I have books collecting dust on my shelf that I tell myself over and over again that I need to read. "Today will be the day," I tell myself. Instead, I pick up a book I've read numerous times but still feels like a fire truck rammed itself into my stomach each time I reach the ending.
Jellicoe Road starts off slow and I remember the first time I read it that I disliked the constant shifting between Narnie's story and Taylor's narration. I still prefer Taylor's story to Narnie's but Marchetta successfully merges both perspectives into a moving tale about survival, friendship, family, and how secrets kept with the best intentions can ultimately cause more pain and destruction to the people we love most.
This book is a tad melodramatic but I love the lyrical passages and the way the author is able to craft characters who are damaged but likeable. This is something Marchetta excels at in her other books as well. Although it's somewhat hard to believe that Taylor so easily forgets certain aspects of her upbringing, her character's strength, wittiness and persistent desire to find answers to her mysterious childhood is compelling. This book has everything: a slow burn romance, amazing dialogue, lies and secrets, major plot twists, death, friendship and a sense of community. The themes of the story are dark and none of the characters come away unscathed from the events that unfold, but there's still a possibility of hope and redemption. For me, this is the best kind of story.