Taylor Markham has lived at the Australian boarding school on Jellicoe Road ever since her mother abandoned her. She is now 17. Her legal guardian is a woman named Hannah who lives next to the school grounds. Taylor is searching for pieces to the puzzle of her history - where is her mother? who is her father? does Hannah know? Taylor has only a fragmented memory of her father, like riding on his shoulders when she was seven. "I remember love. It's funny how you can forget everything except people loving you. Maybe that's why humans find it so hard getting over love affairs. It's not the pain they're getting over, it's the love."
Meanwhile, there is a 3-way territory war underway between the boarding school students, the town kids and the cadets who camp nearby every year for a six week survival experience. Taylor is the reluctant leader of the school forces. The leader of the cadets is Jonah Griggs, a boy who betrayed Taylor three years earlier when she had run away to search for her mother. This is war, all right.
Jellicoe Road surpassed my high expectations based on Marchetta's earlier novels: Looking for Alibrandi and Saving Francesca. Her prose flows smoothly, the characterization is rich, the plot is clever, there is thematic depth and I cried. Highly recommended for Grade 9 all the way up to adults.