Jellicoe Road - Melina Marchetta A few years ago, having heard rapturous acclaim for Jellicoe Road and seen the shiny Printz medal on its cover, I decided I needed to read this book. Yet I failed, which caused me to miss out on this excellent book until now. When I tried reading it previously, I was deterred by the initial chapters. Several characters are introduced and discerning the relations between them is difficult. The narrative voice and year switches without notice, and there is something about a battle between Townies, Cadets, and Houses but it's nearly impossible to figure out what it is. Later on, of course, I realized how crucial these chapters are to the story and their confusing nature sets up much of the plot; however, for a person sitting down to read this without any previous knowledge of the book, I understand why he or she may leave it unfinished. If I recommend this book to anyone (and I likely will since it's fantastic), I will reassure them that the beginning is confusing and hard but it will all make sense in a wonderful book payoff. Besides the beginning, the rest of the book is nearly flawless, except for perhaps some of the ending. Jellicoe Road is a dramatic book, but near the end, I felt like it somewhat descended to melodrama, but maybe that's just my apathetic, unfeeling self talking. I was willing to excuse it because of the book's dramatic nature; I mean, the story commences with an accident involving five fatalities. Squashed between the minorly problematic beginning and end is a glorious middle section crammed with territory games, discoveries of past stories, a magnificent love interest, and even a serial killer! When I remember this novel, though, I'll think of the friendships shared between the original five friends--Narnie, Webb, Tate, Fitz, and Jude (even their names are amazing)--and the modern friends--Taylor, Griggs, Santangelo, Raffy, and Ben. The adventures of the original five, though tainted with sadness, reminded me of when I was younger, traipsing around with a troop of neighborhood kids, inventing wild games from morning until the moon came up. Although none of my childhood friends died, we are no longer close, so the nostalgia and regret felt by Narnie and Jude reflected something I think all grown-up childhood friends must cope with: the loss of that idyllic time and its relationships.