Thursday, August 29, 2013

On the Jellicoe Road review

Goodreads summary: Abandoned by her mother on Jellicoe Road when she was eleven, Taylor Markham 17, finally confronts her past. Hannah, the closest adult she has to family, disappears. Jonah Griggs, moody stares and all, is back in town. If Taylor can put together the pieces of her past, she might just be able to change her future.

My thoughts: It seemed like a gift and a curse to choose Jellicoe Road after one of the longest book slumps of my life. A gift because it practically yanked me out of my bookless world. A curse because it left me with a book hangover, which in the past has led me to... a book slump.

I was so confused initially: by the sections in italics, the hermit, the cadets, and boys in trees in dreams. It was to the point that I wondered if I should stop reading. That was an option for me because I was tired of books that were just OK or just good. And I couldn't see a book that I barely understood being great. But after the melodramatic version of myself calmed down and pressed on, it became blatantly obvious how beautiful and powerful this piece of writing truly was.

Taylor is this girl with a chip on her shoulder, but to understand where she comes from and what she's gone through, it's a wonder she's done so well. But she has help throughout the story, as she finds out more about the past (hers and others), from friends who aren't "supposed" to be friends. And as their lives begin to tangle into each other's, the sections in italics make more sense. And the idea of friends being your family (or at least a part of it) becomes a deep, recurring theme.

It's amazing how the book that started off slow for me swept me away with its characters, writing, and plot.

Characters: I respect the hec out of Jonah Griggs. I want to date Chaz Santangelo. I want to be best friends with Raffaela. And I want to love Taylor until the pain stops.

Writing: I'm not really a fan of re-reading something (unless it's The Phantom Tollbooth or Shadow of the Fox) but there were so many fantastic passages that I'd be willing to re-read this.

Plot: What seemed annoying at first was a pretty brilliant way to tell a story. As a future screenwriter (hopefully), it definitely encouraged me to "step my game up" as far as storytelling goes.

It's an amazing thing to go from being mildly interested in a story to having to hold back tears during the last few chapters. There is no doubt as to why it won the Printz award, or why there's supposed to be a movie version coming out. The only thing I could hope for after was that I'd find another book that could move me... My review of Eleanor & Park should be up next week.

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