By: Melanie | April 9, 2014 | (27) Comments

Review: Looking For Alibrandi by Melina MarchettaLooking For Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta
Publisher: Penguin Australia
Release Date: March 26, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Drama, YA
Pages: 328
Source: Received in exchange for review
Goodreads | Purchase

For as long as Josephine Alibrandi can remember, it’s just been her, her mom, and her grandmother. Now it’s her final year at a wealthy Catholic high school. The nuns couldn’t be any stricter—but that doesn’t seem to stop all kinds of men from coming into her life.

Caught between the old-world values of her Italian grandmother, the nononsense wisdom of her mom, and the boys who continue to mystify her, Josephine is on the ride of her life. This will be the year she falls in love, the year she discovers the secrets of her family’s past—and the year she sets herself free.

Told with unmatched depth and humor, this novel—which swept the pool of Australian literary awards and became a major motion picture—is one to laugh through and cry with, to cherish and remember.

I have nothing new to say about Looking for Alibrandi; my review is just going to be an echo of everyone else’s thoughts. I don’t know why I took such a prolonged time to start reading Melina Marchetta novels, but I certainly regret that I didn’t start sooner. In fact, I probably should have listened to my mum when she recommended it to me last year–it was the first book she ever read in English when she first came to Australia. She is still in love with it today. And I know I am too.

Josephine Alibrandi is unmistakably real. I feel like I could walk on the street and find the same person just wearing a different face and holding a different name. She feels genuine in the sense that she acts like a total teenager. She’s got sass, she’s dramatic, she’s completely and utterly flawed. I love how she speaks her mind out to the world, she’s always with buckets of emotions tumbling inside her and is always trying to be tough in every situation. An absolutely fantastic and unforgettable character.

Looking for Alibrandi is a coming of age novel. For all her life, Josie’s never met her father. He left before Josie was even born. So when he–Michael Andretti shows up, Josie’s feelings towards him are rather conflicted. Along with that, Josie has begun to grow feelings towards Jacob Coote, someone who her Nonna would definitely not approve of with her olden world beliefs. There was romance, friendship and family dynamics but there were also themes such as race, identity, loss and new beginnings. With all that, not at one point in this novel did it feel cramped. It gave us reality, and how it’s not always that pretty.

I think the best aspect of Looking for Alibrandi was the relationships. The romance between Jacob and Josie was realistic–they messed up a lot here and there but they were good for each other, even on the bad days. I also loved the father-daughter dynamic. There was clear resentfulness at the start, both didn’t want anything to do with each other but they grew close after time, figuring out their similarities. Josie and her father’s relationship put a smile to my face.

At the end of the day, review after review, you won’t know how brilliantly crafted Looking for Alibrandi unless you read it yourself. So do yourself a favour and go pick up a copy. An Aussie classic.

~Thank you Penguin Australia for sending me this copy!~

4 Stars
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Owner (and crazy nut) at YA Midnight Reads
Melanie is one of the totally fabulous bloggers at YA Midnight Reads. She's a 16 year old student from Melbourne, Australia. She is normally found binge watching TV series, reading , blogging, procrastinating or fangirling about how Percabeth is the best ship ever. She's also a lover of caps lock and uses it excessively.

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27 Responses to Review: Looking For Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta

  1. Rashika says:

    Yup. This book is almost impossible to review, there is so much to say and I don’t think it will ever be enough. The book is so gorgeous and thought provoking and so so so realistic. I don’t think I could ever express my love for it in enough words.

    Lovely review as always Mel!!! 🙂
    Rashika recently posted…ARC Review: The Nethergrim by Matthew JobinMy Profile

  2. Wow, I would have never looked twice at this book but when you like a read, I stand up and take notice. Hmm, I’m thinking about it.
    Jennifer Bielman recently posted…Kindle & Nook Freebies #77My Profile

  3. This is going to be one of my school holiday reads. I can’t believe I’m Aussie and haven’t read Melina Marchetta!! Definitely need to get onto that. Lovely review, glad you liked it 🙂
    Emily @ The Loony Teen Writer recently posted…Loony’s Musings: What am I writing and what’s my process?My Profile

  4. Fantastic review Mel! I have yet to read any Marchetta books, and am a bit ashamed to say that as I am also Australian. However, I won a beautiful copy of this book last week, so I’m happy to be able to say that I will be reading my very first Marchetta book soon! 🙂
    Ebony @ Paperbacks & Protagonists recently posted…WWW Wednesday #8My Profile

  5. Jasprit says:

    This is a gorgeous review Melanie! I adore Marchetta’s books too, this is one of the ones that I still need to read, but from your review and so many others I have a feeling that I will love this one too. Also I was quite late jumping onto the Marchetta bandwagon, but look at it this way, at least we have lots more books by Marchetta still to look forward to!
    Jasprit recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday #25: Out of Control by Sarah AldersonMy Profile

  6. I didn’t know this book, but I know her Lumatere series, which I hope to start today. Great review! 😀
    Bieke @ Istyria book blog recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday #45: Midnight Thief by Livia BlackburneMy Profile

