Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta Chapter 5
Josie goes to the school dance in a dress that her nonna made her. Jacob
Chapter 1 and John are both there, and Jacob dances with her for most of the night.
Jacob gives Josie a lift home on his motorbike and tells her that his mother
Josephine Alibrandi is beginning a new school year as the vice-captain of St
died. They talk about the differences in their families, and Josie says that he
Martha’s school in Sydney. She promises to be good but already gets in
has to meet her mother if he wants to date her. Jacob is angry, and they
trouble on the first day. Josie introduces herself to the reader as an Italian
decide to forget trying to get together.
living in Australia. She lives with her mother, who had her before she was
married, doesn’t know her father, and has a close relationship with both her Chapter 6
mother and nonna (grandmother). When Josie arrives home after school,
her mother tells her that her father, Michael Andretti, is in town Josie and her mother, Christina, goes to her nonna’s place for a family BBQ.
unexpectedly. Michael Andretti is also there. Josie overhears a conversation between
Christina and Michael, and it is clear how much Josie means to her mother
Chapter 2 and how much Michael doesn’t want to be involved with Josie. Josie
confronts Michael, and they agree to keep their distance from each other.
Josie introduces her friends: Sera, Anna and Lee, and her school enemy: Ivy
Josie talks about this with her mother and asks her what her mother
Lloyd (Poison Ivy). Josie also participates in ‘Have a Say Day’, where she sits
dreamed of when she was 17.
next to Jacob Coote, the captain of Cook High, a local public school. He
teases and flirts with her. Jacob makes a speech about making the most of Chapter 7
freedom. The speech affects Josie.
Josie and her mother spend Easter with the family. Josie ends up having to
Chapter 3 spend the night with her nonna, and nonna tells Josie that she used to be a
beautiful woman. She tells Josie about moving to Australia with her
Josie visits her grandmother and examines the fact that she is illegitimate.
husband and how difficult it was moving to a new place. Josie is surprised at
She has an argument with her grandmother, who Josie thinks is too hard on
how her nonna managed to cope with all of this hardship and that she has
her mother. Michael, Josie’s father, shows up unexpectedly, and Josie gives
managed to do so well.
him a clue that she could be his child. Josie also explores her frustration
with her culture. Chapter 8
Chapter 4 Josie overhears a girl from her school, Carly, talking about some Italians at a
nightclub she went to as wogs. Josie gets angry at this and hits Carly in the
Josie has a talk with John Barton, a boy that she has a crush on and respects,
face with a book. Carly’s father, an influential TV personality, wants to sue
after the school debate. She comments on the polarisation of their two
Josie for breaking Carly’s nose. Josie tells them that her father is a lawyer
families, and he talks about his father’s expectations on him with quite a bit
and calls Michael to come help her. He arrives and sorts the situation out.
of bitterness. Josie is surprised that John is having problems, because his life
Josie is extremely proud to leave school with her father and intentionally
is what she has always dreamed of. Josie gets a new job at McDonalds.
talks about his work so that everyone will know he is a lawyer.
Chapter 9 though he didn’t know that Josie had been born, he is not sure he would
have come back for her if he had known. He then offers her work at his legal
Sister Louise reveals that she knows what is happening in Josie’s life and is office.
worried about how she is coping with it all. Josie’s mother, Christina, and
her grandmother fight when Christina wants to go out on a date. After her Chapter 14
grandmother leaves, Josie is also rude about her mother’s date, and they
Josie meets John Barton, who is depressed about his relationship with his
father and the constant pressure on him to be the best at things he doesn’t
Chapter 10 really care about. Josie suggests they each write down their feelings on
paper; so they exchange their sealed notes to be opened at the end of the
A local bully who used to live next door to Josie, Greg Sims, threatens Josie
and her friend Anna after work at McDonald’s. Jacob Coote and his friend
Anton rescue them from the attack. Jacob takes Josie home and asks her Chapter 15
out on a date, agreeing that he will meet her mother.
At their local cafe, Josie and her friends discuss careers and boys. Josie
Chapter 11 meets Jacob on the way home, and he asks for a second chance. They
arrange to wag school for a day and go to the beach.
After apologising for the way she acted when her mother when her mother
went on a date, Josie asks if she can go out with Jacob. Christina agrees, Chapter 16
though has a conversation with Josie about how Jacob will be wanting to
Jacob and Josie meet up, and this time their date is more successful. They
have sex with her.
spend time on the beach and talk about what it means for Josie to be
Chapter 12 Italian. She seems to be coming to terms more with her culture. They kiss
for the first time.
