Looking For Alibrandi – Melina Marchetta

Looking For Alibrandi is another novel by a favourite young adult author of mine. After having a few quotes from the book run through my head a few times I decided a reread was in order. This novel is told from the perspective of Josie Alibrandi, seventeen and starting her last year at school. Josie has ambitions to become a barrister, if only she can get through the drama of her HSC year. Coming from an Italian background Josie has to negotiate the melodramas of her mother, grandmother and suddenly a father who has thus far, been nonexistent in her life. Plus all that goes along with being a teenage girl, school, boys and friends.


Josie is a fun narrator. She is emotional, dramatic and passionate about her life. There is never a dull moment between her family, friends and boys. You will laugh along with all of the typical teenager moments and fall in love with Josie and all those around her. This books isn’t all young adult teenage fluff though. This novel touches on some serious issues, some may be less relevant in today’s more lax society, but this novel provides great insight into the life of someone straddling two cultures that don’t always understand where the other is coming from. Definitely a common situation in our multicultural society. Not to mention touching on subjects like the parental pressures, illegitimacy, family conflicts and much more. As Josie rides the waves of her last year at school, you fill find yourself riding along with her anticipating what will happen next and will she make it through the year unscathed.


Marchetta provides the reader with not only one strong independent young woman, but two more. Both Josie’s mother and grandmother are strong women who had fought their own battles over the years that the reader slowly learns about, along with Josie over the course of the novel. The other supporting characters, Michael, John, Jacob and Sister Louise, to name a few are all vivid and memorable characters. They give the story life and you end up caring about them all too much by the end of the novel.


This is your standard coming of age novel but with so much more. I would recommend this a standard for all young women during their high school years. There are many lessons to be learned within these pages. It is also a story that can be enjoyed later in life, reminiscing on the days past where you were young and passionate about life itself with big dreams and so much potential. There is also a kickass movie to go along with it. I promise if you watch it U2’s With Or Without You will never be the same for you again. If you haven’t read this already I would definitely recommend picking it up. I give Looking For Alibrandi four of Jacob’s motorbikes.



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