Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday Afternoons

I have a great Poetry Friday post pre-written. I always discover it *after* I post on Poetry Friday and then I forget. Next Friday, too, I probably will write a new Poetry Friday post and then see this other one I have, waiting for me to post it. D'oh.

BUT! Tonight! I'm going to go see Megan McCafferty on book tour for Perfect Fifths, which is now out. As you may recall, I loved it.

Last night I stayed up waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay past bedtime to finish reading a book. As in 2am-past-bedtime. Can you just see me, sitting in my kitchen at 2 am with a cup of tea, bawling my eyes out? (really, I haven't cried over a book like that since The Book Thief, which was sad in a different way.)

Anyway, the book in question is

Jellicoe Road Melina Marchetta

It won this year's Printz. It totally deserved to. HOLY COW. What an awesome book.

There are two stories going on--one of a group of kids surviving a horrific car crash and their friends, and one of Taylor who has been chosen to lead the Jellicoe School in the annual Territory Wars against the Cadets and Townies. Her heart's not in it though, as Hannah, the closest thing she has to a mother, has disappeared. Also, the head of the Cadets happens to be a boy she hasn't seen this they ran away together 6 years ago, the last time Taylor tried to look for her mother.

It soon becomes apparent that the story of the survivors is the manuscript that Hannah has been working on for a long time. You then start to get the sense that the story isn't a story, but history, and you start to wonder which of the girls is Hannah and how Taylor fits into the puzzle.

At first, there is something off about Taylor and I seriously wondered about her reliability as a narrator, but the choices she makes, along with the leader of the Cadets and the leader of the Townies make this year's Territory Wars very different than years past, and in a way that made me really like Taylor.

The most devastating section is the end, when Taylor, and the reader, come face to face with what has happened between the two stories--after the end of Hannah's manuscript and before Taylor is sent to Jellicoe school, what happens between injects a sense of realism into the story and shows how special Jellicoe school really is.

I was blown away by this novel. Completely and utterly blown away. Parts are mystery, part drama, part heart-breaker, part hilarious, part realistic teen life, it rolls together in a package that is unbelievable. These characters should seem unbelievable, but their reactions to tragedy, to loss, to grief, to life, make them real. And that's the real story--how they cope (or don't) and how they survive severe loss. Some characters are a testament to the human spirit, and some are a warning sign of what can happen. Marchetta throws everything she can at her characters and their reactions are what makes this book so amazing, as we piece the story together...

Last night I dreamt of Webb.


Becky said...

I've got a BIG smile on my face. I just love, love, love that you loved this book. Is that wrong of me? Anyway, this one was one of my favorite favorite books last year. And I did a little happy dance when it won the Printz :)

Trisha said...

Becky, I feel the same way. Like, yay, another person has been coverted to the cult of Jellicoe Road!

Jennie, I'm so glad you liked it!

Jennie said...

Becky-- Of course it's not wrong! It's awesome

Trisha--slight correction: I didn't like this book, I effing LOVED it! ;)

Mrs. F-B's Books Blog said...

OH! I see you HAVE read it. AND you liked it, so I'll have to keep slogging through. I can't imagine the Printz not being good.