Book: Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
I hadn't heard of this book until it won the Printz Award this year. I'm discovering that Printz Award winners/honors books and I get along quite well, so I immediately put this one on hold at the library, and waited for my turn.
That turn came up over the weekend, so I dropped everything else to read it. At first, it was all a little baffling, jumping from one story to the other. However, I could tell that it was one of those deals where if you just hang in there and not worry about everything making sense, that it will all come together shortly.
And I was right! It didn't take long for things to start meshing. The main story is about a girl named Taylor who is staying at a boarding-type school on Jellicoe Road (in Australia... what is it with these wonderful Australian YA writers?) She has just been named the leader of her House. Soon, we find out that during a couple of months of the year, there's some sort of territory war/game going on between the school kids, the town kids, and the cadet kids that are camped nearby for those months. This game is pretty intense!
Meanwhile, we are getting a flashback story about a group of kids that were all really close friends at the school years before. A couple of them were in a massive car accident, and somehow, that's how they all came together.
And somehow these two stories connect, of course.
And I loved it! It was a very intricate, wonderful plot, with great characters and relationships and hard life situations, and identity issues, and all those deep pondering things that make some of these YA books so amazing.
If you're at all of the weepy sort, have Kleenexes at the ready. Wow.
Okay, enough of that or I'll start giving away too much, which I seriously hate to do!
All this has convinced me that it's time to commit to reading more Printz stuff. The complete list of winners is here and they've been around for just a handful of years, so it won't be that hard. Is there a challenge out there somewhere for that?