Book review: Jellicoe Road

Sep 17, 201820 comments

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I picked up Jellicoe Road on a whim as the title started with J for my A- Z reading Challenge. I had not then realized that it was written by Melina Marchetta, who has been on my radar for a while as I wanted to read ‘Looking For Alibrandi’.

By the time I realized Jellicoe Road was written by the one and only, I had already fallen deep into it and it didn’t matter. Had I known it was her maybe I would not have contemplated quitting it (I will explain). All is well, I guess. Let us get on to the book, shall we?

Jellicoe Road

Book Name: Jellicoe Road

Author: Melina Marchetta

Genre: Fiction – Young Adult, Mystery

Characters: Taylor Markham, Jonah Griggs, Chaz Santangelo, Hannah

Setting: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Before I proceed I want to warn you, I strive to write a spoiler free review. But here is what happened; I didn’t understand what was going on in the book until I was in the middle of it. I even thought of abandoning the book but the writing was beautiful and kept me going. And when it started making sense, it was worth all the chaos. 

If you want to enjoy the book that way, you should skip the (spoiler-free) blurb of Jellicoe Road here and jump into the review and then maybe the book. Otherwise, go ahead. 


Taylor Markham, a 17 year old loner, is now the leader of the boarders of a school in Sydney. She has to lead the ‘fight for territory’ with the townies and the cadets, who camp near their town for a few weeks every year. To make things worse the new leader of the cadets Jonah Griggs and Taylor share some complicated history. 

Amidst all the kiddish territorial wars, Taylor’s caretaker Hannah goes missing and no one at the school would take Taylor’s complaint seriously nor would tell her what was going on. All that is left of Hannah is her unfinished manuscript about five kids set in 1980s, which become Taylor’s only clue to finding Hannah. 

Did Taylor win the trust of her fellow boarders? What was so important about the tree-house that both the Townies and the Cadets will do anything for it? Where did Hannah go? To find the answers to these questions and more you will have to read Jellicoe Road. 

Things that I loved:

  • As I mentioned earlier Jellicoe Road is definitely tough to get into but Melina Marchetta’s writing will suck into this strange world where kids learn to protect theirs and take over others’ land. 

  • I loved that all the characters had multiple layers and a deeper story. I loved that even before I understood the plot I got deeply invested into the lives of these kids that I couldn’t stop reading.I am totally in love with the kids from 80s in the manuscript.

  • The characters in Jellicoe Road deal with death, grief, abandonment, drugs addiction and suicide and I am sure for a Young Adult book this is too heavy. I am still confused whether to tag this one as Young Adult or contemporary or even a mystery. 

Things that didn’t work for me:

  • I am finally getting used to not searching for responsible adults in YA and you wouldn’t find them in Jellicoe Road. 

  • And I am not gonna lie, it did feel like it took ages to understand who they were and what happened to them. Though I kinda guessed it about three-fourth into the story, but I am not going to complain. 

  • While I am happy at how things turned out for the three factions, I also am kinda annoyed that the story took huge diversion from that part of the story. 

  • There were times when the teenage angst and the whiny female lead got to me, but I am glad I chose to eye-roll and ignore them. 


If you are ready for a roller coaster ride that may or not end up in happy tears Jellicoe Road is the perfect YA for you.

Have you read this one or from this author earlier? What are you thoughts about the writing style? How many pages would you read before you will decide to quit a book? Let us chat.

Hello there!

Gayathri loves reading, recommending books and talking about bookish things in real life. Her blog is just an extension of that habit. When she is not reading books or creating online content, she freelances as a beta reader. She lives currently in Dubai.Head over to meet me


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    • Gayathri

      Yes I saw your review on Goodreads, when I posted mine there. I am glad we agree!

  1. Whispering Stories

    I’ve not heard of this book before. Love the title and the cover. YA books are very hit and miss with me. Great review.

    • Gayathri

      Yes I understand the difficulty with choosing YA.

  2. Eline

    You really write great reviews 🙂 What you said is pretty much the reason why I don’t usually read YA though. As a responsible adult I like when there are other responsible adults, haha.

    • Gayathri

      I totally understand the need for responsible adults in YA. I keep asking that!

  3. Stormi

    I haven’t heard of this one before. It sounds like something I wouldnt normally pick for myself, but that I may end up enjoying. Thanks for sharing!

    • Gayathri

      The book is a total roller coaster ride.

  4. Jennilyn

    Yes! I’ve read this and loved it immensely. I agree that it’s kinda confusing at first with all the skipping timelines and Taylor’s dream sequences that doesn’t seem to make sense. Like you, I’m glad I’ve pushed through the confusion and got rewarded with a wonderful story. The author was really harsh on her characters, she made them suffer through a lot. I’ve cried on some parts. Glad it went well in the end. I am laughing at the bit of surprise ending about the mailman in the end. 🙂

    • Gayathri

      Yes I kept telling myself that it might all be worthwhile!

  5. Heidi

    Sounds interesting. Great review!

    • Gayathri


  6. DJ Sakata

    New one for me too – thanx for the info.

    • Gayathri

      Yay, glad to be of use.

  7. Leslie Storey

    Thanks for sharing this book and your thoughts about it. Probably won’t be one I read (way too many books on my shelf) but still sounds intriguing.

    • Gayathri

      I understand the pressure of having too many books on the TBR shelf.

  8. Cheyenne Reads

    I’ve heard of this book, but I never knew what it was about. It sounds interesting! Great review 🙂

    • Gayathri

      Let me know if you ever read it.

    • Gayathri

      Glad to be of help.


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