And, I know this isn't a new book--and that the shiny gold Printz sticker on the cover is obviously a WAY better recommendation for this amazing book than anything I can say.
But I still wanted to feature it today for two reasons. One: Um, it's AMAZING (again, see the shiny Printz sticker?). And I'll get to reason number two in a second, because it's kind of rambly. First, here's the goodreads summary:
In this lyrical, absorbing, award-winning novel, nothing is as it seems, and every clue leads to more questions.
At age eleven, Taylor Markham was abandoned by her mother. At fourteen, she ran away from boarding school, only to be tracked down and brought back by a mysterious stranger. Now seventeen, Taylor's the reluctant leader of her school's underground community, whose annual territory war with the Townies and visiting Cadets has just begun. This year, though, the Cadets are led by Jonah Griggs, and Taylor can't avoid his intense gaze for long. To make matters worse, Hannah, the one adult Taylor trusts, has disappeared. But if Taylor can piece together the clues Hannah left behind, the truth she uncovers might not just settle her past, but also change her future.Okay, so again, this book is amazing. Beautiful and powerful and real and I cried so hard at the end and just... yeah. It really did live up to every single awesome thing I'd heard about it from friends and I'm so glad I finally found time to read it.
BUT, there's another thing I wanted to talk about when it comes to this book. That "reason number two" I promised to ramble about above. (Aren't you glad you stuck around?)
JELLICOE ROAD taught me something. Well, it taught me many things, a major one being that I am incredibly jealous of the beautiful way Melina Marchetta strings together words. But there was one thing in particular I learned from reading this book that isn't so much about the story or the writing as it is about READING.
This is a book that my friends had been telling me to read for years. But I'd held off on reading it because they all also kept telling me the same thing: you'll have to force yourself to keep going through the first 100 pages.
Um... one HUNDRED pages???
That's... kind of a lot of pages to have to force yourself to get through.
I thought I was pretty fair when it came to judging a book, but I rarely gave something more than 50 pages to grab me. My TBR pile is too big. If I'm not invested by page 50-ish, I'm setting it aside and moving on.
And I can tell you this: my friends were absolutely right about the first 100-ish pages of JELLICOE ROAD. They're VERY confusing and I spent most of them thinking ... wait, did I miss something?
But I pushed through and all of a sudden the pieces started to fall into place and I realized the deeper connections between the characters and the turf war and the story within a story and ... it's just BRILLIANT--and don't even get me started on the wonder that is Jonah Griggs.
Which is why I wanted to gush about this book because I am SO glad my friends told me to keep going. If they hadn't, I never would've made it to the end--and boy would I have missed out. And it made me realize: I think I'm reading wrong.
I love reading. I do. But... it's also sorta part of my job as an author, to keep up with what's out there--and there are a LOT of books out there. Pair that with a limited amount of time for reading and... yeah. I've picked up the habit of moving on if something isn't holding my interest. And now I'm wondering what I'm missing out on.
So I have a new goal now. To treat books like a "whole." Even if part of a book isn't gelling for me, it really isn't fair--to the book, or to myself--to stop short. I doubt I'll end up loving every book as much as I loved JELLICOE ROAD--some books are just special. But I bet I'm going to end up liking a lot more of them than I thought I would. I guess we'll see!
For more awesome book recommendations, here's what my fellow Bookanistas are talking about:
Shari Arnold marvels at THE MOON AND MORE by Saran Dessen
Tracy Banghart is thrilled by 3:59 by Gretchen McNeil
Christine Fonseca shivers over SHATTER ME by Tahereh Mafi
Carrie Harris and Elana Johnson reveal the cover of SALLY SLICK & THE STEEL SYNDICATE by Carrie Harris
Corrine Jackson is nuts for AU REVOIR, CRAZY EUROPEAN CHICK by Joe Schreiber
Jessica Love joins the BY BLOOD by Tracy Banghart book blitz – with giveaway
Tracey Neithercott adores THE ARCHIVED by Victoria Schwab
Kimberly Sabatini is touched by OUT OF REACH by Carrie Arcos
Katy Upperman gushes over THE GIRL GUIDE by Christine Fonseca