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Looking for Alibrandi
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Looking for Alibrandi

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  11,146 ratings  ·  830 reviews
For as long as Josephine Alibrandi can remember, it's just been her, her mom, and her grandmother. Now it's her final year at a wealthy Catholic high school. The nuns couldn't be any stricter—but that doesn't seem to stop all kinds of men from coming into her life.

Caught between the old-world values of her Italian grandmother, the no-nonsense wisdom of her mom, and the boy...more
Paperback, 313 pages
Published May 9th 2006 by Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published October 5th 1992)
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Best Young Adult Realistic Novels
96th out of 1,322 books — 8,015 voters
On the Jellicoe Road by Melina MarchettaFinnikin of the Rock by Melina MarchettaSaving Francesca by Melina MarchettaThe Piper's Son by Melina MarchettaFroi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta
Favorite Melina Marchetta Novels
6th out of 9 books — 179 voters

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Community Reviews

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this book is like a dragon egg. it is somewhat unusual compared to others of its kind, and it is pretty, but you know that when it hatches it is going to let loose some magnificent beast beyond human reckoning.

marchetta is a magnificent dragon.

and this book is good, and you can see the beginnings of what she will become, but it is definitely a first novel, before she understood her own power.

i reluctantly love josie alibrandi (although we are not friends, so i must call her josephine) she is a c...more
When I was in school, we routinely had to complete projects about our heritage. People asked (and still ask) “what are you?” meaning what is your nationality. A lot of these projects ended up with discussions about why third or fourth generation Americans still call themselves Irish, Italian, Korean, Filipino, Greek, etc. instead of saying they are American first. My blood is pretty watered down at this point—Irish, Swedish, German, Spanish…but it really doesn’t matter. I’m sure kids in other pr...more
5 "Cloaked by Reminiscence" Stars.


The seventeen Janis Ian sang about where one learns the truth. But what she failed to mention is hat you keep learning truths after seventeen, and I want to keep on learning truths till I die.

Oh yes, again.

Melina Marchetta, I'm telling you, people are going to think I write repetitive reviews for your books because I'm in a severe dearth of adjectives now.

Amazing ?

Lovely ?

Beautiful ?

I ended up in the thesaurus looking for synonyms but well, I couldn't...more
Enjoyed Melina Marchetta's debut novel very much, even though it was not as strong and heartbreaking as her Printz-winning Jellicoe Road.

Looking for Alibrandi is a simple coming-of-age story (oh, how I hate this expression!). Josephine is a 17-year old Australian of Italian descend. She is in her last year of school and it's a time in her life when she needs to face many important things - what does she want to be? how should she deal with her newly acquired father who appears after being MIA fo...more
The first Marchetta. The only one I hadn't read. It was as precious to me as a last born in Charyn and I kept it hidden away for as long as I could. And then Carla declared that it was time to break the emergency glass on this book.

Josephine Alibrandi had me from the beginning. I knew I was dealing with a kindred spirit when on page 5 she says,
"Believe me, I could write a book about problems. Yet my mother says that as long as we have a roof over our head we have nothing to worry about. Her naiv
Lisa O.
I knew it. I just knew that my complete love for Melina Marchetta was clouded only by her 3rd person POV. And this book is the proof that I was right! I'm relieved I got that out of my system.

I loved this book. Loved it. It's up there with Saving Francesca and Jellicoe Road. But possibly, I loved this book even more than the others. Now I'm going to tell you why.

In 1956, my grand-uncle was 16 when he kissed his mum and dad goodbye, jumped on a boat and took off for Australia in search of fortun...more
Looking for Alibrandi is Melina Marchetta’s debut – and after the emotional rollercoaster that were Saving Francesca, Jellicoe Road and The Piper’s Son, I have to admit that I am a little underwhelmed. Don’t get me wrong, compared to a lot of other debuts, this one is still excellent, but on the Melina-Marchetta scale it is probably my least favourite (This sounds bad here, but except Finnikin, all her other novels are among my absolute all-time favourites).

Why? Simply because it didn’t tug on...more
See more reviews at YA Midnight Reads

I have nothing new to say about Looking for Alibrandi; my review is just going to be an echo of everyone else’s thoughts. I don’t know why I took such a prolonged time to start reading Melina Marchetta novels, but I certainly regret that I didn’t start sooner. In fact, I probably should have listened to my mum when she recommended it to me last year--it was the first book she ever read in English when she first came to Australia. She is still in love with it...more
*Fangirl warning*

How do you review your favourite book in the universe? Well I was going to say you can't and just continue leaving this unreviewed. Instead what follows is some insane gushing and personal Trin facts.

