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Looking for Alibrandi

By Melina Marchetta

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Format: Paperback, 313 pages
Published In: USA, 26 May 2007

Product Description:

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 lifeAher single mother, her grandmother and even some of the nunsAwith 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.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Melina Marchetta lives in Sydney, Australia, where she is a teacher. She is also the author of Printz-winning Jellicoe Road, as well as Saving Francesca and Finnikin of the Rock.


Gr 8 Up-Marchetta tackles a lot of difficult issues in this first novel. Her protagonist, a senior at a Catholic girls' school in Australia, is an illegitimate child who meets her father for the first time about 35 pages into the book. By the story's end, the two have established a framework for a continuing relationship. Josephine is also working through some romantic feelings. For several years she has had a crush on the imminently respectable and wonderfully sensitive John, but becomes involved with Jacob, who is more rough and uninhibited. Class strictures, religious and ethnic differences, and the pressure of familial expectations come into play as Jacob pressures Josephine for sex, John commits suicide, and Josephine reassesses her rigid, judgmental grandmother in light of the discoveries she has made about the woman's past. Though Josephine's voice is not quite consistent-generally colloquial, but occasionally almost schoolmarmish-her personality is quite disarming. She's intelligent and outspoken to the point of brazenness. She's also passionately loyal to her mother; thoughtful about Australian society; and capable of understanding, forgiving, and appreciating a wide range of human behavior. Marchetta's strength is in her creation of so many multifaceted characters and her credible depiction of their interactions. This is an impressive debut.-Miriam Lang Budin, Mt. Kisco Public Library, NY Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

EAN: 9780375836947
ISBN: 0375836942
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Dimensions: 20.07 x 12.95 x 2.03 centimeters (0.34 kg)
Age Range: 10-14 years
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6 review(s)
All Reviews
Kay Loveday on
Great entertaining book. Melina Marchetta is an amazingly talented writer of very descriptive stories.
Armando Neris on
had the pleasure of taking a little jaunt down to Australia this past summer, and one night found myself at the movies to see "looking for alibrandi." I absolutly loved the film, and the next day went and bought the book. From there I decided on the soundtrack, which consists of all aussie bands. The songs relfect the mood of the film perfectly, one of the standouts having to be Lo-Tel's "Teenager of the Year." This is one of those albums that you can listen to from beginning to end. It has a great mix of awesome aussie bands, including Magic Dirt, Killing Heidi and Frenzal Rhomb. Go and get it!
Fiona Dean on
Josephine Alibrandi has found her father - sort of. for as long as she can remember it's been just her mother and her, but suddenly Michael has stepped into her life and it feels...strange.
Also, there's jacob, who josie really likes, and who likes her back.
And, if this wasn't enough, the vain grandmother who Josie has a love/hate relationship with is hiding something. Something big...
An unforgettable book.
Jennifer Chen on
This is one of the greatest australian books ever written. it is unbelievavly funny, featuring the sparking josephine alibrandi, an italian girl whose single mother is shunned because she had a child out of wedlock (but what can you expect, when catholicism frowns upon contraception?) Five stars, and more!
Heather Gifford on
this is a really good read, so good in fact that it got made into a hit movie! to fully understand the movie, you should first read this great read. it seemed typically australian to me, but that didnt make it any less of a book, and i was still compelled to read this. great read for any teen girl, i would recomend it!
Samantha Brownlie on
The problem I had with this book was that I truly *couldn't* care about the main character or what happened to her. I found 'Looking for Alibrandi' to be full of teenage angst without any real reason for its existence - and, because I couldn't see any reason for its existence (and didn't like the main character at all), I didn't derive much enjoyment for muscling my way through it.

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