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Review – Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

jellicoe road

Jellicoe Road
by Melina Marchetta
419 pages
Published August 26, 2008
Fiction, young adult

Jellicoe Road  by Melina Marchetta definitely wasn’t my thing. I don’t know if the book suffered because I read it on the heels of books that blew my socks off, or if it really just wasn’t that great. Sadly, I’m leaning towards the latter.

The book started off convoluted for me. There’s a boarding school, and at this boarding school there’s this Ungerground Community with these three factions, but WHY there’s these three factions I HAD NO IDEA. And these factions have territory wars, the reason to which I have no explanation. And there’s this girl, Taylor, whose mom inexplicably abandonded her 11 years ago, and Jonah, a boy at one of the other boarding schools and part of one of the factions, who MAY KNOW SOMETHING, and he’s all dark and mysterious and only nice to Taylor but sometimes he’s even mean to her. 

Maybe if you like your reading experience to be akin to blindly feeling your way around a dark room, then you’d like this book. Otherwise, it’s probably not for you (like it wasn’t for me).

And there’s all this history that you’re pretty sure is relevant to the story but much of which you don’t get until the middle or the end. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t and this time it just didn’t work for me.

I saw one reviewer talk about all the twists and turns this book makes, so I kept waiting for something to happen, and page after page was just ho hum convoluted story.

So this isn’t so much a review as just me telling you, this book wasn’t for me. And while the book wasn’t for me, it has rocked pretty much everyone else’s world.

Rating: 60 out of 100

Other reviews, all of whom thought this book was the bee’s knees:


Teen Book Reviews

It’s All About Books

The YA YA YAs (this is the review where I was like, OH! So THAT’S what the book was about! But frankly, I still wasn’t impressed.)

The Children’s Literature Book Club

my fluttering heart

Becky’s Book Reviews


Inkweaver Review

Reviewer X

Library Queue


| Tags: , 27 comments »

27 Responses to “Review – Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta”

  1. Michelle Zink

    Even though you didn’t care for this book, I think it’s way cool that you list other reviews that illustrated a different opinion. The ultimate in fairness! I wish more reviewers would do this, because it allows the reader to form a very balanced opinion in making their book purchases.

    And let’s face it; every book is not for everyone. It doesn’t have ot be a bad thing!


  2. Ti

    It does sound a bit convoluted as if a lot of stuff happens but for no apparent reason. I like the cover though. I am a sucker for covers so I’m glad I read this or I may have picked it up.


  3. Nely

    I’m sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy it. I just got this from my library and hopefully will start it next week. Now I really want to read it just to see what I think. Thanks for the honest review.



  4. Drea

    I’m glad to hear I’m not alone in the dislike category. I had the same issues as you, plus a few more with Taylor


  5. melissa @ 1lbr

    I had a very similar response to the book. A lot of confusing stuff to me. I saw how some people could like it, but I was kind of “meh.” Here’s my review.


  6. Tricia

    I didn’t really love this book either. I could kind of appreciate it, but it wasn’t for me. Thanks for linking to me–I added your review to mine. 🙂


  7. Staci

    Holy cow!! 60…I’m passing this one up for sure!! Thanks for the honest review!


  8. Bart's Bookshelf

    Of all the reviews I’ve seen of this one, people either seem to love or are very ‘meh’ about it, I’ll still pick it up and read it myself at some point, but it isn’t one onf the ones I’m desperate to read.


  9. zibilee

    Sorry that this wasn’t a great read for you. The way you describe it, I probably wouldn’t like it either. It sounds like there was a whole lot of something going on, but that something could never really be defined. Thanks for your insight on the book, I think I will skip it.


  10. Kathy

    I’ve read a few other reviews that didn’t rave over this book, but you’re right – most people seemed to love it. I’m on the fence – not sure if I’ll read it or not.


  11. Neko

    I adored Jellicoe Road and wept into a pillow after I finished it just because I found it so heart-wrenchingly beautiful. I’ve pimped it to all my friends, but I can understand why one might not enjoy its particular way of storytelling. (I know someone who compared it to the show Lost, and I think that comparison is spot-on.) I would, however, suggest reading it twice. The first time I read it was sort of an unraveling of its mystery whereas the second time I read it let me revel in the novel’s beauty.


  12. Heather

    I read this one a few months ago and felt exactly the same way you did. Too convoluted for me, and the reward of understanding what was going on in the end was not nearly a good enough reward to make up for my being confused for over half of the book. I’m glad there are people that liked it, but it definitely wasn’t for me.


  13. Darlene

    Too bad this one didn’t meet expectations Trish. It does have a pretty cover though.


  14. Melissa B.

    I’m always profoundly disappointed when I don’t like a book. But I’m a determined soul…I plow right through to the end, just to say I read the durn thing.


  15. Janssen

    I definitely loved this book. My review was for sure on the “wow, this book blew my socks off” side of the spectrum:


  16. Beth F

    I have reviews all over the place for this one, which just make me curious. I won’t get to this anytime soon, but I bet I’ll have to check it out for myself.


  17. Pam

    So, what was the title of the book that blew your socks off? Inquiring minds want to know.


    trish Reply:

    Pam, the book that I loved right before Jellicoe Road was After the Moment by Garret Freymann-Weyr. I think a book is always at a disadvantage if it’s read on the heels of a book I loved.


  18. Holly

    Wow. Great review. I’ve been leaning towards not reading this one, and your review has reinforced my decision. Way too many books out there to waste time on one I probably won’t like.


  19. gaby317 @ Starting Fresh

    I really liked the way that you approached your review. You were honest with specific criticism and directed readers to other points of view. I’ve been looking for a way to combine an honest point of view with some encouraging words. Thanks so much!



  20. Jeanne

    Nice to see someone telling why she didn’t like a book lots of others did like. I reviewed this one a while back ( and said that it took me a long time, but I finally stopped feeling like I was blindly feeling my way around a dark room (what a great image) and felt like the reading experience had been worth some of the trouble.


  21. Lenore

    I do not like feeling my way around in a dark room that much…


  22. Michelle

    As you might have read in my review I ultimately enjoyed this novel. Like you I struggled in the beginning with the different voices. I found it confusing trying to place who was who and where they were related to each other. I was glad that got a bit more clarified later on in the story so I could finally focus on Taylor for a while.

    Sorry this one wasn’t for you but in the end we can’t all love everything we read right?


  23. Kailana

    It took me so long to get into this book, but I enjoyed it when I did! Sorry to hear that you didn’t love it!


  24. Shel

    I can see your point with the book. But I still found Taylor to be such a strong and interesting character that she kept me reading.


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