, Jellicoe Road
Book Title: Jellicoe Road
Author: Melina Marchetta
Publication Date: 2007
Genres: YA Fiction, Realistic Fiction
Goodreads Rating: 4.18 Stars
My Rating: 4.5 Stars

I’m dreaming of the boy in the tree. I tell him stories. About the Jellicoe School and the Townies and the Cadets from a school in Sydney. I tell him about the war between us for territory. And I tell him about Hannah, who lives in the unfinished house by the river. Hannah, who is too young to be hiding away from the world. Hannah, who found me on the Jellicoe Road six years ago.Taylor is leader of the boarders at the Jellicoe School. She has to keep the upper hand in the territory wars and deal with Jonah Griggs – the enigmatic leader of the Cadets, and someone she thought she would never see again.

And now Hannah, the person Taylor had come to rely on, has disappeared. Taylor’s only clue is a manuscript about five kids who lived in Jellicoe eighteen years ago. She needs to find out more, but this means confronting her own story, making sense of her strange, recurring dream, and finding her mother – who abandoned her on the Jellicoe Road.

1. Rough start, smooth finish. This probably had a lot more to do with my frame of mind than the book itself. (I shouldn’t start reading books when I’m hungry. Note taken.) I found the first third of the book to be pretty disjointed and confusing. I think that this was for a reason. Taylor is lost and confused, but as the novel goes on, Taylor becomes more certain and sure of herself, and the novel begins tying up loose ends that were quite confusing at the beginning. So, whether it was by design or it was just my hungry head getting confused, the novel does clear up as you go on.

2. The original 5 stole my heart. So the novel opens with a story of a family getting in a car accident. Then, flash forward 22 years, and we meet Taylor. No, Taylor is not in the opening series. But as I found out more about those 5 kids mentioned at the beginning, I began to wish they were my best friends. They are funny, and they really and truly care about each other. Once I realized how the book was playing out, I was eager to get more information about these mysterious kids.

3. It’s just a good story. Did this story change my life? No, probably not. But overall, it’s a compelling and intriguing story, and it kept me turning the pages and wanting to know what happens. I read this novel in 2 days. It was a quick read, but so darn good.

This novel shows the meaning and importance of family, and I felt a real connection with the characters.


“It’s funny how you can forget everything except people loving you. Maybe that’s why humans find it so hard getting over love affairs. It’s not the pain they’re getting over, it’s the love.”

“He stops and looks at me. ‘I’m here because of you. You’re my priority. Your happiness, in some fucked way, is tuned in to mine. Get that through your thick skull. Would I like it any other way? Hell, yes, but I don’t think that will be happening in my lifetime.”

“But grief makes a monster out of us sometimes . . . and sometimes you say and do things to the people you love that you can’t forgive yourself for.”

“These people have history and I crave history. I crave someone knowing me so well that they can tell what I’m thinking. Jonah Griggs takes my hand under the table and links my fingers with his and I know that I would sacrifice almost anything just to keep this state of mind, for the rest of the week at least.”

“If I want more, I need to go and get it, demand it, take hold of it with all my might, and do the best I can with it.”

10 thoughts on “Book Review: Jellicoe Road

  1. I don't think I ever got over that first confusing part. I felt really frustrated for the first 1/3, so it made it harder for me to care when I got over that hump. I liked the writing and the characters were pretty cool, but all the confusing stuff was not for me 🙂

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  2. Hmm..I've never heard of this novel, and from the description, I'm not sure that it's something I would have picked up before reading your review. I like how you mentioned the book starts out confusing and disjointed because the main character is in a confusing and disjointed place, but then things begin to become clearer. Admittedly, I love reading books with good love stories, but there are a few books I've read where the relationship within a family overshadows any kind of love story, so I'm kind of interested to see how this turns out now. Adding to my TBR list!

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  3. I feel like the first third of any book can be a bit of a struggle depending on my frame of mind lol. It has to be a really good book to have me hooked from the start. Usually takes at least 100 pages to completely sell me on most books. Will read!

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