i think i liked the re-read even more. the first time through was a kinda frenzied page-flipping event. Savoured it this time (still in a day and a ha...morei think i liked the re-read even more. the first time through was a kinda frenzied page-flipping event. Savoured it this time (still in a day and a half though)(less)
I first read 'On The Jellicoe Road' in 2006. I had been DYING for it's release ~ and can still remember how tingly and giddy I felt as I walked home w...moreI first read 'On The Jellicoe Road' in 2006. I had been DYING for it's release ~ and can still remember how tingly and giddy I felt as I walked home with my copy. Back then, I had 3 kids under 5 and couldn't wait for them to get in bed so I could curl up and savour my new Melina Marchetta.
On The Jellicoe Road is notorious for people finding the beginning confusing ~ and I have seen lovers of the book urge people to persevere to find it's magic.
It was not like that for me. From the first chapter ~ I was spellbound. I remember thinking it was beautiful and haunting and funny and so entirely utterly appealing ~ the prose and the mystery and the characters. I guess I did feel a little like: what is going on? But not in a distracting way. It was absorbing and engaging and mesmerising. And entirely unexpected.
I LOVED how gorgeously chaotic the story initially felt. I knew NOTHING about it ~ I even wondered if Santangelo would be the love interest in the early days (which quickly flew from my mind as Jonah's (JONAH!) story started unravelling).
I LOVE that I knew nothing about it. Not one review, not one opinion. I had my expectations of awesomeness (it was, after all, a Melina Marchetta and I had read (and re-read) her previous two books countless times.
Reading it blindly was a stunning experience: I felt like the whole world was just me and the book. That the entire experience was mine. That no one had gone before me. That the story was for me and I was a part of the story. I still feel like that, in a way. I see others discovering it and loving it and I am SO proud of it (as if, somehow, it is mine, haha) ~ but a small part of me feels like it belongs uniquely to me. More to me than anyone else (I know this is a ridiculous sentiment, but I still feel it). I almost feel private about it ~ as if it has become a part of me and talking about is like letting others peek into my soul.
That very first time: I read it all in one go. I was shattered and absorbed and breathless and incredulous. I fell in love with the characters and the prose and the setting. I still recall finishing the book and how I felt gutted and euphoric and in awe all at once. Too stunned to cry (even though it would have been lovely to weep), I lay in my bed for an hour, just thinking about it. And then ... I picked it up and started reading it from the beginning all over again.
Since then, I have read it every year (sometimes more than once). It has never lost it's magic. It weaves itself deeper into me. It is my own personal cult book <3
It seems ridiculous that I have not reviewed my favourite book of all time. I think I just feel entirely too inadequate to be up the the task. I also feel like it is such a part of me that I want to hold it close and not share it with the world. Yet another part of me feels like I could talk about it all day long and never tire of things to say and quotes to quote.
This isn't a review, per se.
It is me, humbly telling you, that 'On The Jellicoe Road' is my favourite book of all time. It is brilliant and hopeful and ache-y and truly soul-changing. It is the kind of chaotically gorgeous masterpiece that you only ever-so-rarely stumble across. It is perfect in it's brilliance. It radiates life and hope even as it is filled with grief and sorrow. It is everything, everything , I love about reading, in such a way that it almost ruined me for other books ;) I am completely undone for it. (less)
I love Frankie and Will and Tom and all the gang. Her characters are flawed and daring and real and Australian. This book is funny and touching and a...moreI love Frankie and Will and Tom and all the gang. Her characters are flawed and daring and real and Australian. This book is funny and touching and a story of families, depression, growing up, love and hope. And I love how Melina gifted us with a sequel, The Piper's Son. I could read about her characters for years...
This book was a favourite before Id even finished it :)(less)
Guitar Highway Rose by Brigid Lowry is one of my most favourite nostalgia books <3
it came out when I was 17 and in my final year of high school.
i...moreGuitar Highway Rose by Brigid Lowry is one of my most favourite nostalgia books <3
it came out when I was 17 and in my final year of high school.
i loved it.
my mates loved it.
i carried it around with me.
i wanted to be Rosie. i crushed on Asher.
i doodled all the little icons out of it into my journal.
i answered some of the profile-y parts in my journal, too :)
it's such a perfect teenagery book.
it's about crushes and first love. running away. a road trip. a kombi van. hippies. it sweet and quirky. funny and gorgeous. and very zen-alternative-byron-bay-esque.
it's gorgeously Australian.
it is experimental in structure: the story told from all POV's: Rosie and Asher and a narrator and their parents ...
