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Looking For Alibrandi: Library Edition

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Item description for Looking For Alibrandi: Library Edition by Marcella Russo Melina Marchetta...

For as long as Josephine Alibrandi can remember, it's just been her, her mom, and her grandmother. Now it's her final year at a wealthy Catholic high school. The nuns couldn't be any stricter---but that doesn't seem to stop all kinds of men from coming into her life.

Caught between the old-world values of her Italian grandmother, the nononsense wisdom of her mom, and the boys who continue to mystify her, Josephine is on the ride of her life. This will be the year she falls in love, the year she discovers the secrets of her family's past---and the year she sets herself free.

Told with unmatched depth and humor, this novel---which swept the pool of Australian literary awards and became a major motion picture---is one to laugh through and cry with, to cherish and remember.

Outline Review
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

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Item Specifications...

Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 6.61" Width: 6.38" Height: 1.18"
Weight:   0.4 lbs.
Binding  MP3 CD
Release Date   Nov 30, 2007
Publisher   Bolinda Publishing
ISBN  1921334444  
ISBN13  9781921334443  

Availability  0 units.

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Reviews - What do customers think about Looking For Alibrandi: Library Edition?

excellent novel about family and the immigrant experience  Sep 14, 2008
Melina Marchetta is Australian. According to the backflap copy for this book, she lives in Sydney where she teaches English at an all-boys high school. After the 1992 debut of her first novel Marchetta found herself in an interesting position. Looking for Alibrandi won every major literary award for young adult literature in Australia so that Marchetta subsequently had to teach her own book to her students. All told, not a bad problem to have.

Ten years later Saving Francesca came out and also garnered a lot of praise and awards (as well as regularly being in my Top Five). In short, Melina Marchetta is a pretty big deal. I enjoy her books because they feel like her characters are living lives that I might have had were things different.

Apparently, and I'm embarassed to say I only found this out yesterday, Looking for Alibrandi was also adapted into a movie in Australia in 2000 with Marchetta writing the screenplay. I wish I could find the DVD.

Set in Australia, this novel deals with a sub-community that I didn't even know Australia had: Italians. Narrator, Josie, comes from an Italian family that immigrated to Australia. At a Catholic school she doesn't like, surrounded by people who don't understand the Italian part of her culture, seventeen-year-old Josie feels adrift.

Josie has a lot of women in her life. She lives with her mother and (much to her frustration) spends afternoons with her grandmother until her mom can pick her up. Josie's father isn't a part of the picture. He never has been. And what I like about this novel, is that it isn't a big deal-it's just life. No complex explanation, no pang of longing for the father she never met, he's just no around.

Or is he?

Things get more complicated for Josie and her mom when Josie's long-absent father suddenly reappears. After living without him for so long, Josie isn't sure he's worth her time now. In this thread of the novel, Marchetta does an excellent job exploring how Josie can acquaint herself with one of the people she should know better than anyone else.

Amidst this family confusion, Josie finds herself caught between two very different young men. Josie has always been attracted to John Barton, and with good reason. His life seems to have been handed to him on a silver platter. From a rich family, bound for law school, and good-looking, John seems to have everything going for him. Still, as John finally notices Josie and open up to her, Josie is shocked to find that John isn't nearly as content as she would have guessed.

Jacob Coote, on the other hand, is completely comfortable in his own skin. From a working class family, Jacob is confident about his own bright future (and his ability to get there by sheer force of will). Drawn to Jacob's radical ideas and striking personality, it's hard to tell if Josie and Jacob are perfect for each other or too similar to ever really last.

