No. 6 – Most Popular Aussie Novels of All Time

We surveyed our customers to discover the Most Popular Aussie Novels of all time – we’re counting down the Top 24 Novels between now and Christmas Eve…

At #6 – Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta

35.9% of all respondents have read this book

Synopsis for Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta

Josephine Alibrandi is a third generation Italian Australian completing her last year of high school. She is the School Vice-Captain of St Martha’s in Sydney. Josie learns to overcome the narrow minded social and racial bigotry of people like Ivy Lloyd (Poison Ivy) and Carly Bishop. Josie reacts angrily to derogatory terms like wog and ethnic. She ultimately learns to have pride in her heritage and by the end of the novel is proud to say I’m Australian with Italian blood flowing rapidly through my veins.

The absence of her father for Josie’s first sixteen years means she has been heavily influenced by two powerful and strong women: her mother Christina and her grandmother Katia (Nonna). Josie unravels Nonna’s deepest secret, which is the adultery she committed with her Australian lover, Marcus Sandford. Josephine’s father, Michael Andretti, visits and despite Josie’s initial anger at his presence, he becomes extremely close to her and her to him.

Friends such as Sera, Anna and Lee influence Josie’s choices throughout her last year. A greater influence comes from her boyfriend Jacob Coote, and her crush, John Barton, whose suicide has a great emotional impact on her.

The story is Josephine’s reflection in her final year at high school and the narrative style is first person.

Looking for Alibrandi is a novel written for ages between 12 and above, it reveals a great understanding of what life is about. Josephine realises by the end of the novel what life has in place for her future, and what she does and doesn’t take for granted.

Source: Wikipedia

About Melina Marchetta (Books by Melina Marchetta…)

Melina Marchetta was born in Sydney on March 25, 1965. She is of Italian descent. Melina attended high school at Rosebank College in the Sydney suburb of Five Dock. She left school at age fifteen as she was not confident in her academic ability. She then enrolled in a business school where she gained useful office skills, such as typing, which helped her gain employment with The Commonwealth Bank of Australia and later at a travel agency where she worked as a consultant. This work gave her confidence to return to school and gain a teaching degree. She then got a job teaching at St Mary’s Cathedral College, Sydney in the heart of the Sydney CBD until 2006. She now writes full time.

Her first novel Looking for Alibrandi was released in 1992 to much acclaim with a first print-run sellout within two months of its release. Published in 14 countries, including 11 translated editions, Looking for Alibrandi swept the pool of literary awards for young adult fiction in 1993 including the coveted Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year Award (Older Readers). Dubbed “the most stolen library book” the popular novel has sold more than half a million copies worldwide and was followed by her film adaptation of the same title released in 2000.

While writing the AFI award-winning screenplay Melina taught English and History full time for ten years at a city high school for boys. During that time she released her second novel Saving Francesca in 2003, followed by On the Jellicoe Road in 2006. Both novels have been published in more than 6 countries, with Saving Francesca translated into 4 languages. On the Jellicoe Road was recently awarded the prestigious 2009 US Michael Printz Award for excellence in young adult literature.

Melina’s fourth novel, the fantasy epic Finnikin of the Rock, was released by Penguin Australia in October 2008. It has since won the 2008 Aurelius Award for Best Young Adult Novel and the 2009 ABIA (Australian Booksellers Industry Awards) Book of the Year for Older Children, and was recently shortlisted for the 2009 Children’s Book Council of the Year (Older Readers) Award. In the USA Finnikin has received starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, School Library Journal, Booklist and Bulletin Centre for Children’s Books.

Her fifth novel The Piper’s Son was released earlier this year.

The List so far…

#6 – Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta

#7 – Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden

#8 – I Can Jump Puddles by Alan Marshall

#9 – Playing Beatie Bow by Ruth Park

#10 – A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute

#11 – Puberty Blues by Kathy Lette and Gabrielle Carey

#12 – A Fortunate Life by A.B. Facey

#13 – Cloudstreet by Tim Winton

#14 – Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner

#15 – April Fool’s Day by Bryce Courtenay

#16 – The Harp in the South by Ruth Park

#17 – My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin

#18 – Jessica by Bryce Courtenay

#19 – My Place by Sally Morgan

#20 – For the Term of His Natural Life by Marcus Clarke

#21 – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

#22 – Dirt Music by Tim Winton

#23 – Breath by Tim Winton

#24 – So Much to Tell You by John Marsden

Published by

Clayton Wehner

Clayton is the founder and managing director of Boomerang Books. In a past life, Clayton worked for 12 years as an intelligence officer in the Australian Army and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He is a graduate of the Australian Defence Force Academy and the Royal Military College Duntroon and holds a BA (Hons) in Political Science and a Master of Management Studies (Human Resource Management) from the UNSW. He is also a trained Indonesian linguist and served with the United Nations in East Timor as an interpreter/translator.