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Looking for Alibrandi.

By: Marchetta, Melina, 1965-.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: Camberwell, Vic. : Penguin Books Australia, 2000ISBN: 0-14-029350-7; 9780140360462.Subject(s): Premiers' Reading Challenge : 9-10
List(s) this item appears in: Read Up Fiction notes: Click to open in new window
Item type Current location Collection Call number Status Date due Barcode Item reserves
Junior St Albans Library (DIY)
Teenage Fiction T MARC Issued 14/09/2019 IA2019218
Junior Deer Park Library
Teenage Fiction T MARC Issued 18/09/2019 IA2019219
Total reserves: 1

Excerpt provided by Syndetics

Panic was my first reaction to the multiple choice options that lay on my desk in front of me. I glanced at the students around me before turning back to question three. I hated multiple choice. Yet I didn't want to get question three wrong. I didn't want to get any of them wrong. The outcome would be too devastating for my sense of being. So I began with elimination. D was completely out of the question, as was A, so that left B and C. I pondered both for quite a while, and just as I was about to make my final decision I heard my name being called. "Josephine?" "Huh?" "I think you mean 'I beg your pardon,' don't you, dear?" "I beg your pardon, Sister." "What are you doing? You're reading, aren't you, young lady?" "Um . . . yeah." " 'Um, yeah?' Excellent, Josephine. I can see you walking away with the English prize this year. Now stand up ." So my final school year began. I had promised myself that I would be a saint for this year alone. I would make the greatest impression on my teachers and become the model student. I knew it would all fail. But just not on the first day. Sister Gregory walked toward me, and when she was so close that I could see her mustache, she held out her hand. "Show me what you're reading." I handed it to her and watched her mouth purse itself together and her nostrils flare in triumph because she knew she was going to get me. She skimmed it and then handed it back to me. I could feel my heart beating fast. "Read from where you were up to." I picked up the magazine and cleared my throat. " 'What kind of a friend are you?' " I read from Hot Pants magazine. She looked at me pointedly. " 'You are at a party,' " I began with a sigh, " 'and your best friend's good-looking, wealthy and successful boyfriend tries to make a pass. Do you: A--Smile obligingly and steal away into the night via the back door; B--Throw your cocktail all over his Country Road suit; C--Quietly explain the loyalty you have toward your friend; D--Tell your friend instantly, knowing that she will make a scene.' " You can understand, now, why I found it hard to pick between B and C. "May I ask what this magazine has to do with my religion class, Miss?" "Religion?" "Yes, dear," she continued in her sickeningly sarcastic tone. "The one we are in now." "Well . . . quite a lot, Sister." I heard snickers around me as I tried to make up as much as I could along the way. Religion class, first period Monday morning, is the place to try to pull the wool over the eyes of Sister Gregory. (She kept her male saint's name although the custom went out years ago. She probably thinks it will get her into heaven. I don't think she realizes that feminism has hit religion and that the female saints in heaven are probably also in revolt.) "Would you like to explain yourself, Josephine?" I looked around the classroom, watching everyone shrugging almost sympathetically. They thought I was beaten. "We were talking about the Bible, right?" "I personally think that you don't know what we've been talking about, Josephine. I think you're trying to fool me." The nostrils flared again. Sister Gregory is famous for nostril-flaring. Once I commented to someone that she must have been a horse in another life. She overheard and scolded me, saying that, as a Catholic, I shouldn't believe in reincarnation. "Fool you, Sister? Oh, no. It's just that while you were speaking I remembered the magazine. You were talking about today's influences that affect our Christian lives, right?" Anna, one of my best friends, turned to face me and nodded slightly. "And?" "Well, Sister, this magazine is a common example," I said, picking it up and showing everyone. "It's full of rubbish. It's full of questionnaires that insult our intelligence. Do you think they have articles titled 'Are you a good Christian?' or 'Do you love your neighbor?' No. They have articles titled 'Do you love your sex life?' knowing quite well that the average age of the reader is fourteen. Or 'Does size count?' and let me assure you, Sister, they are not referring to his height. "I brought this magazine in today, Sister, to speak to everyone about how insulted we are as teenagers and how important it is that we think for ourselves and not through magazines that exploit us under the guise of educating us." Sera, another friend of mine, poked her fingers down her mouth as if she was going to vomit. Sister and I stared at each other for a long time before she held out her hand again. I passed the magazine to her knowing she hadn't been fooled. "You can pick it up from Sister Louise," she said, referring to the principal. The bell rang and I packed my books quickly, wanting to escape her icy look. "You're full of it," Sera said as we walked out. "And you owe me a magazine." I threw my books into my locker and ignored everyone's sarcasm. "Well, what was it?" Lee grinned. "A, B, C or D?" "I would have gone with him," Sera said, spraying half a can of hair spray around her gelled hair. "Sera, if they jailed people for ruining the ozone layer, you'd get life," I told her, turning back to Lee. "I was going to go for the cocktail on the Country Road suit." The second bell for our next class rang, and with a sigh I made another pledge to myself that I would be a saint. On the whole I make plenty of pledges that I don't keep. My name, by the way, is Josephine Alibrandi and I turned seventeen a few months ago. (The seventeen that Janis Ian sang about where one learns the truth.) I'm in my last year of high school at St. Martha's, which is situated in the eastern suburbs, and next year I plan to study law. For the last five years we have been geared for this year. The year of the HSC (the High School Certificate), where one's whole future can skyrocket or go down the toilet, or so they tell us. From the Paperback edition. Excerpted from Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Publishers Weekly Review