Looking for Alibrandi is a novel with many facets and many plots. All of the characters are dimensional, adding their own stories to the larger narrative of the novel. In addition to an excellent dissection of family relations, Looking for Alibrandi is one of the best novels about the immigrant experience I have ever read. Yes, Josie is probably third generation if not later, and true these characters are immigrants to Australia and not the USA. Still, the novel offers admirable commentary to anyone interested in immigration (and assimilation) in America and elsewhere.
Jozzie  Sep 12, 2008
I'm not one for re-reading books, unless they are something really really special.
My sister got me to read this book 6 years ago, by thrusting it into my hand while sporting a football shirt with Alibrandi splashed across the back.
I loved it then and love it now.
I was pregnant with Josiah at the time, and we were deciding on names. Josephine's grandmother calling her Jozzie clinched it for me, and our son has been Jozzie ever since.
Recently I felt compelled to revisit this book, and was as touched as the first time.
Funny, hilarious, informative, heartwrenching, recognisable and compellingly written.
Now I must watch the film, it's on my shelf ready!
Highly Recommended!  Jun 5, 2008
Looking for Alibrandi is a wonderful novel and hard to find anything bad to say about. In fact, the only negative aspect was that the book began a little slow. While the book started slow in terms of plot action, it was still entertaining because of the characters.

Josephine is such a relatable, loveable character. Anyone who is a teenager, or remembers their teenage self, will get her. I cannot recall a better characterization of what it is like being a teenager and figuring out yourself and the world. The plot may be your regular run-of-the-mill coming-of-age novel, but Josephine makes it so much more because her character is strong and real.

After the initial slow start, the novel flies by. I was sad to see it end and would like to have read more. It is a bittersweet moment because there isn't any more book to read but I know it was a great novel when I am not satisfied that it has ended so soon.
Wow.  Apr 12, 2008
This book is a testament for those people who admit that there are no unique premises anymore, only unique ways of telling them. Coming-of-age stories are tough because they can be a rather indistinguishable group with only the author's voice as the discriminant. Thank God Melina Marchetta's got one hell of a voice in this novel.

I'll admit that when I started reading this story, I thought it would be one of those formulaic, nothing-special tales about an obnoxious girl who goes to school, is in the middle of a family feud with her foul-tempered relatives, and through a series of unlikely events, falls "in love" with some bland boy whose only attribute is his good-looks. The beginning chapter, where you get to see a firsthand example of Josephine's cheekiness, didn't help in deterring my theory. But then... well, as they say, then it's all history. I got engrossed in the story. Josephine Alibrandi is sassy and sometimes too spoiled for her own good, but she's a fun character to read about. You find yourself laughing at her thoughts (not because they are petty but because they are truly funny) and you find that you can relate to her. This is especially true in the parts where you see her friends and the two boys who're special to her.

The part I liked best of this story, though, was the family aspect of it. Josephine's family is from Sicily and their culture shines through in many ways. I was amazed by the "family secrets" subplot, which was very cleverly crafted and contributed to the depth of this book in many ways. The relationships in the family are tested and we get to see what lies underneath the surface, what makes the family members the way they are, and what put everyone in the less-than-perfect predicament they're in when the novel begins.

In short: Melina Marchetta has written an unforgettable story with touching characters, a tight plot, and great wit. This is an all-time must-read and if you haven't read it yet, you're missing out big time.
Italian and Australian Cultures  Jul 4, 2007
Josephine has always felt like something of an outsider. She is a member of an Italian family but they are living in Australia, where many people give them a hard time. She also feels like she doesn't quite belong with the Italians, though. Her mother was an unmarried teenager when she had Josephine, and that made both of their lives difficult. Her mother never told who the father of her baby was and she was therefore disowned by her parents. Only after the death of Josephine's grandfather did they rejoin the family, and relations between Josephine's mother and grandmother are still strained.

Now Josephine is seventeen and in her last year of high school, and things are becoming even more confusing in her life. First of all, she is torn between two different guys she likes--one who seems perfect for her, cultured and suave and gentlemanly. The other is rough around the edges but she can't help being attracted to him anyway.

To make things even more complex, the father Josephine never knew is suddenly back in town and she can't seem to decide how she feels about him. She thought she'd never want to speak to him after what he did to her mother, but now that he is here she realizes she's missed having a father for all of these years.

I liked the love triangle Josephine found herself in. I also liked that this book gave me a look into what life would be like for a teenager living somewhere other than the United States. Some things were very similar, while others were surprisingly different.

I thought that Josephine's character was often over the top, especially when she was fighting with her mother or grandmother. She was more irrational than she should have been. I also thought that Josephine's relationship with her father was too smooth.

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