Monthly Archives: December 2014

Book Reviews Reading

Review: Looking For Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta

So stoked I get to add something else with a retro read tag. This was another fabulous library find. A book I’d heard of but never read.

What is it?

Looking For Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta

First published 1992

A contemporary, young adult, coming-of-age novel.

The Back Cover Blurb

Josephine Alibrandi is seventeen, and in her final year of school. Dealing with her mum and the ways of her Nonna are daunting enough as she prepares for her exams. But Josie is about to discover real life gets in the way of her carefully-made plans. She suddenly has to deal with having her father around for the first time in her life, falling in love and uncovering her family’s secret background.

Despite all the turmoil, this is the year Josie discovers that emancipation doesn’t mean escaping from your past. Sometimes you need to face up to who you are in order to set yourself free…

Why should I read it?

The story is fairly straight-forward and follows Josie through her last year of school. But on the way she deals with her sense of identity, her place in the world, love, and family secrets.

Josie is a great narrator, and I enjoyed her chatty style. The book also has a level of reflection about it (which relates nicely to my last post) so though we live those moments with her, I also had the feeling she survived them and realised their importance. She’s also a bit of an unreliable narrator but it’s easy to get sucked in. The choices and actions she makes seem to make perfect sense at the time, but when she reflects on them with the wisdom of hindsight, we can see she was kidding herself.

Looking For Alibrandi is a good, solid read. Well written and engaging. It’s also aged well. I can’t believe it was published 22 years ago. Apart from the lack of cell phones and unusual slang words (which could be a cultureshock rather than a futureshock thing), the book could easily be from 2012 instead of 1992. Teenagers deal with the same stuff in the same ways.

It’s well worth tracking down a copy. And now I want to watch the movie.

Find out more about Melina at