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Looking For Alibrandi [Paperback]

Melina Marchetta
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 1 2002 Puffin Books
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.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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From Amazon

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Although this involving novel is set in the author's native Australia, American readers will feel right at home, thanks to the charismatic, outspoken narrator, 17-year-old Josephine Alibrandi. A scholarship student at a tony Catholic girls' school, Josie is aware that she is different from her affluent "Aussie" classmates: she's illegitimate, and she's closely tied to her Italian immigrant community. She feels periodically rebellious against her classmates' snobbishness, against the nuns' authority at school, against her community's mores. Even so, Josie clearly regards the women in her lifeAher single mother, her grandmother and even some of the nunsAwith affection as well as exasperation. Josie has less experience dealing with guys until senior year, when three members of the opposite sex complicate her world. Her father, who has not previously known of her existence, arrives on the scene unexpectedly, and she can't help feeling drawn to him. She also becomes involved with two boys her own age: the upper-class but desperately unhappy John Barton and the wilder, iconoclastic Jacob Coote. The casting or plot may sound clich?ed, but the characterizations are unusually insightful and persuasive. In articulate, passionate prose, Marchetta weaves the intricate web of Josephine's relationships, juxtaposing her revelations about her family history against current crises (these include John's suicide). If the author loses momentum at the end, straining for tidy closure, she does, simultaneously, leave open new doorways for her heroine. Ages 14-up.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic Read Feb. 18 2004
This book was given to me when I was 16 from one of my Australian relatives, and has become one of my favorite books of all time. Although it's been four years, I still pull it out often to read again. Looking for Alibrandi is a fantastic coming of age book, and for people like me who have a soft spot for this genre, it will make it to the top of your list. The feelings and characters in the book are completely genuine, and the events feel so real that you will alternately be cheering and crying (as clichéd as that sounds!). I would definitely recommend this book to any teenage girl, no matter where they are from.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Looking... and Found a Classic Dec 7 2003
If one reads any of my other book reviews it is not hard to tell that I have a flare for the unusualy, but the novel was one that I enjoyed never-the-less. I think it is so universal because everyone can relate to Joe's problems and situations. We have all have trouble choosing a boyfriend or girlfriend, and we have all had problems with family from time to time. I think the real beauty is how she deals with her father in the novel, something I was touched by and can relate to personally. A must read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read Nov. 13 2003
The story of Josephines emotional journey to adulthood, although not a literary masterpiece, is still a pretty good read. Although it was written over 10 years ago, it is still applicable to today, and holds many, many similarities to the struggles of life at that age. I thouroghly enjoyed the book, and there is definite room for a sequel, which I would definitely read. It also gave me an insight into the cultures of Australian/Italians. Solid, without being brilliant.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Finding Josie Nov. 7 2003
Looking For Alibrandi, by Melina Marchetta, is a novel set in Sydney, Australia about a high school senior named Josephine Alibrandi. She is a confused, rambunctious, carefree, Italian middle-class scholarship student searching for her identity. Although sometimes she is emotionally unstable due to being ridiculed by her peers, she has a good heart and is fun to be with. Her religion and Italian background play major roles in her life. Josie has never had a male influence; her mother became pregnant at age sixteen, and her father´¿s family moved away soon thereafter. Because of her pregnancy without being married, Josie´¿s mother, Christina, is an outcast in her traditional Italian community. Her critical and traditional grandmother makes sure she follows the rules of her community, while her teachers try to keep her out of trouble, although she normally finds herself in it. But Josie´¿s senior year at St. Martha is different. First, her father comes back into her life, and she finds out two nice boys, John Barton, popular and rich, and Jacob Coote, a working rebel, both like her. John Barton becomes one of Josie´¿s good friends, but he has many problems because of all the pressure he is under from his father. Jacob Coote, on the other hand, ends up becoming deeply involved with Josie. Josie has many ups and downs, which makes the story interesting and relative to life. But with the support of her family and friends, she survives all these hardships. She is so grateful to have a loving father by her side, and three wonderful best friends to look up to for help. This year Josie finds herself. She learns more about her background and culture, deals with issues such as boys, stress, suicide, and leaves behind the naivet├ę little girl she once was.
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5.0 out of 5 stars not my usual type of book Sept. 20 2003
I'm an avid reader, in fact, I read so much that my family actually grounds me from reading sometimes (though not very often because I'm not really a trouble-maker). I usually read science-fiction/fantasy type stuff, but my mom was really getting angry with me for never trying anything new that I finally picked this book up at my school library.

I finished it in three hours. I went back, and I read it again. and again. this book was very inspiring to me because Josephine Alibrandi has a lot of the same ideals, and characteristics that I have. I learned a lot from her, and even though I still don't read a lot of books that aren't science-fiction/fantasy, this book remains one of my favorites. I encourage you to pick it up and read it, even if it doesn't look like the kind of thing that would interest you. you won't be dissapointed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best read/movie ever July 11 2003
This is just a short review
"Looking for Alibrandi" was a sensational movie and even better book. I felt good al through this story as I can relate, being an adolescent myself. I would encorage every single person to read and watch this story, and If anyone knows a book simular to this story, could they please notify me at...Thankyou
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4.0 out of 5 stars Looking for Alibrandi April 4 2003
For as long as she can remember, seventeen year old Josephine Alibrandi has believed her life to be anything but fortunate. Born to a single impecunious mother from a strong Italian background, Josie has never met her father and doesn't fit in at her elitist Sydney Catholic school on account of her scholarship and inability to conform. She also refuses to embrace any part of her heritage, including her grandmother. However, to make her existence even more of a nightmare, she is constantly reminded of these factors by arch- nemesis "Poison Ivy." Not only is Ivy her superior as school captain, but she is also after the charming, white-collar, extremely wealthy, John Barton. The very same man Josie believes she is destined to be with.
Just when Josie thinks her life couldn't possibly become anymore convoluted, she is finding herself more and more attracted to blue-collar bad boy Jacob Coote. And what does her fathers reappearance after a seventeen year absence mean for her? Not to mention having to bear the burden of a thirty five year old secret, her Nona's been keeping, after mistakenly stumbling across it. Will this new information threaten to make her feel more estranged from both her family and heritage than she already does, or will it bring her closer to them. And will she be strong enough to cope when tragedy strikes so close to home? That is all of course without even contemplating the stresses of her upcoming HSC.
Set in Australia in the 1990's, this book is a turbulent ride of self-discovery, which deals with themes deemed extremely topical in today's modern teenage society. Not only does Marchetta build realism through creating strength within her characters, she further authenticates them by making their struggles identifiable to a majority of teenagers.
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