  7. I’m so glad you loved this as a teen reading it now 🙂 It really is a classic!

    Mands @ The Bookish Manicurist
    The Bookish Manicurist recently posted…Grave Mercy by Robin LaFeversMy Profile

  8. Wonderful, flawless review Mel! You picked up exactly what this book was about and what I loved about it when I read it back when I was a teen (hehe). I’m glad you found this classical and could relate to it.
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton: Weird and wonderfulMy Profile

  9. Siiri says:

    I’m glad that you found the MC to be so real and relatable. She reminds me a lot of Lola from Lola and the Boy Next Door so I can totally see the appeal factor in Josephine. I’m so happy that you enjoyed this lovely novel and I hope that you’ll love Marchetta’s other novels just as much. Great review, Mel!
    Siiri recently posted…Review: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. SmithMy Profile

  10. Okay, why, oh why, have I never heard of this book before?! 0_0 I’m so ashamed! Great review, Melanie! I think I’ll need to check her books out asap.
    Lisa @ Lost in Literature recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday: Famous Last Words by Katie Alender & City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra ClareMy Profile

  11. I need a good swift kick in the arse. I still have not read anything by this author. I know I know. I have the Froi of Exiles series scheduled for summer so I will get it done, I must add this one. I haven’t even seen it before.
    Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings recently posted…Review: The Naughty Girls Book Club by Sophie HartMy Profile

  12. I’m so glad you read this, Mel! It’s not my favourite Marchetta book, but I still think it’s brilliant. The relationships was definitely a highlight for me too. Also, I’ve never seen this cover before! I’m guessing it’s a new edition and I really want it now. 😀 Brilliant review!
    Sam @ Realm of Fiction recently posted…Review: Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. JensenMy Profile

  13. Pili says:

    It sounds great and it seems that is a contemporary that I ought to read!
    Thanks for a great review!
    Pili recently posted…Waiting On Wednesday #37!!My Profile

  14. I agree completely, Melanie. I just LOVE Marchetta’s prose and though this isn’t her best work – by far – it’s still heart-warming and utterly striking. I adore Marchetta’s characterizations – they really are, as you’ve said, just so REAL. Lovely review, dear! 🙂
    Keertana @ Ivy Book Bindings recently posted…Review: The Winter Sea by Susanna KearsleyMy Profile

  15. Great review! I haven’t read anything by this author either, but I think I own at least one of her books…she sounds perfect for me, as does this book.
    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…Tune in Tuesday with The BeatlesMy Profile

  16. Aww Josie sounds like a wonderful character and I feel like the complexity of her character is one of the bet features in this book. The cover for this one is so minimalistic and beautiful, though! <33
    Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain recently posted…Split Second by Kasie WestMy Profile

  17. Chantelle says:

    Gah! I really need to reread this, your review just teased me with all the good memories I have of it. Then I’d need to reread the rest of her contemporaries, because how does one simply stop at one, right haha Great review 🙂
    Chantelle recently posted…How to get into the mood… for the DIVERGENT movie!My Profile

  18. Melliane says:

    oh it sounds nice and well I’m glad you had a great book, because it was sad to see all the others. The cover is also really cute. realized that I wasn’t following you on bloglovin, so I’m now.
    Melliane recently posted…Crimson Veil by Yasmine GalenornMy Profile

  19. Oooo I really like the sound of this! I’m really curious to see that father daughter dynamic and I’m glad Josie is a character to love 🙂 Adding it to my TBR now!
    Angel (Spare Reads) recently posted…Review: Splintered (Splintered, #1)My Profile

  20. Okay, I want this now! I actually own her book Finnikin of the Rock, but I haven’t read it yet (smacks my own head). And it’s true, most of the reviews I’ve seen about this book is almost the same as yours. Brilliant review, Mel!
    Dre @ Sporadic Reads recently posted…Review 156 : After Life Lessons by Laila Blake, L.C. SpoeringMy Profile

  21. Lily B says:

    never heard of this one, but it sounds like a nice read!
    Lily B recently posted…ARC Review: Darkest Flame: Part 2 (Dark Kings) by Donna GrantMy Profile

  22. Henrietta says:

    I have to admit, I haven’t read anything by Marchetta yet – I own quite a few of her books (including this one) but because they aren’t on my urgent-read list, I haven’t gotten around reading them. Awww… isn’t it wonderful that this is also your mom’s favorite? I haven’t read many books with a good father-daughter dynamic, so I’ll definitely have to read this. Thanks for sharing, Mel!
    Henrietta recently posted…A World Without Princes – Soman ChainaniMy Profile

  23. You wanna know something scandalous? I like this Marchetta book best of all the books I’ve read. I know people rave and rave about her, but I actually have pretty mixed feelings about most of them. I do like this one a lot, though, as well as The Piper’s Son, and…another one that I can’t remember. Definitely in the minority Marchetta-wise.
    Wendy Darling recently posted…Tour Stop: A Photographic Tour of She Is Not InvisibleMy Profile

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