Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Generally I resent (at least a little) a book that makes me cry. I don’t like being sad. A lot of authors feel manipulative when they make me cry – doing bold awful things to their characters. It feels like they’re squeezing the tears out. But here I was happy to cry.

If I tell you what the books about it sounds silly. Taylor is at boarding school – playing a war game with the kids from town and the cadets from a military school each fall. She’s also trying to figure out who she is – literally – not a euphemism. Taylor doesn’t know her parents. And it seems like she doesn’t even know where to start to get the answers – but it turns out they’re right in front of her.

So the book is a mystery. And a romance. And a growing-up-and-getting-better story. All of it lightly done – the story has a gauzy nearly ephemeral quality.

I read the first ten pages of the book four times. I thought I was missing something. It literally made no damn sense. But I was reading a puzzle – and when you’re just looking at the top right corner piece you’re not seeing the waterfall.

I think this may be the best book I’ve read this year. It may have usurped those 42 dead Japanese kids. But I’m going to readdress that question in a few days – when this buzz has worn off. Bc – no lie? – I have a book high like you would not believe. I just read a story with so much sadness and so much love that it was magical.

Ps – the romance aspect? It was a 6 out of 5 stars. There’s a scene in this book that is so sad and yet so romantic that I’m not sure that it’s ever going to let me go.

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