As Hannah's disappearance continues, Taylor begins to suspect that the story she learned from Hannah of five kids who started the territory wars eighteen years ago, is actually true. She knows she must find Hannah and she must know the whole truth about what happened to those five students and how they are connected to her.
It reminded me of a modern-day Australian Dead Poets' Society, where a group of school kids are having secret meetings and learning the harsh realities of life at a tragic young age. The comparison doesn't quite do it justice though because Jellicoe Road is more complex and multi-layered (but Dead Poets Society definitely got the better title).
I'm not sure that I would have picked this book up based on the blurb alone, because it seems a little too I'm-trying-to-be edgy-and-shock-teenagers (and the boring cover wouldn't tempt me either), but I picked it up after it was announced as a Cybils Young Adult finalist along with The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks (possibly my favorite book of the year), and what higher recommendation could it get?
If someone told me that Melina Marchetta wrote this book for adults and then was directed by an agent or publisher to publish it in the young adult field, I wouldn't have been surprised because the only thing about it that makes it seem young adult it Taylor's age (although I must note that Marchetta always intended it for young adults). I don't mean that as an insult. This books is extremely complex and full of poetic moments, and I think it would succeed just as well with an adult audience.
Then there is the issue with language. Many parents will object to this novel based on its frequent use of the F word. Normally it would bother me so much that I wouldn't have finished the book, but this plot had me and I tried to keep in mind that the F word is not seen as the ultimate swear word in Australia as it is here.
OK, now some of that may have put you off the book, but I must admit that I picked this book up in bed, judging by it's cover that it would quickly put me to sleep and found myself frantic to finish at 5:30 a.m. when my husband's alarm went off. It's intriguing and you will not be able to put it down. And when you finish it, it will haunt you.