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Looking for Alibrandi

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  17,293 Ratings  ·  1,235 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 nononsense wisdom of her mom, and the boys
Paperback, 313 pages
Published May 9th 2006 by Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published October 5th 1992)
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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
Aj the Ravenous Reader

“Things don’t turn out the way you want them to. And sometimes, when they don’t, they can turn out just a little bit better.”

If anyone would ask me what makes up the best YA contemporary novel, I’d simply say, “Read Looking for Alibrandi." It makes me appreciate that I’ve read this just now because had I read it years ago, the rest of these YA contemporaries would have probably been a little letdown.

To tell you honestly, nothing about the plot is too complex to make it special. It’s basically
Jun 26, 2010 Tatiana rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, 2010, aus-nz, 2012, 2016
Update 6/13/2016. Love Josie and her big mouth.

Update 3/24/2012I feel like Josie and Jacob grow up to be Francesca's parents.

Original 2010 review
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 sh
Jan 02, 2011 Flannery rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who reads YA
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
Jun 08, 2013 Basuhi rated it it was amazing
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 could
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
May 28, 2011 Limonessa rated it it was amazing
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
☼♄Jülie 
Jul 25, 2015 ☼♄Jülie  rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone esp. Teens.
Loved it!

Quotes I like from this book:

"It's an embarrassing contradiction when your mother gets pregnant out of wedlock because her Catholic upbringing prohibits contraception."

Lovable yet complex characters reveal a good portrait of the culture of 1950's Australia.

Australia was still so young and naive .... so ignorant and brash, like a pubescent teenager fumbling towards a maturity it doesn't yet comprehend.
The influx of immigrants bringing with them a confusion of fascination and fear. Thei
Sue (Hollywood News Source)
“You know something, Jacob, I'd hate to be as smart as John. I mean he was really, really smart, and to be that smart means you know all the answers, and when you know all the answers there's no room for dreaming.”

To me, there are three different kinds of books, one where the book is simply unsatisfactory. Second where it is only appropriate for its certain era. And third where I just knew this book has made a lasting impression on me.

Looking for Alibrandi falls to the third category. From th
Jun 11, 2010 Janina rated it really liked it
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
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
Apr 10, 2012 Keertana rated it it was amazing
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
5 big ★s
I loved this, and reading it shortly after reading The Getting of Wisdom and Behind the Sun made an interesting contrast.

Josephine Alibrandi is telling her own story at the age of 18 about her last year of high school, her background, and her pals. She’s an out-of-place wog on scholarship who has a few good friends amid the snobs.

The Getting of Wisdom is a story told by Laura, describing her early years at a private school, her background, and her pals in the late 1800s. She’s an impove

“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 d
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
Dec 02, 2010 Arlene rated it really liked it
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.
Siiri (Little Pieces of Imagination)
26 sticky notes, countles teary moments and quite a few laughs later I can say that even Marchetta's debut is brilliant and magical just as her work published after Alibrandi. This book highlights perfectly, with an authentic voice, how it feels to be an immigrant. There are so many notions and remarks about politics, cultural differences, general truths of life and more that fit well to describe life now when after almost a quarter of a century has passed.


I'd recommend Looking for Alibrandi for
Dec 05, 2012 Elaine rated it liked it
In spite of my reservations I actually really enjoyed reading this book, although I couldn't help feeling that I probably should have read it in my teens. Except that it wasn't written when I was a teenager!!!! I loved Josephine and I enjoyed her spunk and thought she was very funny and clever. I also enjoyed seeing her relationship with both her Nonna and her father evolve. Although initially I thought that this might just be a teen book I realised that it was so much more with very serious the ...more
Feb 08, 2011 Vinaya rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-liked
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
Kirsti (Melbourne on my mind)
Trigger warnings: suicide, depression, some seriously controlling bullshit in romantic relationships, discrimination against ethnic minorities.

Last time I read this, I was kind of meh about it. Gave it three stars, despite all the love I'd had for it as a teenager. But five years on, I think for me this has reached classic status. It's definitely dated. There are some pretty misogynistic attitudes. The mental health side of things is...not particularly well handled? But I just love this
Feb 18, 2011 Catie rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011, ya, audio
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
Read in high school. Remember the movie - Matthew Newton?! Story of my life really. Shabby memory. My daughter has read, so I need to re-read this Aussie classic. She has a new one out, too. What am I waiting for? Too many books..
Jun 22, 2011 Milly rated it it was amazing
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
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
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.

There are a few minor spoilers in this review. I think I've hidden the major ones, but beware if you haven't read the book.

Looking for Alibrandi is the first Marchetta novel that actually made me cry (it's a surprise for me, too). If I had to rate her books in order of preference, I would put it third on the list (after J

4-1/2 stars. I loved this book.
"This life is shit. All we care about is making money and being big. Look at all the injustice and terrorism and prejudice, Josie."

And for a minute, no just a second, really, I wondered if [John] was right. I wondered if it was all one big useless existence. I wondered if I wanted to raise my children with fear in their hearts. I figured that heaven must be a great place to go to get away from the madness, but I'm not ready for heaven yet and I don't think heave
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
Reread; 1st June 2016

I skim Marchetta all the time but this is my first proper Alibrandi reread in a while and I'm still in love with the story, with Josie and the Alibrandis, with Michael Andretti, with John Barton and Jacob Coote. I think I gained a little more love for Jacob this time around.

Reread; 17th Feb 2014:

Read this again. Still fabulous.

First read:

Melina Marchetta is one of the authors whose grocery shopping lists I would be glad to read and devour.

I jumped into Alibrandi without k
Sep 13, 2016 Caitlin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1-star
0.5/5 stars

I read this story back in high school and it is quite possibly the worst book I have ever read. No I didn't hate it purely because I was made to in high school, I actually enjoyed a lot of novels we had to read. This book was meant to discuss Australian identity and handle really big issue when really is just focused on Josephine being a bitch. * this is more of a rant*

Josephine Alibrandi is the most obnoxious character I have ever met. She's truly just a horrible person who thinks
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Aussie Readers: Looking For Alibrandi buddy read 28 37 Sep 19, 2015 07:22PM  
Who else enjoyed this book? 1 9 Jan 05, 2015 09:06PM  
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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...

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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.” 174 likes
“Promise me you'll never stop dreaming.” 137 likes
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