Marchetta Madness: What was for your first Marchetta?

Marchetta Madness is here! Are you jumping up and down in excitement like I am? Let’s start the week by talking about how we were first introduced to Melina Marchetta’s fabulous novels. I first heard about her through the blogosphere in early 2010, back when I first started following book blogs. I saw Jellicoe Road get rave reviews from the bloggers I follow. When I found out that it was available in local bookstores, I went ahead and grabbed a copy. I started it as soon as I could and was immediately confused. For some reason, I had no idea that it was set in Australia so I was unfamiliar with the school setting (Year Seven, Year Eleven, what? These characters are in high school, right?) and some of the terms (Is singlet a tank top? Looks like pashing means making out?). It was the first Aussie YA novel that I read (and definitely wasn’t the last). I didn’t let the confusion bother me and just went with the flow of the story. Good thing I did because I ended up loving it to bits! Isn’t it amazing how a Filipino reader like myself was able to connect with a novel set in Australia? I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels that way, Melina Marchetta has quite a following in countries all over the world. I loved how Jellicoe Road made me feel for the characters, how their heartache felt real to me. I mostly read YA fantasy novels back then, thinking that I’d found the genre I could focus on. But discovering Jellicoe Road made me want to read not just the rest of Melina Marchetta’s novels but contemporary YA in general. So I have Melina Marchetta to thank for introducing me to the wonderful world of contemporary YA. I’ve found several favorites since then.

I reread Jellicoe Road a few days ago and it’s still as beautiful and intense as I remembered. If I was the type of person who highlighted favorite scenes, my copy would be one colorful book. Jellicoe Road is also my favorite Marchetta – maybe because it was the first book of hers that I read? In any case, I’m thankful that she’s written several novels because there’s more for all of us to enjoy. What about the rest of you, how did you discover Melina Marchetta and what was her first book that you read? What’s your favorite Marchetta novel? If you haven’t read any of her books (and why haven’t you?!) but have heard about them, how did you find out about the author? Leave a comment or grab the Marchetta Madness poster and make a post in your own blog. Send me a link and I’ll include it in a roundup. Let the madness begin. πŸ˜€

Scanned image of my Marchetta novels, doesn't include my US hardcover of The Piper's Son and the Kindle edition of Froi of the Exiles

49 thoughts on “Marchetta Madness: What was for your first Marchetta?

    • It makes me happy that I was the one who introduced you to MM’s novels. Yes to more Marchetta love in the Philippines! Have you read all of her novels? πŸ™‚ I was actually surprised when I first discovered that they’re locally available.

      • Not yet! Tatlo pa lang. I am yearning for a Piper’s Son copy and I’ve been bookhunting just about everywhere. Hope I find one soon!

      • Piper is available in Fully Booked! I’ve seen it there before but it’s kind of pricey, I don’t know why. I pre-ordered mine from the Book Depository. Maybe you can order from there too?

  1. Ya for this week!

    I discovered Melina Marchetta through bloggers. I remember Adele’s glowing review of the book a few years back and I remember getting Jellicoe Road from Powerbooks because of that. I didn’t read it immediately, though — I let it languish on my TBR for a while. Then I got Saving Francesca and I finally read it after Aaron reviewed it (and because it was a part of a reading challenge).

    My favorite is still Jellicoe Road, but Saving Francesca is a close favorite. I think SF prepared me for how Marchetta writes and it made me stick through Jellicoe through the confusing parts because I know that I’m in for a good thing later in the story. πŸ™‚

    • I can’t even remember what specific blogs recommended Jellicoe Road. I just remember that I kept hearing good things about it and I had a copy reserved from Fully Booked. So Saving Francesca was your first Marchetta? When was this? It’s funny that Aaron read it before you did. πŸ˜›

      Oh I never got discouraged while reading Jellicoe Road even if I found it confusing at the start. Maybe because I knew it was going to be good?

  2. I discover The PiperΒ΄s Son last year from a blog that no longer exist.
    I was reading the review of Where She Went by Gayle Forman and in it say if you like The PiperΒ΄s Son youΒ΄re going to like this book (Where She Went).
    And I check it out at goodreads and read some reviews, and then I bought Saving Francesca, The PiperΒ΄s son and a month later I bought Jellicoe Road.
    My favorite so far is Jellicoe Road.

    • Hey, that’s funny because I read Gayle Forman’s If I Stay based on MM’s recommendation. Have you seen this Twitter conversation? Actually, I should have probably mentioned that Jellicoe Road and The Piper’s Son are my two favorite Marchettas. πŸ™‚

    • How was it like reading Looking for Alibrandi for school? You’re so lucky you had such a good contemporary novel to discuss. We didn’t have something like that for our high school here in the Philippines.

