'Taylor Markham is not a popular choice. She is erratic, has no people skills and never turns up to meetings. Not to mention the incident when she ran off in search of her mother and only got halfway there. But she's lived at Jellicoe School most of her life and as leader of the boarders that's her greatest asset. Especially now the cadets, led by the infamous Jonah Griggs, have arrived. The territory wars between the boarders, townies and cadets are about to recommence.
'But Taylor has other things on her mind; a prayer tree, the hermit who whispered in her ear, and a vaguely familiar drawing in the local police station. Taylor wants to understand the mystery of her own past. But Hannah, the woman who found her, has suddenly disappeared, leaving nothing but an unfinished manuscript about five kids whose lives entwined twenty years ago on the Jellicoe Road ...' (Publisher's blurb)
'In 1994, Lucy Grealy published Autobiography of a Face (Grealy 2003: 3; First Perennial edition), her memoir about childhood cancer and the resulting facial disfigurement she endured for the rest of her life. Her intention in writing it, stated her friend and fellow writer Anne Patchett, was not to be an inspiration to others who had suffered terrible illness but to have produced something of literary merit (Patchett 2003: 230). Nonetheless, Autobiography of a Face was received with much acclaim not only for its lyricism, but also for the in-depth way it explored notions of identity and self within the illness experience (DasGupta 2007; Mojtabai 1994; Zbar 1995).' (Introduction)
'According to the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society’s (ARCSHS) 2013 National Survey of Australian Secondary Students and Sexual Health, over 34% of the Year 10-12 students surveyed reported having had sexual intercourse, while 69% have experienced some form of sexual activity.
'When sex is evidently a part of adolescent lives, it would be remiss not to include it in the literature written for them.
'So how should sex in young adult literature be depicted?'
The article details Marchetta's approach to writing through a discussion of Finnikin of the Rock (2008), which she describes as 'a different type of book' than Alibrandi and Jellicoe Road. A fantasy quest that involves '...a coming together of disparate settings, memories and concerns' (5), Marchetta claims the book is fundamentally about '...loss of homeland, loss of language and...loss of identity' (6).
The article includes some facts about the author and a plot outline of Finnikin, which describes the narrative as 'long and twisting ... with characters whose actions can't always be anticipated (6).