At age eleven, Taylor Markham was abandoned by her mother. At fourteen, she ran away from boarding school, only to be tracked down and brought back by a mysterious stranger. Now seventeen, Taylor's the reluctant leader of her school's underground community, whose annual territory war with the Townies and visiting Cadets has just begun. This year, though, the Cadets are led by Jonah Griggs, and Taylor can't avoid his intense gaze for long. To make matters worse, Hannah, the one adult Taylor trusts, has disappeared. But if Taylor can piece together the clues Hannah left behind, the truth she uncovers might not just settle her past, but also change her future.
Gahhh I loved this one so much! Why have I not jumped on the Australian YA bandwagon before? Everything about Jellicoe Road was beautiful: the writing, the setting, the characters. I honestly can't wait to read more of Melina Marchetta's work and I'll definitely be re-reading this one. P.s. I wept like a baby during the last few chapters of the book, dear lord, Melina Marchetta knows how to pack in some raw emotion. Make sure you have a tissue box to hand when reading this!
But first, the deal. Jellicoe Road is the story of Taylor Markham, a seventeen year old girl abandoned by her mother (when she was eleven) on the Jellicoe Road, a scenic route near Sydney. She attends the Jellicoe School, and is embroiled in the seemingly never-ending territory wars with the Townies (those who live in Jellicoe) and the Cadets (who visit from Sydney annually for training). The fact that she actually doesn't care about anyone at first doesn't help her situation, given that the annoying Richard is planning a takeover coup, and the leader of the Cadets is Jonah Griggs, who is involved in Taylor's past. Running through the story are snippets of Taylor's friend Hannah's manuscript about five kids in the eighties who met their fate on the Jellicoe Road. They're somehow entwined in Taylor's life and there's a big mystery here!
Taylor is totally bad-ass. She kind of scared me with how fearless she was, but she definitely had a softer side that is revealed during the course of the book. I really liked her, despite her erratic nature and general moodiness. I also liked Raffaela, her best friend; Ben, her other best friend; and the others, like Santangelo & Jessa McKenzie. NOW WE MOVE ONTO JONAH GRIGGS. Swooooon. The love I have for him is just... wow. The tension between him and Taylor is off the scale so many times, and their romance was so gorgeous it choked me up.
The adults in this story were completely enigmatic. I had a hard time understanding all the links and reasons and everything, but when I figured out the mystery, I kind of knew it had been there all along. Why did Hannah disappear? Who the heck is the Brigadier? How are Taylor and Jonah linked? What about Taylor's mum? YOU'LL HAVE TO READ IT TO FIND OUT!!
Overall, I highly recommend Jellicoe Road and this may have just been moved up to my favorite books of all time list. I have so much love for this book, it's unreal.