09 December 2010

Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta

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 no-nonsense 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.
  • One of my new favorite books.  It's incredible that I've found another book out there that I can claim as an all-time favorite.  "Looking for Alibrandi," already held a great appeal for me going in.  I've found that Australian authors are so talented!  (Such as Alison Goodman and John Flanagan)  "Looking for Alibrandi," has won every major award for young adult literature in Australia and I have no problem seeing how.  Melina Marchetta is the Australian Sarah Dessen or Jodi Picoult.
  • I think what I loved best was the honesty.  I can tell you now that Melina Marchetta doesn't BS around, people.  She will tell you exactly how it is without apology or shame.  She dove straight into this girl's heart and brought out everything--hitting the nail on the head when it came to the teenage complexities and paradoxes.  For example, we teenagers have epic mood swings (and not just us ladies).  Sometimes, these mood swings don't make a whit of sense.  They're irrational and not fun.  Josie was going through some tough times and felt very real things.
  • Josie is such a fun character.  First of all, she's hilarious.  She's got the most wonderful sense of humor.  And for another, Jacob makes a comment about her (if I find the exact quote I'll put it up here) about how she acts fearless on the outside while a big softy on the inside and the opposite is true for her mother.  It's very true, too.  Josie hides behind her tactless wit but she's got such a good heart.  I loved reading through her eyes because I knew she was so real and easy to admire and/or identify with.  I like how she handled her situation with Jacob.
  • As for Jacob, I usually have an issue with the love interests because they're all so bland and cookie cutter--or what I would call "stock"--but Jacob was a breath of fresh air.  My favorite love interest characters tend to be the ones who are tortured souls with a stunning capacity for observation and a passion for setting things right, for expressing themselves.  (For example, Sam from "Shiver" by Maggie Stiefvater, James from "A Certain Slant of Light" by Laura Whitcomb, Ethan from the Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl, and Patch from "Hush, Hush" by Becca Fitzpatrick--except Jacob is a real boy, not a werewolf.)
  • (In times like this, I wish I weren't a Spoiler Free blogger cause I want to talk about all my favorite scenes and exclaim about how such and such  happened, but I can't. XD)
  • Sometimes, it's really hard to tell how a character changed throughout a book.  I think it's best when it isn't completely obvious but when it creeps up, all natural-like.  Towards the end when Josie started to reflect on herself, I could agree with the changes and I was just as surprised and satisfied as Josie at how much she'd changed.  And I truly loved the ending.  I wish I could tell you exactly why but I digress. ;)
  • I recommend this to ALL fans of Sarah Dessen and Jodi Picoult.  Melina Marchetta expresses the true teenage heart in "Looking for Alibrandi" without sugar coating.  A pure work of genius.
Book Info:
  • pages - hardcover, 250 (US)
  • published - April 1999 (US), first published in 1992 in AUS
  • publisher - 1999: Orchard Books, 2006: Knopf Books for Young Readers
  • genre - realistic fiction
  • received via - library :) 
  • view the MOVIE trailer here
    • I freaking LOVE this trailer.  I can see that they pulled a lot DIRECTLY from the book.  Unfortunately, this movie is not available in the US and there's a messed up issue involving an AUS DVD playing on US DVD players so I caution you to be careful if you try to buy this from eBay.
    • Also--if you're a fan of Without a Trace, you'll recognize the guy that plays the father. ;)