Looking for Alibrandi: Australian Children's Classics

Looking for Alibrandi: Australian Children's Classics 4

by Melina Marchetta

Paperback / softback Publication Date: 05/10/1992

5/5 Rating 4 Reviews
RRP  $19.99 $16.50

Melina Marchetta's stunning debut novel Looking for Alibrandi is one girl's story of her final year at school, a year she sets herself free.

Josephine Alibrandi is seventeen and in her final year at a wealthy girls' school. This is the year she meets her father, the year she falls in love, the year she searches for Alibrandi and finds the real truth about her family - and the identity she has been searching for. A moving and revealing book, unusual for its honesty and its insight into the life of a young person on the brink of adulthood.

Multi-award-winning, a bestseller and made into an award-winning feature film, Looking for Alibrandi has become a modern classic.

Contemporary fiction
Paperback / softback
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Melina Marchetta

Melina Marchetta is one of Australia's most successful writers of young-adult fiction and is a best-selling and critically acclaimed author in more than twenty countries and in eighteen languages.

In 2009 Marchetta won the prestigious Michael L. Printz Award from the American Library Association for On the Jellicoe Road, and Melina's screenplay for this book is currently set to be made into a major film with an international cast to be directed by Looking for Alibrandi director Kate Woods. Melina has written for ABC-TV's Dance Academy. Finnikin of the Rock, Book One of the Lumatere Chronicles,was first published in Australia in 2008, followed in 2010 by the companion novel to her award-winning book Saving Francesca, The Piper's Son, long-listed for the Miles Franklin Award and short-listed for many other literary awards in Australia and internationally.

Melina is also the author of The Gorgon in the Gully, which takes up the story of On the Jellicoe Road's Jonah Griggs's family, and stars his younger brother Danny in this story for younger readers. Book Two in the Lumatere Chronicles, Froi of the Exiles, was published in 2011, and Book Three, Quintana of Charyn, was published in 2012. 2012 also marked the twenty-year anniversary of Melina Marchetta's first novel Looking for Alibrandi, the much-loved Australian classic, which was made into a major motion picture and has sold more than half a million copies in Australia.

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Customer Reviews

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  • Loved It

    by on

    I was forced to read this back in high school, glad i was, I really enjoyed this book.

  • Loved It

    by on

    I was forced to read this back in high school, glad i was, I really enjoyed this book.

  • Aussie teen-aged angst - funny, poignant, delightful

    by on

    I loved this, and reading it shortly after reading The Getting of Wisdom andBehind the Sun made an interesting contrast.

    Josephine Alibrandi is telling her own story at the age of 18 about her last year of high school, her background, and her pals. She’s an out-of-place wog on scholarship who has a few good friends amid the snobs.

    The Getting of Wisdom is a story told by Laura, describing her early years at a private school, her background, and her pals in the late 1800s. She’s an impoverished girl with patched clothes who doesn’t fit in and has trouble making friends with the private school girls.

    Behind the Sun is a novel told about four 19th century teen-aged, misfits - convict girls who form a loyal alliance in prison and are transported to NSW for various offences. They fight off attacks from the other groups and predators.

    Times may change, but teen-aged girls don’t – or not much, anyway. They love their families but champ at the bit to be free of them, because nobody really understands the pressures they are under. The pressures in all generations are similar – not having enough money for things they want, having trouble fitting in, feeling close to peers but distant and slightly embarrassed by relatives.

    Josie is the illegitimate daughter, “bastarda” of a 17-year old mum and now-absent schoolmate. She is forced to spend a lot of time with Nonna, her mum’s mother who insists on recounting the hardships of her early migrant years and is a source of constant, unwelcome, traditional advice.

    “When I hear Nonna Katia tell me about how life was forty-odd years ago, I find it hard to believe that she was just seventeen, my age now, when she was married and taken halfway across the world. But then again, Mama was just seventeen when she gave birth to me so it makes me realise how young we youth of today really are.

    "Maybe we know more or think we know more, or do a lot more, but we haven’t been through as much. We’d never be able to cope with the pressures our mothers and grandmothers went through.

    "But I wonder about that seventeen-year-old girl back then. I wonder what really happened to her. I wonder what she used to dream about if she ever did dream and how she turned out to be a person I really don’t like. And worst of all I wonder if I’ll turn out to be just like her when I turn sixty-five.”

    The language and dialogue is perfect for the times. Josie goes to the same concerts and school dances my kids did, and she describes her feelings for her family, schoolmates (and rivals), boyfriends and crushes accurately and well.

    Beautifully and realistically written through the eyes of a 17-year-old who screams with joy and sobs with despair. As I said, not much really changes, does it?

    I can see why it’s won awards and is studied in schools. Just tops!

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