Title: Jellicoe Road
Author: Melina Marchetta
Number of Pages: 432
Advertised Age Level: Young Adult
Age and Grade of Main Character(s): 17 years/Senior in High School
Language: some profanity is used by characters, use of the “F” word
Sex: Heroine loses her virginity, not explicit, one teen gets pregnant
Drug/Alcohol Use: teens consume beer, one adult character is a drug addict
Violence: war between characters results in some non-explicit violence, fire at the school and possible death of some students
Social Issues: abandonment, parental drug abuse, death of parents, child neglect, first love, teen pregnancy, teen death
Suggested Movie Grade: PG-13
Premise: When she was 11 years old, Taylor Markham’s mother abandoned her at a 7-11 on Jellicoe Road. Taylor was taken in by Hannah and given a home at the Jellicoe boarding school. Now that she’s a senior, she’s been elected the leader of the students in the clandestine war that occurs ever year between the Jellicoe school, the local Townies, and the Cadets, a group of city kids who come to the country to practice outdoor living.
Just as the war is about to begin, Hannah disappears and leaves behind a partially finished manuscript that holds all kinds of clues about the past. Taylor is hurt and confused, and as she tries to be a good leader to her fellow students, she struggles to put together the pieces of puzzle that make up her past in order to figure out what happened to Hannah. Meanwhile, Jonah Griggs is back as the leader of the Cadets and is causing Taylor to have all sorts of new feelings given their history together.
Underlying Taylor’s story and told in snippets of flashback set nearly 20 years back is the tale of five teenagers who play a key part in Taylor’s history.
Comments: Taylor struggles with the fact that she’s been abandoned by her mother and now Hannah. When she learns that her mother is/was a drug addict, she must come to terms with what that means.
Age Appropriateness: ages 13 and up