Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Review of Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta

Title: Looking for Alibrandi
Author: Melina Marchetta
Published by: Orchard Books
Pages: 256
Source: Library
Format: Hardcover
Rating: ★★★★

Summary From Goodreads: Seventeen-year-old Josephine Alibrandi is no stranger to conflict. If she's not caught between her strict single mom and her even stricter grandmother, then she's trying to choose between wealthy good boy John Barton and working-class bad boy Jacob Coote. Josephine is always in trouble with the nuns at her Catholic school (who everyone calls "penguins because of them wearing wimples and all that Sound of Music gear") because she fights with native Australian kids over her mixed Australian/Italian heritage. Just when she thinks her situation couldn't possibly get more complicated, her mysterious, long-lost biological father comes back and Josephine must decide if it's worth getting to know this person who abandoned her and her mother.

I don't know how many times I've said it and I'm sure it will be at least a hundred more, but I love Melina Marchetta.  She writes the most amazing characters who are far from perfect, but at the same time are so raw and authentic you can't help but love them.

Looking for Alibrandi was not a novel I had heard of when I stumbled upon it on someone's blog (I would give a shout out to this person but I'm not sure anymore who it is).  I quickly looked at my local independent bookstores and I didn't see it, so I tried the library and to my immense pleasure they did have a copy.

Josephine was a sassy girl who wasn't really sure of her place in life.  She felt as if she never really fit in with the Australian side because of her Italian heritage, but at the same time she hated following the strict rules of her Italian upbringing.  Things soon got complicated when not only her long lost dad enters her life, but also two other boys vying for her attention.  At first I wasn't sure about Josephine.  I thought she was very disrespectful to her mother and her grandmother, but as the story went along and more information was revealed about their situation I really felt for Josephine.  She didn't live an easy life and neither did her mother or grandmother.  They all had to make tough decisions and life with their consequences.

Now lets talk about the boys.  Jacob Coote is Melina Marchetta's typical male of interest.  He's a little rough around the edges and does things his own way.  His relationship with Josephine is a little rocky and they have trouble finding their own rhythm with plenty of mistakes along the way.  He's considered the bad boy with her motorcycle and ripped jeans...sounds yummy to me! 

My favorite character had to be Josephine's father.  Well he is described as plain, I still imaged him as dashing and kind of bumbling, like a Colin Firth type.  I loved seeing his and Josephine's relationship grow and him learning how to be a father.  It was quite heart-warming.

I must say while I did really enjoy this novel, there was something missing that was in her later novels.  It had all the elements; a great story, perfect characters, a hot guy and yet it seemed to not have her usual spark. 


  1. I think that is why I haven't read Looking for Alibrandi yet, because I've heard its missing that spark, and I don't want to break my MM bubble of bliss. But then again, this book was made into a movie, so that has to mean something. Plus, from your review, I think I'd enjoy it. The relationships and characters seem to carry MM signature style and I like that. :)

  2. I'm scared of this book... I've read her three later Contemporaries (I'm also terrified of her fantasy novels). I LOVE Melina Marchetta too! (Not gonna lie, it's totally why I followed your blog way back when :) ) and I've LOVED everything of hers that I have read. So I'm terrified of reading something that I won't love. :P But great review! It makes me sad that it's missing the spark, but I'm also glad to hear that you DID still like it! :D

  3. I am ashamed to admit that I haven't read any of her books. I should remedy that, but I don't know when.


I love love love hearing your wonderful thoughts! Thanks for stopping by and happy reading.