  3. Jellicoe Road was my first and my favourite! (Although Finnikin comes a very close second!). I had never heard of MM until I started reading blogs and her name and JR just kept popping up over and over again.

    Like you, I mostly stuck with YA Fantasy lol, and barely ever glanced at contemporary so it took me a while to get round to reading it, but I loved it and it was definitely one of the books that got me into contemporary YA!

    Yay for Marchetta week! πŸ˜€

    • Jellicoe Road keeps getting mentioned in book blogs, right? Totally deserves all the attention that it’s getting. I think all YA book bloggers should be introduced to Marchetta’s writing. πŸ™‚

      Hey, good to know I wasn’t the only one MM converted! I had no idea why I didn’t think I’d enjoy contemporary novels. Nowadays, I like mixing it up – alternating fantasy and contemporary to cleanse the reading palate.

      Happy Marchetta Madness!

  4. I love this post, Chachic! It’s so interesting the read how everyone discovered MM!

    My first book was Jellicoe. I was still pretty new on the YA scene and people were talking about it so I thought I’d give it a go… I was incredibly confused because I thought it was a dystopia book (LOL) because of the “territory wars” and I’d just read The Hunger Games.
    But then I met Jonah and I forgot my disappointment quickly… πŸ˜‰

    I still haven’t decided which one is my favourite… I’ve narrowed it down to Jellicoe/The Piper’s Son/ Froi.
    Don’t make me choose!

    • Jo, I like finding out about how other people discovered MM too!

      Wow, you thought Jellicoe was dystopian? Looks like you found it more confusing than I did? Although it makes sense when you factor in the territory wars and you compare it to The Hunger Games. Sigh, yes to Jonah Griggs.

      Don’t worry, you don’t have to choose! I just wanted to throw that question out there. πŸ˜› Like I said in another comment above, Jellicoe and Piper are my two favorites.

  5. I am so looking forward to reading all the Marchetta Madness posts :).

    I discovered her books back in 2010, when I was still relatively new to the online book community and didn’t even know such things as books blogs existed ;). I had actually read about Jellicoe Road on an Amazon forum, but it needed two friends – met them through a swapping site and they actually also introduced me to Goodreads, so I have a lot to be grateful for πŸ˜‰ – who were already raving fans to convince me. My first book of hers was Saving Francesca, closely followed by Jellicoe Road.

    I would say that JR is my overall favourite of hers because it triggered the most emotional reaction, but that doesn’t mean I love her other books any less … I just love the way she’s able to bring characters and their relationships to life, especially with Frankie and her “gang”, so it’s really hard to choose.

    • Janina, looks like we discovered MM about the same time. I was amazed when I first discovered book blogs, felt like I found a treasure trove. I used to read reviews in Amazon too before I discovered the blogosphere and Goodreads. πŸ˜›

      Oh yes, me too. I think Jellicoe and Piper are my favorite Marchettas because they were the ones that made me cry. But that doesn’t mean that her other books aren’t wonderful, it’s just that I was able to connect more with those two.

  6. Sounds like Jellicoe Road is a lot of people’s “firsts”. That was mine too. It was before I started reading book blogs so I just randomly picked it up from the library. I also was really confused by the slang (sometimes still am!), but I was quickly hooked and MM quickly became of one my favorite authors. I think my favorite book of hers is Finnikin. That book just crushed my heart it was so beautiful.

    • I’ve learned to love the slang included in Aussie YA novels, makes them feel more authentic. Good day, mate! πŸ™‚ “crushed my heart it was so beautiful” sounds about right, I think that can be used to describe all of her novels.

  7. IT’S HERE!!!

    I first heard of Melina Marchetta’s books from someone I met at Sounis. Then I seemed to be seeing mentions of Jellico Road everywhere. But I read Saving Francesca first and it along with The Piper’s Son are my favorites.

    • I KNOW! So exciting, right?

      Hmm do you remember who it was in Sounis who recommended her books? So glad some MWT fans are MM fans too! And then MWT and MM like each other’s books. *beams*

    Ah! I’m glad to read jowearsoldcoats’ comment that the beginning of JELLICOE ROAD seemed initially like a dystopian. I felt the same way, and the bush-like setting of the school seemed to corroborate it, and the genuine violence (poor Ben’s fingers). But I thought leading us to imagine something of a bleak dystopia might have been deliberate on Marchetta’s part? It was such a gradual, hopeful revelation for me to see that it wasn’t a real war, it was all games, and I think it mirrored the discovery Taylor makes that the original troop of 5 began the wars out of boredom, and for fun, along with her shedding of the other misconceptions she’d had over the years. It was honestly like a veil slowly lifting as I read, into a brighter world for Taylor, which I found to be so, so cool.

