Sometimes you need to face up to who you are in order to set yourself free.
Melina Marchetta is an Australian writer and former teacher. Her first novel, Looking for Alibrandi, was released in 1992 to much acclaim, sweeping the pool of young adult literary awards. Melina has also written short stories including Twelve Minutes as part of a Books Alive anthology, along with reviews and opinion pieces for The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian and The Australian Literary Review. She has been a writer-in-residence around the country, as far north as Thursday Island and as far south as Hobart. Melina now lives in Sydney and writes full-time. Marcella Russo has worked extensively as an actor and singer in theatre, film and radio. Her film work includes The Dreaming, Struck by Lightning, Un Padre Traditionale and The Big Maybe. Marcella is an experienced voice-over artist and has performed in various ABC radio dramas.
Gr 9-12-Melina Marchetta's novel (Orchard, 1999) is an insightful portrait of an intense yet humorous young person. Though illegitimate, the 17-year-old Australian protagonist, Josephine Alibrandi, is a universally recognizable teen wrestling with many of the same worries that assail all high school students. Josie copes with the usual concerns about boys, friends, and where she fits in as a scholarship student at a Catholic school in a Sydney suburb. At the same time that she is trying to sort out complex relationships with her tradition-bound grandmother and her warm, no-nonsense mother, she is confronting her long-absent father. This is a deftly crafted story, and the characters have the ring of reality in their dialogue and actions. Marcella Russo's narration is equally fine, with each character distinctive. She conveys a special piquancy in the accented speech of the immigrant grandmother. Chapter and cassette breaks are underscored with light, jazzy music. This audiobook is a solid selection for any young adult literature list, and a must buy for libraries where teens borrow audiobooks.-Barbara Wysocki, Cora J. Belden Library. Rocky Hill, CT Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
"Although this involving novel is set in the author's native Australia, American readers will feel right at home, thanks to the charismatic, outspoken 17-year-old narrator," said PW. Ages 12-up. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
"A novel to rejoice in, a story from the heart." -- Australian
"This is such a great book!! It's a must read." -- Amazon
"The search for self in adolescence is torturous, comical, clumsy and universal. Australian teen Josephine Alibrandi's pursuit is no exception. She's a brilliant, insightful, under-privileged 17-year-old minority student in a wealthy Catholic high school who also has the significant disadvantage of being illegitimate. Marcella Russo performs Josie's sassy first-person narrative with such dexterity and ease that her character blossoms before us. The listener becomes her closest confidante as she whispers her secrets, groans in despair, crows in triumph, cries in grief, all with enormous authenticity. Of extraordinary note is Russo's adept reading of Josie's Italian Nonna, with her thick accent, sharp edges, deeply held secrets and great passion for Josie." -- AudioFile Magazine