Title: Jellicoe Road
Author: Melina Marchetta
Date(s) listened: April 11 – 12, 2013
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Library (playaway)
Length: 8 hours 53 minutes (Unabridged)
Narrated by: Rebecca Macauley
Published by: Findaway World (April 1, 2009)
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.
There are some books that everyone has read and loved and I feel so far behind that I wonder if I’ll ever get around to them. This book wasn’t the book I had intended to listen to. I had gone to a neighbouring library, during the brief closure of my own, wanting to take out Melina Marchetta’s Saving Francesca, a book which has been receiving plenty of praise. The audiobook I took out was a playaway and, unfortunately, it didn’t work when I went to listen to it. I went back in the library and saw Jellicoe Road and took it out instead. Only after I started listening to it did I realize that this book was by the same author as Saving Francesca, so it was kind of funny that I ended up picking it out.
One thing that I really enjoyed with this story was the characters. It took me a while to warm up to some of them, but I liked how Melina didn’t let us fall in love with them right away, but gave us a bit to love and a bit to hate for all of them so that we could make up our own minds. There was also some wonderful romance to this story — something that I wasn’t expecting, but something that made me so happy. Really, the story is more mystery than anything else, so bringing in the romance really kept me intrigued. The story also took me way past my comfort zone, almost to the point where I would stop what I was doing just to really take in the narration.
The one thing I didn’t quite understand with this story was the war games — maybe it was just me, but it didn’t seem to enhance the plot at all, although maybe it was there to introduce some of the characters from Taylor’s past. It also took me quite some time to really get into the story. There was a bit of jumping around, so it came across a little confusing for me while listening, but eventually it all came together. There was one pivotol moment in Taylor’s history that was the part that got me hooked and from that point on, I couldn’t stop listening.
I can’t talk about this book without talking about the narration. Rebecca Macauley was an AMAZING narrator — so wonderful that I had to go and see what other titles she had narrated because I loved her so much. Rebecca added so much emotion to Taylor’s character — and, really, to all of the dialogue and story. Her pauses were spot on and there were sections that almost brought me to tears because there would be a quaver in her voice as she spoke an important piece of dialogue. Normally, with a female narrator. I dislike the male voices, but not with Rebecca. There was a huskiness to her male voices that didn’t seem fake, but seemed to suit the characters. I also didn’t have any issues with the Australian accent, something I found confusing with other audiobooks.
I really can’t wait to try out more stories by Melina Marchetta. I think she’s a wonderful writer and can really bring out such emotion in a story. She writes wonderful characters, brilliant romance, and such great stories of family that it’s hard to put the story down. This might not be a favourite of mine just yet, but Melina Marchetta is definitely an author I hope to see more of in the future.