When I was 15 I received a copy of Looking for Alibrandi for Christmas, I had never heard of it, though at 15 I'd never really heard of much besides the Backstreet Boys. I remember looking at the cover and being skeptical. It had been years since I'd really read anything that wasn't...more
Mar 06, 2011 Arlene rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Arlene by: TBR Reduction Challenge #5 - Nomes
Rating Clarification: 4.5 Stars

I only wish we could have been the best or the worst in the class. Not just somewhere in between… Purgatory... I hate it so much that when I die, and if God sends me there, I’ll beg him to send me to hell instead.

What can I say about Melina Marchetta that I haven’t said before? I love her character driven novels, I wish I could meet each and everyone one of them, and if I could define novel honesty fused with passion, I’d stamp a Marchetta book cover as an example....more

“I’ll run one day. Run for my life. To be free and think for myself. Not as an Australian and not as an Italian and not as an in-between. I’ll run to be emancipated. If my society will let me.”

Initial Final Page Thoughts.
I honestly think the world will stop turning the day I read a MM book I do not like.

High Points.
Strong females. Josie. Nuns. Religion. Family. The past. Jacob. The future. FBA. Identity. Culture. Fast food first jobs. Stories. Catching me off guard with the sadness (which I di...more
I think it would be an understatement to say I loved this book. Although Looking for Alibrandi is by no means my favorite Marchetta novel, it's definitely tied with The Piper's Son for third. (In case you were wondering, Saving Francesca is my favorite followed closely by Jellicoe Road. ) In many ways, I feel as if Looking for Alibrandi is Marchetta's most personal novel - I felt as if I could feel parts of her within it. Although authors pour a part of their soul into every work of fic...more
I can definitely see why this novel won a whole bunch of awards. There's a lot of layers to this book, just like all of the other Marchetta novels I've read. This is the story of a girl dealing with all of the complexities of having two nationalities, while not really fitting in to either one. It's also about three generations of Italian women who broke the rules. Throw in a coming of age story with first love and all of that good stuff, and you still don't have half of what this book is about....more
Aly (Fantasy4eva)
I'm good at the reviewing part. The thoughts come and I just jot them down, but damn I must have tried to write this one for at least 3 times now. And frankly I'm getting pissed off. So let me try this one more time.

It's the weakest Marchetta novel I've read to date. It doesn't pull on your heart-strings. And whereas her books are so character driven, I felt no connection to any character this time around (apart perhaps a little to John.) I did find how Josie dealt with not feeling accepted and...more
I have never come across an author whose work I swore by. I've read many great pieces of literature but they stand alone, they are individual. A writer's first novel might leave me uninspired but his second novel might break my heart. Its like music, not every song by a musician is going to be a hit. Until Melina Marchetta. I wasn't even worried when I picked up Looking for Alibrandi because I knew it would be good. And it was. I feel like all of her books are on par with each other, except for...more
I think if I had read Looking for Alibrandi first, I would have given it five stars. Of course, then Goodreads would have had to come up with an additional star rating for her other books! Melina Marchetta works her trademark magic in her very first book, holding onto you until the very last page. Looking for Alibrandi has all the components of an amazing young adult book - emotionally gripping, introspective and witty. But somehow, it lacks the punch her later books have. It doesn't grab you by...more
Aug 24, 2011 Milly rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of Melina Marchetta and of young-adult contemporary fiction
Recommended to Milly by: Street Corner bookers
**Audible Review**
Aussie Reading Challenge #5

I was initially hesitant to read Looking for Alibrandi in the audible version because I was fearful I would miss all of Merlina Marchetta’s noteworthy and notable quotes. I’ve read 3 of her books and there were definitely several quotable lines in each one so I was sure this was no different. But, it was there staring at me at the library’s book shelf waiting for me to take it home. How could anyone resist Marchetta, right? Well, thankfully I did beca...more
I can't believe this was a debut novel. Melina Marchetta has a brilliant way of writing real and relatable characters that you feel an immediate connection to. This was an amazing story that had me laughing hysterically in many parts. I've been having a hard time trying to think of what to say in this review so I'm just going to list the things I love about this book:

Josephine and her big, smart mouth. She's feisty and not a pushover. That along with her big mouth often gets her into trouble. Ye...more
All through the reading of this book, I felt like the author hadn't been able to decide quite what she was writing; is this a teen's journal or is it a first-person narration book? Every chapter seemed to address some subject of the main character's life, and mostly they seemed really disconnected. I didn't think the writing was smooth at all, though it wasn't because it was trying to imitate a teen's voice. I liked some of the concepts, but overall it just seemed like there was a pattern of "st...more
Oh, man.
Melina Marchetta keeps stunning me. At the end of each and every one of her books I always feel like I've been buried so deep inside someone else's mind and life that I physically disappeared from mine.
Josie, just like Francesca, feels more real to me than some people I know, which is obviously partly because I got to be inside her brain, but also because she's deep and multifaceted and flawed, but wonderful.

