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Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta (audio)
labandbooks
proseandkahn

1 playaway, self-contained MP3 player, 9hrs. and 5 min. Read by Rebecca MacCauley. Bolinda Audio Books, 2006.

Taylor Markham is seventeen and has lived at Jellicoe School, a boarding school on Jellicoe Road ever since her mother abandoned her, at age eleven, on the road. Hannah has been a sort of guardian to her, but Hannah has suddenly disappeared, leaving Taylor angry and bereft. Taylor is prickly and aloof. She has also been elected the leader of the war games that are being waged between the boarding school, the townies and the cadets, who camp nearby for part of the year. She's not happy about it, but there's no one else capable of doing it. She's particularly worried about facing the cadet's leader, Jonah Griggs, a boy who helped her run away several years earlier, but whom she blames for calling the authorities on her. She'd also like to find her mother, for that matter.

The story flashes back and forth so cryptically and mysteriously that some readers may not be patient, but those who stick with it will be rewarded. Here's another Marchetta book that I probably should have read with my eyes, but was so happy listening to Rebecca MacCauley's Australian accent. I rarely track back when reading with my ears unless I totally zone out. I would have with this one, only I didn't, because I was listening on a Playaway and didn't feel like listening to 40-minute chunks of the story.

I have been wanting to read this one since it won itself a shiny Printz Award a couple of years ago. Recently, an eighth grade girl told me that it was her favorite book. High praise. I'm thankful to her for making me nudge it to the top of the tbr pile.