Well it’s Australia Day here in Australia so I thought I’d do a special Spotlight Saturday. Instead of just spotlighting a book, I’ve decided to Spotlight a must read Australian author, and Melina Marchetta is one of our best.
I am in awe of this woman’s writing, the story line’s she weaves just blow my mind. She has written both contemporary and fantasy and proven to be a master of both. She has won a multitude of awards both in Australia and over seas, including the US.
Her books include:
Looking for Alibrandi.
The Piper’s Son.
On the Jellicoe Road (Jellicoe Road, in the US.)
Finnikin of the Rock.
Froi of the Exiles.
Quintana of Charyn.
And a middle grade book, The Gorgon in the Gully.
I first read Melina Marchetta in highschool when we had to read ‘Looking for Aibrandi’ in English class. I really enjoyed it. I then found Finnikin of the Rock years later in 2010 when browsing in my local bookstore. I remembered that I enjoyed Looking For Alibrandi and the blurb sounded really good, so I bought it. I was blown away– it was one of the best fantasy’s I had ever read. I bought Froi of the exiles as soon it came out and liked it even better than Finnikin. I then wanted to get my hands on all the Melina Marchetta books I could. I ordered Jellicoe Road online. It had received such high ratings and once I read it I understood why. It was beyond amazing, another five out of five. All I can say about that one is ‘Jonah Griggs’ (If you have read it you will know what i am talking about.) Then I read Quintana of Charyn the third book in the Lumatere chronicles (Finnikin of the Rock books) and I was not disappointed, it was the perfect ending to a perfect series. I got Saving Francesca and The Piper’s Son for christamas and will read them shortly, but have no doubt they are going to be just as brilliant as the rest.
This woman knows how to weave an intricate web of sub plots, and her characters, all her characters, even minor ones, have depth and life and drag you into the page as you find your heart going out to them.
And the romance. This woman knows how to write romance. The Lumatere chronicles are some of the most romantic books I have ever read – yet they are so, so much more than straight romance, don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of action and adventure and curses to keep you hooked, I’m just a sucker for a good romance.
And now I’ll supply you with the blurbs for all the books so you can read them and decide for yourself whether they sound worth the read, which i think they are.
1)Looking for Alibrandi.
For as long as Josephine Alibrandi can remember, it’s just been her, her mom, and her grandmother. Now it’s her final year at a wealthy Catholic high school. The nuns couldn’t be any stricter—but that doesn’t seem to stop all kinds of men from coming into her life.
Caught between the old-world values of her Italian grandmother, the nononsense wisdom of her mom, and the boys who continue to mystify her, Josephine is on the ride of her life. This will be the year she falls in love, the year she discovers the secrets of her family’s past—and the year she sets herself free.
Told with unmatched depth and humor, this novel—which swept the pool of Australian literary awards and became a major motion picture—is one to laugh through and cry with, to cherish and remember.
2) Saving Francesca.
Francesca is stuck at St. Sebastians, a boys’ school that’s pretends it’s coed by giving the girls their own bathroom. Her only female companions are an ultra-feminist, a rumored slut, and an an impossibly dorky accordion player. The boys are no better, from Thomas who specializes in musical burping to Will, the perpetually frowning, smug moron that Francesca can’t seem to stop thinking about.
Then there’s Francesca’s mother, who always thinks she knows what’s best for Francesca—until she is suddenly stricken with acute depression, leaving Francesca lost, alone, and without an inkling who she really is. Simultaneously humorous, poignant, and impossible to put down, this is the story of a girl who must summon the strength to save her family, her social life and—hardest of all—herself.
3)The Piper’s Son.
The award-winning author of Finnikin of the Rock and Jellicoe Road pens a raw, compelling novel about a family’s hard-won healing on the other side of trauma.
Award-winning author Melina Marchetta reopens the story of the group of friends from her acclaimed novel Saving Francesca – but five years have passed, and now it’s Thomas Mackee who needs saving. After his favorite uncle was blown to bits on his way to work in a foreign city, Tom watched his family implode. He quit school and turned his back on his music and everyone that mattered, including the girl he can’t forget. Shooting for oblivion, he’s hit rock bottom, forced to live with his single, pregnant aunt, work at the Union pub with his former friends, and reckon with his grieving, alcoholic father. Tom’s in no shape to mend what’s broken. But what if no one else is either? An unflinching look at family, forgiveness, and the fierce inner workings of love and friendship, The Piper’s Son redefines what it means to go home again.
4)On the Jellicoe Road.
Abandoned by her mother on Jellicoe Road when she was eleven, Taylor Markham 17, finally confronts her past. Hannah, the closest adult she has to family, disappears. Jonah Griggs, moody stares and all, is back in town. If Taylor can put together the pieces of her past, she might just be able to change her future.
5) Finnikin of the Rock.
Finnikin of the Rock and his guardian, Sir Topher, have not been home to their beloved Lumatere for ten years. Not since the dark days when the royal family was murdered and the kingdom put under a terrible curse. But then Finnikin is summoned to meet Evanjalin, a young woman with an incredible claim: the heir to the throne of Lumatere, Prince Balthazar, is alive.
Evanjalin is determined to return home and she is the only one who can lead them to the heir. As they journey together, Finnikin is affected by her arrogance . . . and her hope. He begins to believe he will see his childhood friend, Prince Balthazar, again. And that their cursed people will be able to enter Lumatere and be reunited with those trapped inside. He even believes he will find his imprisoned father.
But Evanjalin is not what she seems. And the truth will test not only Finnikin’s faith in her . . . but in himself.
6) Froi of the Exiles. Ok, so I won’t post the blurb here for this, or Quintana, because I don’t want to spoil it, but once you read Finnikin there is no doubt you will want to read these, and by starting this series after the other books have come out you won’t have to wait to read the others and with the way Froi ends you won’t want to wait to read Quintana.
So how do they sound? I can tell you everything I have read of Melina’s I have rated 5 out of 5.
I highly recommend any book by Melina Marchetta to any reader of YA. She is worth the read.