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)
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)
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)
First off, it is a verse novel. And I find most verse novels to be compelling and richly drawn. I read this curled up in be...moreThis book, I just loved it.
First off, it is a verse novel. And I find most verse novels to be compelling and richly drawn. I read this curled up in bed on a rainy day and flew through the pages. The thing about this book is it gets cooler and cooler as it goes on.
There were parts in it where my heart just ached for Robin and Sophie. I was definitely cheering them on. And, some events in the book filled me up with warmth in the best kind of uplifting way. Other events broke my heart and had me holding my breath - I definitely felt the tension and Robin's pain.
This book feels like high school and reminds me why teenagers are so cool and such an incredible age-group to read about. It reminds me how hard it is to be a teenager - but also how awesome it feels.
By the end, I just had this happy feeling :) In fact I have a happy feeling now just thinking about it.(less)
Every time I've read Jaclyn Moriarty's books, I think: Oooh, this book is just so delicious that I can't imagine she's ever going to think up such awe...moreEvery time I've read Jaclyn Moriarty's books, I think: Oooh, this book is just so delicious that I can't imagine she's ever going to think up such awesomely wonderful sentences again. But I keep getting proven wrong. Dreaming of Amelia took me longer to read because I kept pausing to re-read sentences, they just feel so good in my brain :) However, I am determined to maintain my fan-girl tendencies and try to bring you a dignified review. Some info about the book:
The story's told in a series of student's HSC exam responses (written essays of the gothic - but comedic - nature), blog posts (with oh-so-awesome comments), memos, emails and meeting agenda sheets, from multiple POV's: students from Ashbury High and staff as well.
And, because Jaclyn is obviously a genius, she presents them all in a sometimes chronological time line, other times not and other times overlapping so you end up with a layered and slightly chaotic telling of the events. Each layer adds intrigue and a different POV that swivels the story around slightly. So... it is unlike any other YA book out there, really. It's like Jaclyn just invented her own thing and I can't really compare it to anything else I've read. Because the structure is so different to many books, you just have to sink into to it and settle in for the ride.
The main thing you need to know about this book is that it is Funny.
Expect to feel good. And smile a lot.
And if you're a laugh-out-loud-while-reading kinda person, you will be laughing out loud, loudly.
Plus, I kind of ached in some of the more poignant moments.
Sometimes, it gets a little bit crazy. But I like that.
And, for me, I just adore the characters.
...and, I'm starting to wonder if they aren't real people, roaming around Castle Hill.
I particularly loved re-visting Em and Lyd and Cassie (of The year of Secret Assignments, who also cameo in Bindy MacKenzie), they are some of my fave YA characters ever. And, Seb. Sigh. Riley's not bad either, I definitely feel the love there.
And och, aye, Toby's Irish history and convict storyline was grand, to be sure (okay, so that sounds lame from me, but from Toby, you will feel the Irish love).
Other random things to love:
there's an axe murderer there's a mental asylum of the old fashioned kind everyone's going crazy about Riley and Amelia and the mystery and wonder of them... there's ghostly activity at Ashbury High there's love and broken hearts and kisses in a classroom the staff at the school are just as gloriously entertaining as the students you will learn about black holes. I know! there's parties and secrets and nostalgic moments that made me feel nostalgic too
Overall though, I am in awe of the lovely chaotic storyline and the weaving of it all together and the beautiful, mysterious climax - how does Jaclyn do that? She's a genius and I don't think her style can be mimicked - it's so deliciously unique.
I keep this one near my bedside, so I can randomly flick through it and re-read passages. It's very therapuetic :)
And, if you've never read Jaclyn Moriarty -- Go here right now and scroll down and click on the link to read the first pages...and you will fall under her spell. Haha :) No, seriously, you will.
It is the fourth in a series, but also a stand alone. However, if you were to read one before this, read The Year of Secret Assignments (Finding Cassie Crazy). Which you should read asap if you've never had The Jaclyn Moriarty Experience. (less)
This is the first book in the series that caused a borrowing frenzy in the school library. Seven teenagers camping in the bush. Australia gets invaded...moreThis is the first book in the series that caused a borrowing frenzy in the school library. Seven teenagers camping in the bush. Australia gets invaded. And the teens go militia :) First published in 1993, it's just as awesome today. And *drumroll* the movie is coming to the big screen this year! It's the biggest budgeted movie ever made in Australia. I hope it makes the whole world go crazy over these books!
This is my absolute favourite series ever and I cannot recommend it enough to adults and teens alike.
It's definitely the kind of book I would have loved as a teenager. The main thing I loved, was Morgan. She's the coolest of...moreI really liked this book.
It's definitely the kind of book I would have loved as a teenager. The main thing I loved, was Morgan. She's the coolest of narrators. I connected with her voice on the very first page. I love that feeling of only having read a page and realising, 'I am going to love this book.'
It's about Morgan and her life in a small town where she works at a grocery store (and perves on 19 year old Rob), is the girlfriend of popular jock-hottie Derek and next door-neighbour to Tessa who kisses her outside in the middle of the night. These three friends complicate all her teen-ish-hormonal feelings and general angst. She also has an alcoholic father and an enviously awesome Grandma, two little brothers who I personally feel proud of and a love of all things literary.
There's no huge inciting incident and, despite the blurb, no majorly huge event occurs (I kept guessing what was going to happen - little weird twists and scenarios that...never happened) although the secret she uncovers would really shatter your world. It's more of a read about Morgan and the cool crazy mad mess that is her life.
I think you just have to settle into a groove and go with the flow. I don't think everyone will be into this book - it's kind of quirky (in the coolest of ways. definitely not dorky) and it definitely has it's moments of tension and conflict - but what mostly kept me turning the pages was the voice and the fact that I have a little bit of a crush on Morgan. She's snarky and fun and ironic and oh-so-confused but just lovely lovely lovely. The humour in this book is definitely my style. I was smiling a lot of the time while reading it :)
Oh, and Morgan? She thinks about sex. A fair bit. Just, you know, a heads up there :) There's also a bit of language and some themes that make it an upper YA kinda read.
Stuff to Love: 1. Morgan is really into words and writing and she's always writing/thinking up little fortune cookie snippets that are a cute commentary of her life (here's the first few ones I flipped too): Be careful of hotties searching for toothpicks. Never hitch your star to someone who will live in a small town for the rest of his life. When in doubt, go to sleep. Do not enjoy uninvited kisses. For value, buy the creamed corn.
2. I loved the ending - although I'm sure it will annoy some people :)
3. Morgan drives out to the hills and yells random things out (see blurb up the top) - and, I think, that's what being a teen is all about - feeling everything so intensely that you just have to get out in the open and scream your lungs out about it.
4. There's a lot of options in Morgan's life and the path isn't clear cut and the read isn't at all predictable.
5. I didn't find one character to be cliché - but all beautifully and compellingly flawed. Along the way, most characters surprised me - with sides of their personality. Definitely richly drawn characters - impressive to find that in some of the more minor characters.
I hope I managed to convey somewhere in here just how much this book rocks! (less)