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Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta
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Looking for Alibrandi (1992)

by Melina Marchetta

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I received this gorgeous hardcover edition of Looking For Alibrandi from Random House last year, as part of their National Book Bloggers Forum (NBBF14) and finally got around to reading it last month.

For those who don't know, Looking For Alibrandi was written by Australian author Melina Marchetta and published in the early 1990s.

Based in Sydney, it's essentially a YA coming of age novel focussing on teenager Josephine (Josie) Alibrandi as she attends a Catholic school on scholarship, falls in love, argues with her mother and grandmother, meets her father and decides her future.

Considered a modern Australian classic, I enjoyed Josie's sense of humour and Marchetta's ability to capture the character of an Italian nonna so very well.

I'd recommend Looking For Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta for YA readers of either gender. ( )
  Carpe_Librum | May 22, 2015 |
Looking for Alibrandi takes me to a part of Australia I didn’t know existed and includes characters I never suspected were part of Australian life. Josephine Alibrandi has never known her father, and the lack of a father is a major problem in her Italian family. Just being from an Italian heritage sets Josephine up for scorn from her solidly Australian friends, and not having a father sets Josephine up for scorn from both her Australian friends and her Italian family.

And then her father comes back into her life.

Josephine is a wonderfully real teen, full of both worries and courage, as she unexpectedly comes to connect with both her dad and other teens. ( )
  debnance | May 10, 2015 |
I can't really say I 'liked' or 'enjoyed' this book. Mainly because I didn't like or identify with or empathize with the characters. But gosh I learned about a lot about what it means to feel bound by one's culture and class. And that is something I've always wondered about, because my basic 'rule' is simply 'be kind.' None of these people were kind. Most were at least slightly insane... because they felt like they had choose abuse over love, god over offspring, etc.

But I did have to work for that understanding, even. The reason I persisted is because I've enjoyed other works by the author - but as other reviewers have said, this is her debut, and it is a bit clumsy compared to her later works. If a reader can identify with, empathize with, the characters, s/he'll probably give it five stars, because it is, after all, a wonderful book. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
It was a long time ago that I was a teenager but reading this book brings it all back to me. The wild mood swings, the fights with your parents, the worrying about what to be when you grow up. I would never want to be a teenager again but it is kind of fun to read about it.

Josephine Alibrandi is 17 and she makes a reference to At Seventeen by Janis Ian which could be an anthem for the book. She is in the final year of high school at a private Catholic school in Sydney, Australia. She is bright and funny and opinionated and thinks she will never fit in or fall in love. She has been called a wog and a bastard and these names wound her deeply. As the final year of high school progresses she learns a great deal about herself and her family and love and friendship.

At times I was fed up with Josie's fixation on her ethnicity but I guess I can't know what it is like to be called names based upon my heritage. I am a WASP through and through and, quite frankly, I wish I could claim some more interesting heritage. You always want what you don't have, don't you.

The book was written in the 1990's so I wonder if a new generation has transcended the ethnic barriers or if there are still cultural divides in Australia. I have certainly noticed a difference in Canada with people of aboriginal heritage since then. When I was growing up and even into the 80s and 90s people very seldom mentioned if they had aboriginal blood because they would be (had been) treated badly probably. Now people are proud to proclaim this. ( )
  gypsysmom | Feb 1, 2015 |
My first book by this author, and I am not disappointed.

Review to come. ( )
  Summer_Missfictional | May 23, 2014 |
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To Mummy and Daddy
Marisa and Daniela -
Life is good because of you
Also for my grandparents
Salvatore, Carmela and Maria
In memory of
Giovanni Marchetta, 1910-1991
Nonno, when are we ever going to
stop missing you?
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375836942, Paperback)

Seventeen-year-old Josephine Alibrandi is no stranger to conflict. If she's not caught between her strict single mom and her even stricter grandmother, then she's trying to choose between wealthy good boy John Barton and working-class bad boy Joseph Coote. Josephine is always in trouble with the nuns at her Catholic school (who everyone calls "penguins because of them wearing wimples and all that Sound of Music gear") because she fights with native Australian kids over her mixed Australian/Italian heritage. Just when she thinks her situation couldn't possibly get more complicated, her mysterious, long-lost biological father comes back and Josephine must decide if it's worth getting to know this person who abandoned her and her mother. But through it all--including a startling revelation from her grandmother and the suicide of a close friend--Josephine manages to hold on to her sense of humor, as in this reflective moment: "I could have been a model for Hot Pants. Except that when I finally put my glasses on, reality set in. Hot Pants would have to wait."

Award-winning Australian author Melina Marchetta has created a strong and sassy role model in Josephine, whom girls with growing pains on both sides of the Pacific will love. With its accurate and insightful portrayal of a young woman's coming of age, Looking for Alibrandi will have female teens waiting eagerly for Marchetta's next novel. (Ages 12 and older) --Jennifer Hubert

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:01 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

During her senior year in a Catholic school in Sydney, Australia, seventeen-year-old Josie meets and must contend with the father she has never known.

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