ohmygod, or why i love melina marchetta
Melina Marchetta is a perpetual fan favorite. If you check her books out on Goodreads, they all have at least a 4.0 rating (which is insane on the site, even with somewhat inflated ratings). And there is, of course, a running joke on the site that everyone loves Marchetta, which is true. She’s popular in both Australia and is taught in high schools there and in the US is well loved with weeks celebrating her.
It seems like everybody loves Marchetta!
And I can put myself into that camp.
I’ve read every single one of her books.
And how did I end up reading her? I started blogging. I’m absolutely serious. I started blogging and writing reviews on Goodreads (one of my favorite sites, fyi). Everyone loved Marchetta. And I figured, hey, I like contemp, I’ll check her out.
So I ordered Jellicoe Road. Now I have to order books often due to where I live, so just ordering a book is a bit of a gamble. What if I hate it? Then I’ll be out twenty dollars and returning’s a hassle. But everyone loved it. So I started to read the book at school, a bit confused by the notoriously confusing beginning and continued to read. And then I loved it. (You can read the crazy gushing/slightly melodramatic Goodreads review here.)
And then I found out, wait! Marchetta had written MORE books. Of course I was delighted. I headed over to my public library which, despite being extremely small, has plenty of Marchetta love, having almost all of her books in circulation.
I picked up Saving Francesca and Looking for Alibrandi. And I LOVED them. Their characters, plots, setting, writing, everything. Melina Marchetta had begun to establish herself to me, and I loved her books. I asked for Finnikin of the Rock for Christmas (and received it!). I requested Froi of the Exiles when it came on Netgalley from the US publisher and I hunted high and low for The Piper’s Son (the ONLY Marchetta I hadn’t read; I literally couldn’t find it anywhere) until I finally found it and patted myself on the back.
Yes, I will read any book she publishes (hello, Quintana of Charyn — I may just have to order it when it comes out in Aussieland).
Yes, I love her characters and her writing and her swoonable boys and her amazing plots and everything she has to offer.
But if there is one thing that I’m greateful to Melina Marchetta for, it’s this: she essentially introduced me to the world of fantastic YA literature.
Her books were really the first YA titles I read and seriously loved. I ordered Jellicoe Road when I was first getting interested in young adult, first starting to understand the beauty and elegance of it as I transistioned out of middle grade, which I had loved for so many years. I barely had any YA books, just a measley two or three. When people told me to read Marchetta, I listened. And ohmygod, thank goodness I listened.
I devoured her books. They were fantastic and amazing and my first real understanding of how impressive and rich and real YA could be, how it could push boundaries and be proactive and fascinating and explore family stories and friendships and romance, how it truly could save (ie the fantastic online reaction of YA Saves last year).
Melina’s books really helped me get a feel for how amazing contemp YA is, and how much I really truly love it. I read mostly contemporary, honestly, along with mystery and fantasy (with the Lumature Chronicles at the top of my list, obviously).
She really helped me understand and expand my horizons of YA, understand what good young adult literature is. I’m greatful to her and to the bloggers and reviewers who told me to read it (thank you, thank you!).
And I now recommend Marchetta any chance I can. I tell people to read her books, I tell them about Aussie YA and I tell them about the amazingness of YA. I’ll happily continue to read her books, as I have honestly enjoyed each and every one.
I could go on forever and ever about how much I love Marchetta and how frickin’ nice she is in real life (honestly, read this post for proof) but honestly I love, love, love her books and I’m so greatful to her for showing me how lovely and wonderful YA can be.
You should, if you’re a true Marchetta fan, be able to understand the significance of the orange poppy. 🙂