"Although this involving novel is set in the author's native Australia, American readers will feel right at home, thanks to the charismatic, outspoken 17-year-old narrator," said PW. Ages 12-up. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 9-12-Melina Marchetta's novel (Orchard, 1999) is an insightful portrait of an intense yet humorous young person. Though illegitimate, the 17-year-old Australian protagonist, Josephine Alibrandi, is a universally recognizable teen wrestling with many of the same worries that assail all high school students. Josie copes with the usual concerns about boys, friends, and where she fits in as a scholarship student at a Catholic school in a Sydney suburb. At the same time that she is trying to sort out complex relationships with her tradition-bound grandmother and her warm, no-nonsense mother, she is confronting her long-absent father. This is a deftly crafted story, and the characters have the ring of reality in their dialogue and actions. Marcella Russo's narration is equally fine, with each character distinctive. She conveys a special piquancy in the accented speech of the immigrant grandmother. Chapter and cassette breaks are underscored with light, jazzy music. This audiobook is a solid selection for any young adult literature list, and a must buy for libraries where teens borrow audiobooks.-Barbara Wysocki, Cora J. Belden Library. Rocky Hill, CT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Booklist Review

Gr. 8^-10. Even though she was born in Sydney and has lived there all her life, Josie Alibrandi is torn between her Italian heritage and her desire to be considered an Aussie. Nor does she feel part of the core community at St. Margaret's School, which she attends as a scholarship student. There may not seem much joy in the life of this teen who is hassled by her tyrannical grandmother as well as the socially prominent types at school. The prejudice both within her extended family and the Italian Australian community against her unwed mother angers Josie. Then her long-absent father appears on the scene, and a series of developments unfolds that helps her navigate through family secrets, boyfriend and girlfriend relationships, mother-daughter battles, career opportunities, and school realities. It's not that Dad is her savior or that Josie would not have triumphed without him, it's just that he almost inadvertently helps her see herself in new ways. What emerges from this delightful first-person narrative is a strong, fresh, adolescent female voice; Josie's character and coming-of-age will hold and stay with the reader. Lively, well-drawn characters and realistic teen concerns and situations should bridge the continental gap for American readers. --Anne O'Malley

Horn Book Review

Josephine Alibrandi knows well that appearances, and public perceptions, can be deceiving. This point is cleverly illustrated by the novel's opening scene, in which Josephine panics over a multiple-choice question. The reader immediately senses the dilemma of a serious yet struggling student-until Sister Gregory appears at Josie's desk and confiscates the Hot Pants magazine friendship quiz. Josie is, in fact, an excellent student, but despite her academic standing and solid group of friends, she still sees herself as an outsider. Raised in a traditional Italian community on the outskirts of Sydney, Josie is bound by rules of behavior that her ""Aussie"" friends and classmates can't possibly understand. In both communities, she has also had to endure whisperings-and worse-about the circumstances of her birth, and Josie has never wanted to know the man who left her mother alone seventeen years earlier. Until, of course, he reappears. After some initial sniping, Josie and her father develop a refreshingly real friend-ship based on their many common traits, including their well-matched stubborn streaks. Josie's fiery spirit brings on inevitable clashes with her new boyfriend as well, but also helps her survive the death of a close friend. This is a quintessential girl book, and adolescent readers will relish the friendships, rival-ries, and romance-as well as the thrilling bits of rebellion (Josie and her friends cut school to chase down a rock star and have the horrible luck of being caught on a TV camera). Josie is a passionate young woman whose high ideals and love for life cannot help but infect those around her, just as they are sure to affect the reader. This U.S. edition of an Australian novel admirably retains many Australian terms and phrases, allowing both characters and setting to retain their distinct personalities-and giving due credit to its young adult audience. l.a. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Book Review

In this Australian import, Marchetta gets the voice of teenage angst just right in a hormone saturated coming-of-age story. Josephine Alibrandi, 17 and of Italian descent, is torn between her traditional upbringing, embodied by both her immigrant grandmother and her overprotective mother, and the norms of teenage society. A scholarship student at an esteemed Catholic girls' school, she struggles with feelings of inferiority not only because she's poorer than the other students and an ``ethnic,'' but because her mother never married. These feelings are intensified when her father, whom she's just met, enters and gradually becomes part of her life. As Josephine struggles to weave the disparate strands of her character into a cohesive tapestry of self, she discovers some unsavory family secrets, falls in love for the first time, copes with a friend's suicide, and goes from being a follower to a leader. Although somewhat repetitive and overlong, this is a tender, convincing portrayal of a girl's bumpy ride through late adolescence. Some of the Australian expressions may be unfamiliar to US readers, but the emotions translate perfectly. (Fiction. 13-15)

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