Dropping Everything for Jellicoe Road

Alison Morris - June 17, 2008

Each time I think I know ABSOLUTELY what book or ARC I’m going to read next, another one comes along that is irresistible to me at that moment and replaces another at the top of my "READ THIS NEXT" pile. It’s a deadly cycle. Deadly, in that some of the books that were once my reading pile frontrunners eventually drop so far down as to never surface again.

What I rarely do, though, is stop reading one book in the middle in order to pick up another. I don’t do well with reading multiple books at a time. I like to give each one my undivided attention, from the first page to the last.

But every now and again, maybe once or twice a year, a book comes along that is just TOO irresistible — one that I just have to read RIGHT NOW. And today it’s the ARC for Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta (HarperTeen, August 2008), which was just hand-delivered to me by my Harper rep. I’m stopping halfway through the adult book I’ve been reading (Stalking Irish Madness), because I JUST CAN’T WAIT to start this one!!

If you haven’t read Saving Francesca, you might not understand my unbridled Marchetta enthusiasm, If you have read it (or even Looking for Alibrandi), then you’re probably salivating with envy right now, wishing you could get your hands on Jellicoe Road too.

As soon as our lovely Harper rep, Anne DeCourcey, handed off the galley to me I opened it, read the first few sentences of the prologue, stopped, shook my head, made Anne and Lorna pause in their sales call, then read the prologue out loud to them. AND NOW… I’m going to share it with you. After reading it I’m betting you’ll want to read this book too.

My father took one hundred and thirty two minutes to die.

I counted.

It happened on the Jellicoe Road. The prettiest road I’d ever seen, where trees made breezy canopies like a tunnel to Shangri-La. We were going to the ocean, hundreds of miles away, because I wanted to see the ocean and my father said that it was about time the four of us made that journey. I remember asking, “What’s the difference between a trip and a journey?” and my father said, “Narnie, my love, when we get there, you’ll understand,” and that was the last thing he ever said.

We heard her almost straightaway. In the other car, wedged into ours so deep that you couldn’t tell where one began and the other ended. She told us her name was Tate and then she squeezed through the glass and the steel and climbed over her own dead – just to be with Webb and me; to give us her hand so we could clutch it with all our might. And then a kid called Fitz came riding by on a stolen bike and saved our lives.

Someone asked us later, “Didn’t you wonder why no one came across you sooner?”

Did I wonder?

When you see your parents zipped up in black body bags on the Jellicoe Road like they’re some kind of garbage, don’t you know?

Wonder dies.

Want to read more? The first half of Chapter One (which appears to be the entirety of Chapter One in the Australian edition of the book, called On the Jellicoe Road) has been posted at Insideadog.

7 thoughts on “Dropping Everything for Jellicoe Road

  1. Robyn

    I tend to read multiple books at the same time (doing exactly what you said you DON’T do, and that’s to read through enough of it until I’ve gotten a feeling as to whether I want to continue reading or not), so I’m on 3 other books right now, but the excerpt you posted is wonderful! I’m going to have to email our rep to get a galley!! Thanks for the suggestion! 🙂

  2. ShelfTalker

    jazz tigan, Yikes! It was a poor oversight on my part to have left out the pub date, which is August 26, 2008. Thanks for supporting your local independent!

  3. doret

    I love Melina Marchetta. Saving Francesca is one of my favorite YA novels. Jellicoe Road is a whole new level of good. Loved it

  4. Annie O

    The ARC I picked up and couldn’t put down was Hunger Games! My 13 year old daughter is really upset that we won’t see the next one for quite a while. Where can I get Jellicoe Rd? Are there any ARCs left do you think?

  5. sally apokedak

    wow, that is so good. And the best part is that I’ve not read Saving Francesca or Looking for Alibrandi, so I can read those two while I’m waiting for Jellicoe Road.

  6. Misrule

    So pleased to hear that Jellicoe Road is finally making its way to the US. I should say, though, that it is a complete departure from Melina’s first two novels, so don’t expect Alibrandi Part 3! Jellicoe Road is a much tougher and darker book, but it’s also wonderful. Cheers, Judith in Sydney


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