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

books books books

Oh man, I have been reading like a maniac lately … some delicious books.  I love stories so FREAKIN’ much that I find myself sending out these random text messages to people declaring my love for words as if I had a wounded heart.

Just finished …

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan | Even though John Green is one of my heroes, I avoided this book for a long time because of its LGBT themes.  (Now, don’t freak out on me– some of my friends are gay.  I love gay people.  But I didn’t think I’d care to read a book centering on those issues.)  But I decided to bite the bullet and buy the book.  Started reading it that night and finished it the next day.  Brilliant.  So good.  The book is about two boys who share the name Will Grayson.  Green and Levithan each write from one Will’s perspective.  I am always a sucker for a book that has two storylines that end up melding into one at the end.  I actually think I may have liked this book more than Looking for Alaska, which is Green’s first novel, a Pritz winner.  Let’s just say this book includes one straight Will Grayson, one homosexual Will Grayson, and this huge tank of a boy named Tiny who is writing and directing an epic musical.  Love.

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta | Another one of those two storylines telling one cohesive story.  This book (which I have read before) just flabbergasts me.  It is so fascinating and so different than most other books.  It’s about Taylor Markham, a young lady who is the leader of her school during the annual territory wars between the boarders (at her boarding school), the townies (from Jellicoe), and the cadets (a visiting military academy).  This book is brilliantly written, completely beautiful, heartbreaking, and lovely.  I cannot tell you how smitten I am with this story.  A must-read.

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare | This is book #4 in the Mortal Instruments series, and I have to be honest: at this point, I’m only in it for Jace.  But I will say that I am very in it for Jace.  The sexuality is ratcheted up in book four; Clare is incredible at building tension.  But the books are also exciting and sweet, not … pornographic.  And now, with four books down, I am pretty stoked for book #5.  “I am Jonathan, but everyone calls me Sebastian, and I am going to burn down the world.”  Eeeep!  Terrifying!

Currently reading …

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley
The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

Up next …

Everyday by David Levitha
Divergent by Veronica Roth*
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine*

*(I know I have been claiming these two are up next for a while … I just keep finding things I am more eager to read!)

So stinkin’ excited for …

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling (out this month!!!!)
Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta (out this month in Australia but not in the US till March– never you worry, I believe I will somehow track down an affordable Aussie copy earlier than that!  Anyone have ideas?  Fishpond doesn’t have the Aussie supplier!!!)