Writer: Melina Marchetta
Translator: Monica Dwi Chresnayani
Publisher: Gramedia Pustaka Utama (2004)
Bought at: Bukumoo (IDR 20k)
I am not a big YA reader, but I do have some fave YA writers who’d never disappointed me. Melina Marchetta is one of them. She always delivered great, non-pretentious stories with likable characters, complicated plots and cool settings (mostly in Australia, another reason why her book is so irresistible for me).
Looking for Alibrandi is one of her earlier works. It tells a story about Josephine (aka Josie) Alibrandi, a descendant of Italian immigrant grandparents, and a daughter of a single mother. Josie has always felt like an outsider all her life. She can’t mingle well in her fancy Catholic school (she enrolled there because of scholarship), people like to call her “wog” (a racist term to call immigrants in Australia), and even among her Italian community, she’s always felt strange, because she never knows her father.
Her complicated life seems to become more complicated, when suddenly things happen so fast: her father, Michael Andretti, showed up out of the blue in Sydney and Josie can’t help but feeling drawn toward him. Then, she fell in love with Jacob Coote, a guy from Cook High School, who has very different life from her. Josie also has to prepare for her important exam and get ready for her next step in life (university!), while all of a sudden, she finds out a big family secret from her grandmother, Nonna Katia. How can she cope with all of those?
Looking for Alibrandi is a perfect coming of age story- it has all elements that makes it a wonderful read: romance, family stories, future plans, friendship. The thing with Melina Marchetta is she can completely draw you to the story without even trying so hard to do it. There’s no over the top plots or unnecessary details here, everything feels just right. There are some unanswered questions and unfinished conflicts but those are just fine, because that’s how life supposed to be.
The only thing that feels a bit of a downer for me is because I read the translated Indonesian version, I missed some of the most original dialogue styles that Marchetta so good at. The translation is not bad but it lacks of the Marchetta’s touch. Probably I will look for the English version anyway 🙂