I have exciting news for you, friends.

Firstly, if you’ve hung around this blog for any time at all, you know that Australian author Melina Marchetta is my QUEEN. (See here, here, here.)

She is a master of characters, and my favorite crew of hers first appears in Saving Francesca: Frankie, Will, Siobhan, Justine, Tara, Tom, and Jimmy. After Saving Francesca, the crew reunites in The Piper’s Son, which is Tom’s story, set five years later. Everyone has been begging for years for Jimmy’s story.

Back in April 2013, in a Goodreads-sponsored discussion, Melina made my heart go BOOM when she teased:

Jimmy’s not going anywhere, but it’s just not his time yet. All I know about him is that he is the first of Frankie gang to start breeding (accidently).

In the four years since, she has posted on her blog about Jim from time to time. Earlier this month, she posted there was a forthcoming short story:

My short story is called When Rosie met Jim. It’s about a young woman who finds herself stranded in a Queensland town during a flood, where she meets a guy named Jim. (the title is quite literal, and yes, it’s him for those who know my previous work).

A couple days ago, she added this:

It will be a novel primarily about one house, four characters, five lives, and told through three points of view.

Jimmy is 23 years old in When Rosie met Jim.  In the novel, he’ll be about 25 because it takes place in Sydney about two years after the events of the short story. It’s not  YA, but regardless, I’m predictable. It’s a generational story and it’s character driven, relationship driven and pretty much about community, solace and the ties that bind. (and netball).


mm jim 2

Peeps, I read it last night, and it was everything I wanted it to be. More.

First, you don’t have to have read her other books in order to read this story. It’s brilliant even on its own, and of course, it has added meaning for fans who miss the Sydney crew.

Next, it works as a short story– yes, it is an excerpt (or something like it) from what will eventually be a full-length novel (PRAISE GOD), but it works on its own too as a short story. What I mean is that it’s got its own narrative arc; you won’t feel dissatisfied at the end (though you will feel so desperate for more).

Lastly, I don’t know how on earth she does it, but there is not one word extra in this, nor one word missing. It’s perfect and has the right amount of action and vulnerability to enamor you in so few pages. (Frankly, I re-read Marchetta’s books over and over, hoping that I will somehow take on her writing capabilities– and yet, every time, I’m reminded she is the master.) There is foreshadowing and the ideal amount of backstory to offer both grounding and intrigue. The characters are multi-dimensional, and … OMGOSH, I don’t know how to wait for the entire book. I guess if I survived the wait for Quintana, I will survive this too, right? Right?? (P.S. I bought the Australian edition of Quintana, since it came out 6 months before the American version. I am not excellent at patience.)

This issue of Review of Australian Fiction comes out tomorrow (er, um, maybe today actually, since Australia is ahead of the USA) and is available for only $2.99 at this link:


Go. Buy. Be delighted (readers) and envious (writers). While you’re at it, buy all her books. I promise you they are the best.


Quick whatever-this-is: I want you to know this is not sponsored. I don’t get anything when you purchase this … except for the satisfaction of knowing I’ve introduced you to your new favorite author. Enjoy!

Book Characters I’d Like Updates On

I’ve told you before that I think a lot about book characters outside of the actual novels. Here are a few characters I’d like to check in with.

Susan Pevensie | After the railway accident … (I’ve actually thought about this one so much that I wrote a story about it called “Nine Names“)

Raffy & Chaz | In Jellicoe Road, it is hinted that these two have a story that continues. I want to know it.

Jimmy Hailer | Always. And Melina Marchetta keeps hinting that we’re actually going to get his story too:

jimmy hailer 2

Rose Weasley | And Scorpius Malfoy too. Duh.

poppetPoppet Murray | Take me back to The Night Circus please, Erin Morgenstern– I want Poppet and Bailey’s love story!

Maddie Brodatt & Jamie Beaufort-Stuart | Fascinated by these two from Code Name:Verity and Rose Under Fire. Want more.

Puck & Sean | But of course. I’ve got my head-canon, but I want Maggie Stiefvater’s words.

Quintana of Charyn | If you can’t tell, my answer is always, “More Marchetta please!”

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Broke & Bookish.

Spotlight on Melina Marchetta

I’ve written before about how amazing Melina Marchetta is, giving six reasons why you should read her books:

1) The writing is unbelievable.
2) The characters are people you want to know in real life.
3) The books are laced with wonderful humor.
4) You can’t guess what will happen next.
5) She knows how to write about teen romances without being cliche.
6) She is consistently good. Every. Single. Book.

This time, I thought I’d tell you a little about the books themselves so that you can choose where you’d like to start (since I *REQUIRE* that you read her books).

marchetta collage

Jellicoe Road is my favorite.  It’s a contemporary novel set in Australia, and it’s about a territory war between the boarding school kids, the townies, and the cadets (boys from a military school who camp on their land six weeks each year). It’s really two stories that become one (gosh, I love when that happens), and it’s probably my favorite contemporary YA novel period.  Just saying.  It can be a little confusing at the beginning, but keep reading: it will fit together like a jigsaw puzzle in the end, and then you’ll want to go re-read it immediately.  Also, major swoon factor: Jonah Griggs is one tough cadet with a heart.

Saving Francesca is right up there for me, right alongside Jellicoe Road.  It’s about a girl whose mom is going through a mental breakdown at home while the girl is trying to maneuver her way through her new school– which had been an all-boys school prior to that year.  It’s uh-may-zing.  Seriously.  When I read this one, I just soak in the utter brilliance of Marchetta.  Not to mention that there is a hot Italian-Australian math nerd hottie involved.

The Piper’s Son reunites the Saving Francesca gang, only it’s five years down the road, and this story promotes a secondary character from the first book to being the protagonist.  And, my oh my, he does so well in that role!  This book is about a family that is trying its best– making it sometimes and not making it sometimes.  It’s sheer brilliance.

Looking for Alibrandi is actually Marchetta’s first novel that put her name on the map.  Even though it’s my least favorite book of hers, it is still so, so good.  Now, that’s pretty impressive.  It’s about a girl whose lifelong absent father suddenly re-enters her life.

And then we come to the fantasy stories.  Yes, that’s right– Marchetta is just as comfortable writing fantasies as she is writing contemporaries.  So. Much. Talent.

The Lumatere Chronicles begin with Finnikin of the Rockan amazing story full of twists and turns about reviving a kingdom that’s been under a curse.  I’m not naturally drawn to fantasy novels (with the glaring exceptions of Narnia, Potter, and The Last Unicorn), so I didn’t immediately purchase this book.  But after I’d read all her contemporaries, I was dying for more Marchetta, so I took the plunge … and am so glad I did!  This book was delicious.

Froi of the Exiles and Quintana of Charyn round out the trilogy, and they are full of politics and intrigue and romance.  I should warn you– Froi ends on a killer cliffhanger, so make sure you have Quintana ready to go afterward!  I read Froi before the third book was out and ended up ordering an Aussie copy of book three so that I could get my hands on it 6+ months before the book was released in the US.  That good.

It’s the characters, I think, that make all her books so good.  When you start with amazing characters, you can toss them into any situation and see what happens.  Melina Marchetta is a masterful storyteller, my favorite YA writer out there, and you’d better believe that is the highest of praise coming from me.

Hop to it!  In my opinion, you should just skip the library and purchase copies of your own to have and to hold from this day forward.

Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

For those of you who have already read Marchetta’s books, what is your favorite and why?  Leave a comment below!

Related posts:
Why You Need to Read Melina Marchetta’s Books
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Authors Who Deserve More Recognition