    • Wish I knew about the idea of Jellicoeas a dystopian novel before I reread it! I would have liked to imagine that. It does make sense because of the setting and the violence. I know, poor Ben! But I loved Jonah’s comment when he finally heard Ben play the violin.

      It was such a gradual, hopeful revelation for me to see that it wasn’t a real war -> yes to this! You used the veil as a metaphor and I’d like to think of it as an onion too – how you slowly peel away the layers to get to the center and how it makes you cry in the process of doing so. Sorry if I’m not making any sense here. πŸ˜›

  9. Reading through the comments was fun. Now I’m imagining Jellicoe Road as a dystopia and it’s awesome! lol

    Jellicoe Road was my first, and it’s my favorite. πŸ™‚ It’s just perfect to me. Plus, JONAH GRIGGS. ❀ Honestly, I love this book so much that it breaks my heart when someone doesn't like it (or Jonah). πŸ˜₯

    • I’m enjoying everyone’s participation! I hope all the posts this week will get lovely comments like the ones here. πŸ™‚

      Oh I know, I feel sad when other people don’t end up loving Jellicoe, kind of like how I feel with the Queen’s Thief series (which is not surprising seeing as I planned week-long events for both MWT and MM’s novels). And Jonah Griggs is ♥♥♥.

  10. I think I heard about Melina Marchetta from you first, when you reviewed Jellicoe Road. And then I believe I also read a great review from Chris. BUT, despite both of your glowing reviews, it took me months to finally give it a go. I really don’t know why it took me so long!:)

    My favorite is still Jellicoe Road – it’s one of the few books on my shelf that I’ve read more than once (and it still makes me cry every time!) πŸ™‚

    • Oooh so we we probably “met” sometime in 2010 then? It’s understandable that it took you months to read Jellicoe, you were just starting on YA back then, right? And don’t worry, you’re not the only one. I wish I could read faster because there are just way too many good books in the TBR pile.

      Aww, Jellicoe made me cry as well. And Piper too.

  11. I honestly can’t recall if I read Saving Francesca or Jellicoe Road first, though I believe I heard of them around the same time from a book blogger. Thankfully, she warned in her review that readers might find the first third of Jellicoe a bit confusing, but it was more than worth persevering through. I loved it so much that I made my mom read it after me so I’d have someone to discuss it with. I remember being so disappointed that she only thought it was okay — even as a Melina Marchetta newbie, I knew that wasn’t the right response.

    Jellicoe Road is probably the book I’ve reread the most, but The Piper’s Son and Froi of the Exiles are getting up there in number as well. I don’t think I could pick a favorite, as they’ve all become so special to me.

    • Aww sorry to hear that your mom didn’t love Jellicoe but at least she read it for you. I don’t think I can get my mom to read the books that I like. You don’t have to worry though, you have the rest of us to talk to about Melina Marchetta’s books. πŸ˜€

      Yes, Jellicoe Road is the book that I’ve read the most too. I’ve also given it as a gift to friends several times. I really should reread Saving Francesca and The Piper’s Son soon.

  12. I didn’t hear about Marchetta until I started frequenting the blogosphere, but since then I feel like I hear/see someone raving about one of her books at least once a week. I’m planning/hoping to read Saving Francesca very soon (thanks for the heads up on that and Piper’s Son being companion novels!), but I think the books I want to try most are her fantasy, Finnikin. I often like to wait till series are completely published to read though, so I may wait till Quintana is available here in the US.

    • Heidi, I find it funny that both the Queen’s Thief Week and Marchetta Madness have convinced you to read some of my favorite books. πŸ™‚ Have you started on Saving Francesca yet? Oh wow, I’m amazed that you can do that – wait until all the books in a series have been published before I start on them. I would love to be like that but I don’t think I can wait especially when it comes to authors I love.

  13. The first book I read by her was Finnikin of the Rock, which has a wonderful audiobook btw. It definitely adds to the story. I’ve since read every one of her books except The Gorgon in the Gully. I do need to reread The Piper’s Son though. My favorite book by her is a tie between Jellicoe Road and Finnikin of the Rock. They’re so different and yet similar. I finished Froi of the Exiles the day it came out, but I was reading so fast that I probably missed a lot. I’ll be rereading it again soon. Love Marchetta though. I’m so glad other people love her books as I do!

    • Hey Jacquelyn, you can order The Gorgon in the Gully from Fishpond if you want to grab a copy, they have free worldwide shipping. Haven’t tried ordering there but other blogger friends have done so.