Asher is all stream-of-consciousness with no punctuation.
other parts are all the little tidbits of their lives.
how much do i love it now? it was an ultimate favourite for me 14 years ago. it's still gorgeous and addictive and makes my heart swell when I flick through it. it reminds me of myself, as a teenager (not necessarily the characters, but how i felt and how i felt reading this book for the first time). i LOVE how different and arty it is (i do not know many books like it). it's still 5 stars from me ~ for being everything i wanted a book to be and more when I was younger.
i re-read this last month. i just got it back on my shelf ~ yesterday~ after loaning it to two sisters: 11 and 13 years old who LOVED it. i recced it to an adult friend of mine (in the US) last year, and she adored it too <3
this review is much more informal and chatty (although, it is my review and i'll chat books in whatever format i like ;).
as a bonus, i took some pics of random parts of the book so you could see how it is a little bit different ... captions/explanations under the images :)
asher has dreadlocks :D rosie tries to make them ~ by putting wax in her hair O.o
lily is rosie's mum. she is having her own little freak-out due to what lily has gone and done...
this is what asher and rosie did while they were on their road trip (for part of it. for the bliss part... ;)
top of page: asher sending a post card to his byron bay friends middle: a slice of character profiles, very awesome bottom: a wednesday diary for rosie
more of how the story moves forward in it's own funky/cool way including: snippet from LIVING WITH TEENAGERS (which rosie's mum is reading. her and rosie are getting all rock in their relationship) what asher packs to run away sightings at the local bus station strange signs they see on the way rosie's thoughts while on the bus <3
what rosie and asher talk about, under a tree, while on their road trip (next section, we see all their answers to the questions)
it is my own personal aussie YA cult classic kind of book :)(less)
A brilliantly paced read with raw, flawed characters. I love how Summer's writes - her sentences and her honesty. SGA was so intense that toward...moreWhoah.
A brilliantly paced read with raw, flawed characters. I love how Summer's writes - her sentences and her honesty. SGA was so intense that towards the climax I was holding my breath and nearly had stomach pains from not breathing by the end...
I just love everything about Stealing Heaven. I love Danielle, who is a professional thief. And Greg, who is the grinning cop with crazy hair. I love...moreI just love everything about Stealing Heaven. I love Danielle, who is a professional thief. And Greg, who is the grinning cop with crazy hair. I love reading about older characters in YA (18 and 20years) and the uniqueness of the story. This is the book I wish I had written :)
The premise of a thief liking a cop is achingly done. I got a little emotional in this one. Probably just me :)
I've re-read this one and it's still a fave. I think maybe my favourite out of Elizabeth Scott's books so far...(less)
t's no secret that I am huge Elizabeth Scott fan. She is so diverse in what she writes. If you were to read Something, Maybe, you'd think she was a qu...moret's no secret that I am huge Elizabeth Scott fan. She is so diverse in what she writes. If you were to read Something, Maybe, you'd think she was a quirky, light-hearted rom-com kinda author. My librarian recently read Living Dead Girl and was astounded when I said her other work is often funny and sweet. Living Dead Girl so haunted my fave librarian that she is scared to let young teenagers read it :) Love You Hate You Miss You is edgier than some of her other work (nothing like Living Dead Girl though) and it's one of my favourite reads this year.
On first appearances, LYHYMY may seem like a cliche story-line: girl's vibrant best friend dies, girl is somehow responsible, girl seeing a psych and trying to move on with life. The thing Elizabeth Scott does best is take a ordinary situation and not only make it startlingly original, but also infuse it with real, living breathing characters.
LYHYMY is extremely readable. I was effortlessly turning the pages. It got me from page one where I instantly fell in love with Amy's voice. She's honest and refreshing and she worked her way into my heart.
Amy's parents are portrayed awesomely. Unlike many novels, her parents are together and happily in love. So in love in fact, that this in itself is a source of conflict for Amy - who makes three a crowd. I love how this impacts on Amy's decision in seeking out that belongingness with Julia.
And, although Julia was her bff, not all is as it seems - as the title suggests*. Friendships in teen years are complicated and the more you get into the book, the more you see the shades of grey in their relationship. As the book opens, Julia is already dead - yet Scott weaves in back story so brilliantly that you never feel like you are being taken out of the moment. For a dead character - Julia is contagiously vibrant and alive :)
Of course, Scott always has the most crush-worthy of love interests, and she out-did herself with Patrick. He is the quiet, mysterious type. A lot of love interests win over fans hearts by witty lines, looking hot, being romantic, etc, etc. Patrick is more of a typical teenage guy. He stares out the window. A lot. Sometimes he doesn't even talk. When he does, he's not trying to dazzle anyone. Despite Amy's first person POV, Scott really lets us peak into Patrick's soul and he is a fully fleshed out character, with his own set of problems, that you can't help but love. And, just like Scott doesn't write cliché characters, she also knows how to masterfully write those URST** moments. There's a few lines in there you can re-read to try and absorb how she does it.