It's far from being a perfect book, and you can feel that it's a debut from the...more
Will be edited later, it's late and I know I rambled on a bit...

I like that I happen to read Marchetta's books out of publishing order, it really strikes me that even though this is is her first novel I sit here thinking to myself of all the stories that she has woven for us all and I love her more for it. To know this was the first one... the first of many great ones is astounding.

If I were to sit and write a novel, through many, many - MANY rewrite get something completed it would be no where...more
Jun 10, 2011 Alyssa rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who believes in the power of making your own freedom.
Recommended to Alyssa by: A bunch of Goodreaders. Thanks, guys!
Melina Marchetta is a goddamn genius. Really, she is. She so easily captivated me with her debut, LOOKING FOR ALIBRANDI, when I haven’t really been able to finish anything in the last month.

I am almost completely deprived on new material by Miss Melina. I was trying to save this little, tiny thing for a rainy day, the kind where you really need something to hold you to place. When I finally picked up this book, it was because I truly needed something guaranteed to be good to keep me hanging on...more
What else is there to say? Marchetta owns me. I'll continue to read anything she writes.

Okay, so really all I can say is this book made me laugh, cry, rage, forgive, and accept. I don't know what it is about Marchetta, but she really gets the dynamics of human relationships and the layers of the individual.

This is another one of her works that doesn't disappoint. Not only did Melina touch on the person to person relationship she's done in her other works, but this time she also brought the are...more
When I first cracked open the book and read the first couple of pages, I was already chuckling and smiling to myself. I loved the way the book began, it was funny and entertaining, and made a great first impression. I liked how it started; as it gives you an inside look on the main character, Josephine, through a quiz. However, she is interrupted by no less than an angry nun. Doesn’t that make for an interesting beginning?

This book displayed so many emotions. It was funny, bubbly, passionate, c...more
Humor, passion, family and friends are all bound up in this tidy little book. I have come to expect all these things from Melina Marchetta. She does not disappoint in this one: Josephine Alibrandi is smart, sassy, melodramatic, loud, and funny as hell. Vice Captain in her school she considers herself a social outcast, or at least not among “the beautifuls“. Why? She is of Italian descent. Does this make her less? Not according to her, but she feels that others feel that way. A lot of the crap sh...more
Mar 14, 2011 Mayomi rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone

Loved this book, just like all the other Melina Marchetta books I've read recently. Once you start you never want to stop reading. I mean I read the book under 7 hours.

The only negative thing, which is quite minor really, is that unlike MM other books, I sort of didn't care much for some of the secondary characters. Usually Melina has this uncanny ability to make you care for each and every one of the characters in her book.

Nevertheless, the way the story unfolds between the three Alibr...more
For a book written 22 years ago, it's absolutely timeless. I loved this story about family, love, forgiveness, and loss so much. Josie's voice is memorable, biting, raw, and honest.


Looking for Alibrandi is my first bookbyMelina Marchetta, and I must say that I wasn't disappointed. To be honest, it took me a while tofinish this book. I blame Pneumonia. I guess being sick made me just want torelax, and I chose to watch a lot of Asian Dramas. But when I finally found the time to finish the book, I felt all sorts of feelings.

Josephine Alibrandi is of Italian descent. Her ancestors came to Australia to find greener pastures. But their past wasn't perfect. She lives with her mo...more
Whenever the subject of Marchetta's realistic fiction comes up, I keep telling people to start with Looking for Alibrandi. For some it's already too late - geniuses who decided to start with Jellicoe Road (you know who you are) or ultimate geniuses who thought the best way to do this thing was by starting with Saving Francesca (moi) - but there's still hope for the rest of you. The thing is, while Melina Marchetta has yet to write a book I don't like, and I don't think she has it in her, if I'm...more
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Melina Marchetta was born in Sydney Australia. Her first novel, Looking For Alibrandi was awarded the Children's Book Council of Australia award in 1993 and her second novel, Saving Francesca won the same award in 2004. Looking For Alibrandi was made into a major film in 2000 and won the Australian Film Institute Award for best Film and best adapted screen play, also written by the author. On the...more
More about Melina Marchetta...
On the Jellicoe Road Finnikin of the Rock (Lumatere Chronicles, #1) Saving Francesca Froi of the Exiles (Lumatere Chronicles, #2) The Piper's Son

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“Living is the challenge. Not dying. Dying is so easy. Sometimes it only takes ten seconds to die. But living? That can take you eighty years and you do something in that time.” 130 likes
“Promise me you'll never stop dreaming.” 117 likes
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