Publisher: Penguin Australia
Release Date: March 26, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Drama, YA
Source: Received in exchange for review
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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!~
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