So, you know, just a heads up that there's a bit of hotness in there :)
Here's a typical Patrick moment:
"It was Patrick. He was leaning against the wall, only not so much leaning as looking like he wanted to press through and get outside, get away. For some reason, I thought about asking him if he was okay, and even took an almost-step towards him, but before I could he looked at me and the expression in his eyes sent me walking away as fast as I could." p.151
Elizabeth Scott is also the master of showing, and her understated style of writing only serves to heighten the moments. Sometimes less is more:
"When he (Patrick) did, his hand touched mine, and I felt something, a strange, sudden jolt inside of me.
I used to act annoyed whenever Julia talked about Kevin and how she felt a spark every time he touched her, but the truth was, I knew exactly what she meant after that night.
He must've felt that jolt too because he said, "Oh," quietly, almost startled." p36.
It's a novel about friendship and grief and guilt and identity and love. It's an honest story about a girl - you see her bad choices and why she made them. And, it's by Elizabeth Scott, so, obviously, it's a must-read.
For more mature teens - touches on alcohol, drugs, sex and some occasional language.
*It's the coolest title, yeah? *URST Unresolved Sexual Tension(less)
I love Jennifer Echols, who knows just how to write YA romantic comedy. It's the kind of book where you just settle in and go along for the ride - whi...moreI love Jennifer Echols, who knows just how to write YA romantic comedy. It's the kind of book where you just settle in and go along for the ride - which is a rollercoaster kind of ride - fun and funny and a little bit wild.
I loved Adam. he was really well done and very crush-worthy and a little vulnerable. I love how in touch with his emotions he is :) haha. Lori is also very cool - definitely blonde, but in the best of ways.
Like most rom-com's you kinda know who the guy is supposed to be and what the happy ending will involve, so the main fun is seeing how it all goes down. Echols writes in such a way that keeps the pages turning.
It has to be said - Echols is the queen of the make-out scenes. Whoah. some pretty hot stuff in there. teens world-wide will be fanning themselves LOL.
This is a hard one for me to rate b/c I thought the first book was much more compelling than the sequel (second half of this book). The second book, for me, felt a little endless. I just didn't buy the premise (even though in this genre I will normally go along with most things) the conflict felt a little contrived and I didn't have that sense of the stakes being raised in such a way that it kept me turning the pages. it just felt more like a series of misconstrued events that frustrated me rather than amused me.
Still, definitely a fun read and teens probably wont have the same frustrations as I did in the the second half (had to remind myself who the intended audience was). While I'm here though - giving a shout out to Going Too Far - which earned a huge 5 stars from me :) Echols is still up there as a fave of mine :)(less)
I adored this book. It's funny (silly-grin-on-your-face-half-the-time-you're-reading-it-funny) and it produced the occasional snort of laughter (and I...moreI adored this book. It's funny (silly-grin-on-your-face-half-the-time-you're-reading-it-funny) and it produced the occasional snort of laughter (and I'm not a snorter, even at the best of times). It's utterly charming, really. I just love Gemma, whole-heartedly. She's dramatic and honest and comes from a crazy but genuine Aussie family and I would so be best friends with her (you would be, too). When she stuffs up, I really felt that little sinking feeling in my stomach along with her.
Plus, Raven De Head.
Stroke of genius, that name. Haha.
He is one of the coolest fleshed out love interests ever. Seriously. He is so unpretentious. Somehow, his bad boyness is not at all cliché, but rather heart-wrenchingly honest. I loved the scenes with Raven and the De Head family. The whole De Head family really struck a chord with me. One of those families that have a bad reputation, multiple wrecked cars on the front lawn, a brother in jail and the whole town against them. I actually ached for the boys, so sweet, but all tough exterior. And I could see why Gemma struggled with becoming friends with them. There's one fight scene at the De Head house that is so well done, I swear, I was in that room, wide-eyed and scared alongside Gemma.
This book was short-listed for the Children's Book Council of Australia awards (Australia's biggest annual award) and lost out to Margo Lanagan's red Spikes. It is very Australian - Aussie humour and a heap of our slang. Who doesn't love Aussie humour ;)?
Here's a quote from the School Library Journal that sums it up nicely: "Shanahan's quirky characters are a riot, but the depth of Gemma's growth and heartbreak is genuinely profound." —Terri Clark(less)