“Jellicoe Road” by Melina Marchetta

Before I cracked open Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta a lot of people warned me that it was a difficult book to get into, but that if I persevered I would love it. I think that’s a great description. It took me at least fifty pages to grasp what the heck was going on, and then I became so hooked I stayed up until midnight to finish the story.

Set in Australia,  Jellicoe Road tells two parallel plots. One’s “St. Elmo’s Fire” meets “The Breakfast Club”, and the other is “Lord of the Flies” meets “Survivor”. It’s hard to describe anything beyond that without giving away spoilers, but both storylines include a territorial war between the Townies, the Cadets, and the residents of Jellicoe school.

At its best, Jellicoe Road  is the story of survival in the face of impossible odds. At its worst, it leans towards melodrama because Marchetta packed every last awful thing that could happen to a kid in 419 pages. But somehow, it really works. This is a book I would love to see on the big screen!

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