Wow. What can I say about this that hasn't already been said?
I did not read this book all in one sitting. One would think that would affect my enjoyment, but the strangest thing is, it didn't. This book is one that you can put down and pick a week later without feeling lost. In fact, with good books, I usually feel the urge to just take it all in with one go, but Jellicoe Road is so chockful with incredible moments and phrases that whenever I put it down, I had enough to think about, to go over to last me a lifetime. Because of this, I can honestly say it was one of the best books I have ever read. The last time I felt this way about a book was with Looking for Alaska over a year ago.
Here's a little tidbit, I'm aromantic. I also have zero tolerance for anything romantic in books, but that doesn't have much to do with my orientation, it's personal taste. Because of this, it's hard to find books where I don't skim or skip pages involving the romantic plot. Many times, they feel isolated from the plot and overall theme of the book - this is especially true for me in YA. Looking for Alaska is - was - the best example of a plot involving love in recent YA that could enjoy without being frustrated or bored by it. It might have been because the kind of love we`re used to seeing nowadays isn't that rife throughout it. So when Marchetta comes along and plops an entire book revolving around love between teenagers and adults and teenagers and adults and leaves me desperate for more, it's somewhat disorienting. My personal opinion on it is, she doesn't have romantic love be the be-all end-all of all kinds of love.
Take for example, Taylor when she snaps at Griggs for not being "romantic" and later on lists off all the things he's done for her and because of that, they are romantic. To be honest, it's the kind of thing I would do for my best friend or my sister or brother. The only difference being, I don't feel the urge to sleep with them.
The kids from sixteen years ago relate to each other in pretty much the same ways, except only a few feel attraction for the other. if you took that attraction, would they react the same way for each other? I believe so. It isn't about the sex or the looks or spending time with only your true love. When they comment on Narnie's smile being like a revelation and it is that way for everyone, doesn't that mean they look at each other the same? Even Taylor sees it years later because she feels the same for her as well.
This is why the book resonated so deeply with me. I may be aromantic, have a strong aversion for romantic plots of any genre, but I do believe that love is the same for everyone. Some people have it with the attraction, others don't, and I think Marchetta has done a beautiful, exquisite job showing this.
My hats off to you, Marchetta. As soon as I am not broke, I am ordering every single one of your books, whether they are out yet in Canada or not.
*Summary and photo from Goodreads.