Number of Pages: 422
Release Date: August 28, 2006
At age eleven, Taylor Markham was abandoned by her mother. At fourteen, she ran away from boarding school, only to be tracked down and brought back by a mysterious stranger. Now seventeen, Taylor’s the reluctant leader of her school’s underground community, whose annual territory war with the Townies and visiting Cadets has just begun. This year, though, the Cadets are led by Jonah Griggs, and Taylor can’t avoid his intense gaze for long. To make matters worse, Hannah, the one adult Taylor trusts, has disappeared. But if Taylor can piece together the clues Hannah left behind, the truth she uncovers might not just settle her past, but also change her future.
I think that this is my third or fourth time reading this book, and I absolute love it every time. I have a thing for books that are about boarding schools (Paper Covers Rock, Looking for Alaska, etc.) so that was probably why I originally decided to read it for the first time a few years ago. Also, this book is set in Australia, which adds more interest to it for me because it’s a different country with a different culture than the USA (where I live). There is some Australian terminology and “slang”, I suppose, that took some time to fully understand, but it was nothing that hindered me from reading- if anything, it added color, tone, and a unique voice to the telling of the story. No matter why I originally picked up this novel and decided to read it, one thing is certain: this is one of the absolute best books I have ever read. Ever.
First, let’s start with the characters. The relationships that the characters have with each other are very realistic in my opinion, and that fact really brings the story to life. They laugh and have plenty of good times together, but they also argue and become frustrated with each other as well. They change and grow significantly from the beginning of the book to the end, which is expected when you consider the intense and emotional events that occur. Each major character has a backstory, which helps to give them a lot of depth and detail. AND JONAH GRIGGS. I just love that boy to pieces, even though he is sometimes moody and stubborn and has had a rough past. But his flaws help to make him the awesome character that he is. Griggs is by far my favorite character in this book, hands down.
I also really love the way this novel is set up. There’s the main story, which involves Taylor and Jonah and all of them, and then there is Hannah’s story, which includes Tate and Webb and Fitz and Jude and Narnie. There are bits of Hannah’s story interspersed throughout the main plot, which both keeps things interesting and adds some mystery to it. The way these two different plot lines collide is absolutely brilliant, and totally unique from any other novel I have ever read. The pacing is excellent and there is plenty of detail, but not so much that it is overpowering or that it drags the pace of the story down. Needless to say, Melina Marchetta is an awesome writer and an even better storyteller.
Overall, this book is amazing. It’s a whirlwind of raw emotions (happiness, sadness, hope, etc.) and you can’t help but feel for the characters. Like I said earlier, this is one of the best books I have ever read- and I’ve read a lot of books, so that’s saying something.
My Rating: :0) :0) :0) :0) :0)
Would I recommend it to a friend?: YES ABSOLUTELY! GO READ THIS BOOK RIGHT NOW!