The Forest of Hands and teeth was my first zombie novel :) I was riveted. I felt like I was in Mary's world, and the literary writing added to the hau...moreThe Forest of Hands and teeth was my first zombie novel :) I was riveted. I felt like I was in Mary's world, and the literary writing added to the haunting images that Ryan paints. I love how she wasn't afraid to take it to darker places (compared to a happily-ever-after) but ultimately left me with a sense of hope.(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)
Reasons Why I loved it: I loved Clay's voice (a fantastic male protagonist.) I loved the premise and fresh twist on a suicide themed book It was compelli...moreReasons Why I loved it: I loved Clay's voice (a fantastic male protagonist.) I loved the premise and fresh twist on a suicide themed book It was compelling and I found the pacing to be pretty much spot on I was surprised by just how moved I was by the end of it. It's one of those books that tell such a good story that I didn't even realise until the end just how strong and impacting the overall message was I'm in awe of how the book masterfully handled the darkness and tragedy with hope and I felt kinda empowered by the end of it (haha - cheesy, I know) It was original and all the characters felt grounded. It didn't feel cliché.
I know this is one of those love/hate books. Obviously, I'm in the love camp :) But I do get why people can't connect with it.
Those that say Hannah was vindictive/calculating/cruel to leave the tapes behind. Really, her voice does not come across as calculating, cruel, spiteful or vindictive. And imposing those ideas onto her is kind of mixing up the character with the premise. I know she did make the tapes - but I think it was an awesome way to explore one girls act of taking her own life and the little things that impact on it. So I didn't get too worked up on the reasons behind the actual making of the tapes, sometimes I think you're best just to flow with the premise and read the story.
There are also those that say the reasons why were stupid and incidental. Hmmm. In some ways, that's highlighting the message. Really, most victims of suicide don't have some HUGE major revealing Hollywood reason why they took their own life. Suicide isn't about that. It's about a state of mind. Losing hope. Little things aren't so little anymore.
Then again, if you don't connect with Hannah's voice, I guess you don't connect...
As a writer, there's lots to admire about how well Jay Asher handled the story. It can't have been easy to write: The way he handled setting around town with the listening of the tapes. Juggling Clay's story as well as Hannah's voice. The non-chronological time line (trust me, I once tried to write a non-chron = fail). The fact that it reads so effortlessly just shows how well crafted it is. I know I'm looking forward to his next book.
As a reader, well, I just liked it. I did take a while to warm into the story and at first I was unsure about Hannah and how I felt about her (but I loved Clay from the start - he's just an all-round great guy), but somewhere along the line, I started to really care about Hannah. I even started wishing that she hadn't really killed herself after all and somehow, it would all work out for her... (less)
Melina Marchetta mentioned it as a fave read of 2009.
Author Julia Lawrinson said: 'If you only read one book th...moreI was hanging out to read this because:
Melina Marchetta mentioned it as a fave read of 2009.
Author Julia Lawrinson said: 'If you only read one book this year ... it should be Kirsty Eagar's Raw Blue …"
with a 19 year old protag and a 26 year old love interest, it's my kind of fave upper YA
surfing, Sydney, haunted past, Aussie YA :)
My Review: Mate, Raw Blue is so Australian, hey? It is also so authentic that I experienced little pools of tension in my gut and tiny bubbles of hope that Carly would be okay. A powerful, raw and beautiful novel that now sits proudly on my all time faves shelf.
It has this languid, quietly intense pace which you sit back in the pocket, holding your breath. I was only a fifth in when I was startled to discover that Carly had gotten under my skin in a way that a literary character hasn't for a very long time. I was crazily invested in her and felt all ripped up and torn inside-out as the novel progressed. I so wanted her to be okay.
Carly is such an awesome protag - 19, tough surfer girl, vulnerable and alone, hurting (after a traumatic/shocking event @ schoolies) not letting anyone in. Enter Ryan - surfer, 26. With his own dodgy/dangerous past. And, he likes Carly. The scenes of them meeting and starting to hang out and then Carly deciding whether to trust Ryan - it's mesmerising and lip-biting and beautiful and painful all at once. These characters are contemporary YA at it's best.
The characters and dialogue were not only distinctly Australian, but they were so nuanced and authentic that I felt like I was eavesdropping on real life. I loved the surfing scenes, where the ocean was like a living, breathing all-consuming force. Kirsty has such a way with words that you are engaged in the scene with all your five senses.
Also, I have to mention Danny, one of my fave characters. A 15 year old surfer with synaesthesia (so completely fascinating) who befriends Carly and was an awesome dude in general.
I read this in one gulping heap and even now Carly's story continues to linger. Not only was this novel brilliantly engaging - but it's also an important novel about hope and pain and healing. I've re-read it already, as if hoping to absorb some of the magic of Kirsty's writing into my own (ahh, hasn't happened yet). Kirsty Eagar has shot straight up onto my list of whoa-crazy-good authors.
Her sophomore novel, Saltwater Vampires, is out in September and I am so there! If it's half as good as Raw Blue - it'll be the best paranormal out there :)
I hardly ever give 5 stars I only like to save them for the best of the absolute best. This is 5 stars all the way.(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.