Josie spends the afternoon with her grandmother, looking through old
photo albums. Her nonna tells her stories of the difficulties of being new to Chapter 17
Australia in the 1930s-40s and shows Josie pictures of Marcus Sandford, a
policeman who was her first Australian friend. When nonna’s parents died Josie is getting to know her father better through working with him and
taking a trip to Adelaide with him. Josie finds out a little about the feelings
in Italy, nonna broke down at the post office. Marcus was also there and
comforted her. Josie reflects on how lonely it must have been for her her father once had for her mother and realises that she enjoys having
nonna, especially not being able to speak English. Michael around.
Chapter 13 Chapter 18
Jacob picks Josie up for her date, but he is dressed poorly and hardly speaks Poison Ivy calls Josie a ‘new Australian’ and accuses Josie’s ancestors of
killing her grandfather in the war. They argue about what it is to be
to her mother at all. Josie is furious with him. They argue instead of going to
the movies, and Josie decides to walk home. On the way she is picked up by Australian and also fight about John Barton, who they both have had
her father. They have dinner together, and Michael reveals that, even feelings for. Jacob picks Josie up in his new car, and Josie realises she has
strong feelings for him, but wonders if he also thinks of her as a ‘new Josie’s grandmother tells her about the Australian, Marcus Sandford, who
Australian’. once loved her, and how she had to send him away because of the scandal
that would have caused. Josie begins to respect her nonna even more.
Josie participates in ‘Tomato Day’, an Italian family tradition where all of her
relatives spend the day cooking and bottling tomato sauce. Josie realises Jacob and Josie argue when she refuses to introduce him to her
that, whether she likes them or not, some traditions are so strongly and grandmother. The following day Josie goes to Jacob’s house and meets her
deeply a part of her that she cannot ignore them. She also hears more father. Later they make out, and Jacob wants to go further. Josie tells him
about nonna’s husband and is told that all Italian men were put into a camp that she is not ready to have sex wit him.
for ‘aliens’ during the war years. During that time, Marcus helped nonna
around the house. Chapter 25
Josie’s world is turned upside down when she realises that her grandmother
has lied to her. A chance remark that nonna made about Josie’s grandfather
Josie abandons her duty as supervisor at the school walk-a-thon to follow being out of time when Christina was conceived reveals that nonna was
her friends who are going to see if they can find a pop star who is in town. unfaithful to her Italian husband and that the Australian, Marcus Sandford,
Sister Louise finds out and accuses Josie of conforming and being like a is actually Christina’s father. This changes how Josie feels about herself.
‘sheep’. She also tells Josie that she was elected captain of the school, but
that Sister Louise didn’t think she could handle it and made her vice-captain Chapter 26
instead. Josie realises that what she did was wrong and apologises, and also Josie reconciles with her grandmother who explains the difficult decisions
realises that she is much more popular at school than she thought. she had to make thirty-six years previously. Josie finds out that this is why
her grandfather was so mean to nonna and Christina and also why her
grandfather kicked Christina out of the house when she was pregnant with
Josie goes to see Macbeth with John, but Jacob, who is also at the movies Josie. Josie decides not to tell her mother.
with his friends, thinks that Josie is cheating on him. He confronts Josie, who
is then forced to consider her true feelings for John and Jacob, as well as her Chapter 27
prejudices about other people’s backgrounds. Josie meets up with John Barton, who seems to be much happier about life
and tells Josie that he once had a crush on her. She admits that she felt the
same way. Josie is confused, however, when John tells her that she should
Josie and her mother spend a nice day together. Josie wishes her mother get to know Ivy Lloyd better and that they have a lot in common.
and father would find a way to get back together.
Ivy tells Josie that John has committed suicide. She is deeply shocked and
devastated. Later she reads the note he wrote to her about his feelings and
realises how alone and lost he was. Josie also realises that she will achieve
her freedom in this life by living, and that the tragedy of John’s death is that
he felt he needed to die to achieve his emancipation.
At the school speech night, where Josie receives a prize, Josie realises that
John was right and that she had a lot in common with Ivy. Later in the
evening, Josie’s father tells her that he is proud of her and wants her to take
on his name. She isn’t sure what to do because she has a strong connection
with her mother and nonna, and doesn’t want them to feel rejected.
Jacob breaks up with Josie, telling her that they are too different to be
together, that he is confused and that he needs to find out who he is by
himself. He also reassures Josie that she did the right thing by not having sex
The exams are over, and Josie is still devastated by the loss of both John and
Jacob in her life. She meets up with her friends who try to console her. Sera
admits that things are not going so well with her boyfriend, and Lee admits
that she has slept with her boyfriend but wishes she had waited.
Josie reflects on her year and realises that she has come to an
understanding of who she is really is in relation to her school, family and
community. She understands herself much better and is free.