Jellicoe Road, by Melina Marchetta

What I’d Pay: $14

To sum it up:  A teenage girl leads her school in the long-standing “territory wars” between local students and visiting troop of cadets, all the while working to uncover the truth about her tragic past.

This book ripped my heart out and then stepped on it a few times for good measure. It was utterly heart-wrenching.

That said, it was also fantastic. I mistakenly thought this was just a YA romance, but that is not the case at all. The story revolves around a teenage girl who has never met her father and who’s mother abandoned her a few years earlier. She attends a state boarding school and during her senior year of high school is in charge of leading the student body in the annual “territory wars” between the local high school students and a troop of cadets camping nearby for six weeks.  Chapters alternate between the present day and a storyline that takes place in the past but intertwines with current events. The main characters have extremely tragic pasts, and increasingly devastating details are slowly revealed as the book progresses.  My one complaint was that the beginning of this book was confusing. You are dropped right into the story without much explanation and it took me quite awhile to figure out what was happening. But, if you’ve read this review you already have enough information to be less confused than I was originally. There are also a lot of gothic elements to this story that I won’t get into for fear of spoilers, but become pretty obvious throughout the book. Overall an expertly crafted story. 

Bottomline: This was a very well-written, emotional, tragic, and overall phenomenal book. However, it was also exhausting because of the emotional toll, so be aware of what you are getting yourself into with this one. I definitely shed a few tears and recovered by reading a light-hearted book after this one. But don’t let that keep you from reading this, it is a really special book. Got this ebook from the LA library, no wait. 

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