      Yes to rereading her books! I feel like I’m able to appreciate her books more when I reread them – I already know what’s going to happen so I can focus on getting to know the characters again. πŸ™‚

  14. Hm, as I wrote in my Marchetta post the other day, I really can’t pinpoint who first told me to read Marchetta’s books. I’m sure it was probably someone on Goodreads. Saving Francesca was my first but The Piper’s Son is my favorite. (as you already know, C:)) The comment thread down here is wonderful–I loved hearing how everyone first started reading her books. I’m looking forward to all the posts this week!

    • Me too, can’t remember exactly who it was who first recommended Marchetta. But I do remember I found out about her through the book blogosphere. Flann, just reread Francesca and going to start on Piper when I get home. Didn’t want to lug around my Aussie copy because it might get damaged. πŸ˜› Hope you’re having fun going through all the posts this week.

  15. Hi! I found my way here through a mix of the Melina Marchetta tag on tumblr and then through twitter. So thankyou for doing this, I haven’t really come across people who love all of her work πŸ™‚

    I can’t remember what my first Marchetta book was. I think the Looking for Alibrandi movie was my first, as I was a bit too young to study the book in school. From there it would have been either Looking for Alibrandi or Saving Francsesca, because I remember buying On te Jellicoe Road very soon after it came out (and it makes me so so happy that there are other Jellicoe fans! I’ve made my best friend adore SF with me but she refuses to read Jellicoe so I’m looking forward to the chance to fangirl over it, especially after reading Gorgon in the Gully – that book broke my heart more than a little kid’s book ever should).

    • Rachy, LOL good to hear that you found out about Marchetta Madness through both Tumblr and Twitter! That means word has been getting around the blog event and that makes me happy, more fans will get to go through the posts.

      Oh yes, The Gorgon in the Gully is such a charming little book and it makes you just want to hug Danny Griggs. So you watched the Alibrandi movie before reading the book? I wonder what was that experience like. Although from what I’ve heard this week, looks like the movie is pretty good too (which shouldn’t be surprising since Marchetta wrote the script).

  16. Mine was Saving Francesca!!!
    I remember I waited for ages to get the cover I got, because I so wanted that one – it’s the original US paperback, I think. I discovered it because I used to spend hours and hours looking through Amazon to decide which books to buy, since it was so expensive to have them shipped to my country, I did extensive research on each book πŸ˜€

    I actually thought it was going to be just a cute book about a girl going to a mostly boys’s school. Boy, did I get so much more in the bargain!

    I wrote a little bit more about it in my blog

    This is Alex/AnimeGirl, btw, I don’t know why but it forced me to sign in with Twitter instead of just letting me comment 😦

    • I think we’ve established that we have the same edition for Francesca, the one with the cute cover, right? I think it looks nice but it really doesn’t fit Francesca’s story. And I’m not sure if that’s the original US cover. Hey, does the Book Depository ship to you? Because that’s how I get copies of books that aren’t locally available.

      Sorry about the comment issue, I have no idea why WordPress is forcing you to login to comment. I heard from someone else on Twitter that they’re having a hard time commenting. 😦 My settings don’t require people to login so I don’t know what’s the problem.

  17. I was given Saving Francesca as a present when I was in Year Eleven. Up until that time, I would only ever read books in the fantasy genre – I hated books about real people and real problems. But when I read about Francesca, I realised that I could totally relate to her. Melina manages to capture the voice of a teenager so incredibly well!

    • Lucky that you got a copy in Year Eleven, the same year Francesca is in! Yeah, me too, mostly read fantasy novels before discovering Marchetta and her books made me want to read more contemporary books. Just finished rereading Francesca so it’s fresh in my mind – I loved that Jimmy is a huge fantasy fan (even though I’m not familiar with the authors he mentioned).

  18. Pingback: Marchetta Madness at Chachic’s Book Nook « A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

  19. Pingback: Marchetta Madness: Random Facts | Chachic's Book Nook

  20. Hi Chachic! I just want to thank you for introducing me to Melina Marchetta. When I stumbled across your blog, I saw you and other book bloggers are so into her books. I bought ‘Jellicoe Road’ and let my sister read it first and she fell in love with it! I’m giving my copy though to a close friend who’s leaving for Canada. And since my sister is also leaving for the States soon, i’m giving her one too. ‘Jellicoe Road’ is the perfect gift, and it deserves to be shared to everyone. πŸ™‚

    • Hi Christiane, thanks for dropping by the blog to let me know that you’re now a fellow Melina Marchetta fan! So glad you loved Jellicoe Road and that you’ve recommended the book to friends and family. It’s one of my favorites as well. I hope you end up loving the rest of MM’s novels. πŸ™‚

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