My wish for you all this Christmas/Hanukkah is for you to discover another talented author. Obviously you all love Sarah Dessen if you are choosing to read this blog. I would like to introduce an author well regarded in my country for good reason.
Her name is Melina Marchetta. She was an English teacher and recently published her fourth book. I discovered her first writing effort, Looking for Alibrandi, in the year it debuted (1992). I was eleven and I felt like a grown up for the first time as I turned the pages taking in Josie’s path of self-discovery. Looking back on it, I may have been a little young but this book made a huge impression on me and many of my peers. Having read it as an adult it still holds up incredibly and I continue to recommend it. (In fact I sent Sarah a copy of it as a thank you for all the books she sent me!)
I waited until 2003 for her second book, yes that is correct, eleven years. Saving Francesca came out and I didn’t even realise it existed. A younger girl that lived in the same residential hall lent it to me when I spotted it on her desk. She hadn’t even read it yet and I greedily serconded it. Following Francesca as she copes with her mother’s fractured mind and the pressures of growing up seemed to relate to my life in an extraordinary manner at the time.
By now Melina was picking up some steam and in 2006 (On the) Jellicoe Road was published. I knew this one was coming and I think I grabbed it the second the book store opened. It didn’t let me down. It is my favourite of her novels and hard to explain so as not to spoil the journey. Let’s just say it’s different than anything else I have read and I feel better having read it.
Lastly, Finnikin of the Rock came out this year and I didn’t know it was coming. I bought it this week and it’s sitting on my bedside table. I have been saving it for Boxing Day when I am suffering turkey overdose and are able to read it in one sitting. I know it won’t disappoint me.
Melina has won a multitude of awards here in her home country and hopefully many more will come her way as the word spreads. If anything, the best label could be for Looking for Alibrandi – “the most stolen library book”.
My holiday wish is for you to use some of your holiday money/book store voucher to purchase a Melina Marchetta novel. I promise you will love it and I promise she will become one of your favourite authors.
**Note – This recommendation is motivated by my want to share a good book.