Looking for Alibrandi

Melina Marchetta, Author
Melina Marchetta, Author Orchard Books (NY) $16.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-531-30142-5
Reviewed on: 03/29/1999
Release date: 04/01/1999
Library Binding - 313 pages - 978-0-375-93694-4
Paperback - 313 pages - 978-0-375-83694-7
MP3 CD - 978-1-921334-44-3
Open Ebook - 198 pages - 978-0-307-43353-4
Library Binding - 256 pages - 978-0-531-33142-2
Paperback - 120 pages - 978-0-86819-623-7
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-74214-331-6
Book - 7 pages - 978-1-74030-395-8
Book - 978-1-74030-231-9
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-01084-0
MP3 CD - 978-1-74311-083-6
MP3 CD - 978-1-74319-383-9
Compact Disc - 978-1-74310-876-5
Compact Disc - 978-1-74319-181-1
Hardcover - 364 pages - 978-1-4596-2128-2
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Although this involving novel is set in the author's native Australia, American readers will feel right at home, thanks to the charismatic, outspoken narrator, 17-year-old Josephine Alibrandi. A scholarship student at a tony Catholic girls' school, Josie is aware that she is different from her affluent ""Aussie"" classmates: she's illegitimate, and she's closely tied to her Italian immigrant community. She feels periodically rebellious against her classmates' snobbishness, against the nuns' authority at school, against her community's mores. Even so, Josie clearly regards the women in her life--her single mother, her grandmother and even some of the nuns--with affection as well as exasperation. Josie has less experience dealing with guys until senior year, when three members of the opposite sex complicate her world. Her father, who has not previously known of her existence, arrives on the scene unexpectedly, and she can't help feeling drawn to him. She also becomes involved with two boys her own age: the upper-class but desperately unhappy John Barton and the wilder, iconoclastic Jacob Coote. The casting or plot may sound clich ed, but the characterizations are unusually insightful and persuasive. In articulate, passionate prose, Marchetta weaves the intricate web of Josephine's relationships, juxtaposing her revelations about her family history against current crises (these include John's suicide). If the author loses momentum at the end, straining for tidy closure, she does, simultaneously, leave open new doorways for her heroine. Ages 14-up. (Apr.)
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