On the Jellicoe Road
Author: Melina Marchetta
Publisher: Bolinda Audio Books 2006
length: 9 hr. 5 min.
Classification: Young Adult Fiction
Genre: Contemporary life
Topics: Coming of age, abandonment, romance, mystery
Media Type: Audiobook, read by Rebecca Macauley
Grade level: 9+
Reader's annotation: This summer brings clarity and belonging as Taylor finally decides that the questions of her past need to be explained . As head of her boarding school house she negotiates their turf with the Cadets and the Townies while finding her past and future place in the world.
Summary: It is the summer before her last year of high school at the boarding school on the Jellicoe Road, where Taylor Markham has been since her mother abandoned her down the road six years ago. We hear her story as she pieces it together, first with memories and then with facts. This story is not linear, we get bits and pieces from the past and present, and some of it really happened, some of it is a dream, and some of it is speculation. The summer turf wars are in full swing with the Cadets at the military camp down the road and the townies, some of whom are connected with the school. All want to claim their share of the clubhouse and river crossings. Taylor is the head of the school group, a tough and angry negotiator. But as the talks continue the friendships start to build until the lines of division are completely blurred. Then Hannah disappears and forces Taylor to look at her past and try to figure out some of the questions she has about where she came from and what happened to her mother. Does Jonah, one of the enemy Cadets, have some answers for her? We listened to the audio version of this, read with an Australian accent which really put you into Taylor’s head. Some of the writing is almost a stream of consciousness. This is a fascinating and confusing book that I think I will have to reread this summer.
Evaluation: Told in first person, this is a very complex book. There is no background information so the story unfolds as Taylor herself figures things out. This makes it challenging reading but the reader becomes so invested in her search for the truth that one will find they can’t put down the book. Excellent coming of age story that shows how we are all flawed but worthwhile people.
- I grew up outside of Boston, went to college in western MA and lived in NYC dancing for several years before getting my teaching credentials and unintentionally moving to Santa Cruz CA. Married and divorced with two kids almost grown, a daughter in college and a son in high school, I am thrilled to be a librarian now, something that I should have done years ago. I love the applications of technology and realize that I have been interested in that since my first computer class back in 1986 - a new requirement for teaching degrees. Finally I can combine my love of curriculum, educational resources, working with adults and children, and technology applications.