I know this is a somewhat older title with a copyright of 2006, but I missed it back then and every year since. Why? Why did I wait SO long to read it? And why can I only give it five stars? I want to give it ten on scale of one to five!
Taylor Markham lives at the Jellicoe boarding school in Australia. She was abandoned in a Seven Eleven on Jellicoe Road by her mother when she was 5. She never knew her father. Five minutes after her mother left, a woman named Hannah who lived by the Jellicoe school and sometimes took the students under her wing, came by and picked her up. Taylor and Hannah have been very connected ever since. Hannah is the closest thing to family that Taylor has and Hannah's house has become Taylor's refuge.
Hannah is writing a manuscript about 5 teenagers. Three of the teens survived a horrific accident on Jellicoe Road in which all other members of their respective families were killed. The fourth teen happened on the accident and helped rescue the three from the smashed vehicles, pulling the last one out just before the cars exploded into flames. The fifth teen met the other four as they were tending the poppies that had been planted at the site of the accident as a memorial. The five became inseparable. As Taylor secretly reads the manuscript, she begins to wonder if there is some grain of truth in the events Hannah is describing and if perhaps Hannah has some connection to the teens. She also begins to wonder if it was a true coincidence that Hannah happened to stop at the Seven Eleven just when she did. But at the same time, Taylor is so busy with school and her new position as leader of her dorm that she has little time to pursue her musings. Then Hannah disappears and Taylor's life gets turned upside down.
This is a complicated story. It is not linear; there are flashbacks in time and flips between the manuscript and current events. There are many characters to keep straight. I almost gave up during the first 75 pages, but I am SO glad I stuck with it. Everything comes together in the most amazing way! Jellicoe Road has become one of my all-time favorite young adult novels.