Winner of the 2009 Printz book, Jellicoe Road, from what I can tell, seems to have gotten some very mixed reviews online. It didn’t find its way onto too many Printz prediction lists, and I’ve heard talk from some that they think it is more of an adult book, or even that it has a plot too complicated to follow. These are balanced out by those who loved the book.
Jellico Road is not an easy read. It is definitely written for someone who is a skilled reader. I found the plot complicated, but not overly so, and truthfully, it was only for the first quarter that I wondered how the pieces fit together. After that all the disparate pieces begin to fit together in a way that was emotional and beautiful and made me tear up many a time.
I won’t say it didn’t give me pause once or twice. There were some supernatural elements that didn’t quite work for me, I thought Taylor should have put together her history a bit quicker, that there was probably a coincidence or two too many in the plot, and that in her desire to be loyal Hannah did Taylor a grave disservice.
However, the strengths of the novel far outweighed any problems I had with it. The characterization was superb. I felt like I knew these characters. I loved their interactions and their relationships. LOVED them. Seriously, I loved Taylor and all her friends. Simply put, the friendships are beautiful. The emotion contained in this book was incredible and overwhelming and believable in all the right ways. And the dialogue couldn’t have been more top notch.