Why Jellicoe Road is My Favorite Book of All Time

Most of you (I hope) know about my deep and profound love for Melina Marchetta’s book Jellicoe Road. Screen Shot 2015-05-10 at 12.32.33 PM

My love for Jellicoe Road is so profound I talk about it in my Twitter bio.

I read Jellicoe Road for the first time when I was in seventh grade. I cried. Hysterically. It was one of the first books that left me breathless, emotionally drained, and utterly in awe. I finished Jellicoe Road and I immediately thought, “I want to write a book like that.” I wanted, and still do, to write a book that causes someone the kind of emotions that I feel after finishing Jellicoe Road. It inspired me to seriously write for the first time (as in, finish a book) and to launch myself into blogging in a different way. I wanted to learn everything I could about blogging, writing, and publishing. I wanted to be, essentially, Melina Marchetta.

Melina Marchetta has this very unique style of writing. It’s lyrical and heart-wrenchingly beautiful.

I wish I could tell her it breaks my heart that I miss her more than my mother and that the thing that frightens me the most about next October when I graduate is not that I won’t have a home, but that I won’t have her.

She writes these long sentences that build and build and build and create this rhythm I’m in love with. You ride the book on waves – the shorter sentences are the more even places and the long ones are moments of true emotion where you can barely breathe because of the pain, love, and beauty.

The synopsis of Jellicoe Road that you find on Goodreads and the back of the book sucks. I hate it. It doesn’t fully encapsulate this book, but then again, it’s hard to. I’m going to put it here anyways, just so for all of you who haven’t read it, you will know what I’m talking about.

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.

If I was writing the synopsis it would say this: Jellicoe Road is the story of a girl. It’s the story of a girl who loves without apology and dreams of a father she almost had. It’s the story of a girl who, despite all the things her mother has done, loves unconditionally.

It’s the story of falling in love and trusting someone with the darkest of secrets. Of letting other people hold you up. Of falling into that black hole of sadness and finding your way out of it. Of realizing that people care, despite what you may think.

It’s my favorite book because even after reading it seven times, I cry. I cry for Taylor, for her mother, for Hannah, for Jonah, for Chaz and Raffy, for Ben and his stupid violin, for Tate, for Webb, for Narnie, for Fitz, and for Jude. I cry for the people they once were and the people they become.

There is something about this book that makes me fall in love with it every time. That makes me love every sentence of it. I probably have three hundred tabs in it, bookmarking favorite sentences and there’s four hundred pages. When I talk to people about this book I don’t even know where to start.

What do I tell them? Do I tell them about Taylor and her pain? Or do I tell them about her ability to love with all of her soul? Do I tell them about Jonah and his past, or Jonah and his present? Do I tell them about Raffy and Ben, who despite years of not speaking, care for Taylor in the way only true friends do? Or do I tell them about Tate, Webb, Narnie, Fitz, and Jude, who live for one another?

But I usually say this about Jellicoe Road:

I’ve read it seven times and it still makes me cry.

  • Jen

    I freaking love how much you love this book. I totally remember reading this because in the early days I met you, YOU were the one book-pushing this one on me. It was super confusing the first time I read it, so I definitely want to re-read it. Oh gosh, I really need to!!

    • You NEED to re-read. I’ll even re-read it WITH you. This summer maybe? I love this book so much I need to re-read now.

  • This review reminded me that I actually own this book, but have never read it. You make it sound really amazing though =D Why is my TBR getting longer, while I still can’t read any faster… ><

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