Looking for Alibrandi Chapter summaries

8 August 2016

Josephine Alibrandi is beginning a new school year as the vice-captain of St Martha’s school in Sydney. She promises to be good but already gets in trouble on the first day. Josie introduces herself to the reader as an Italian 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 mother and nonna (grandmother). When Josie arrives home after school, her mother tells her that her father, Michael Andretti, is in town unexpectedly. Chapter 2 Josie introduces her friends: Sera, Anna and Lee, and her school enemy: Ivy Lloyd (Poison Ivy).

Josie also participates in ‘Have a Say Day’, where she sits 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 freedom. The speech affects Josie. Chapter 3 Josie visits her grandmother and examines the fact that she is illegitimate. She has an argument with her grandmother, who Josie thinks is too hard on her mother. Michael, Josie’s father, shows up unexpectedly, and Josie gives him a clue that she could be his child. Josie also explores her frustration with her culture. Chapter 4

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Josie has a talk with John Barton, a boy that she has a crush on and respects, after the school debate. She comments on the polarisation of their two families, and he talks about his father’s expectations on him with quite a bit of bitterness. Josie is surprised that John is having problems, because his life is what she has always dreamed of. Josie gets a new job at McDonalds. Chapter 5 Josie goes to the school dance in a dress that her nonna made her. Jacob 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 died.

They talk about the differences in their families, and Josie says that he has to meet her mother if he wants to date her. Jacob is angry, and they decide to forget trying to get together. Chapter 6 Josie and her mother, Christina, goes to her nonna’s place for a family BBQ. Michael Andretti is also there. Josie overhears a conversation between Christina and Michael, and it is clear how much Josie means to her mother 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 talks about this with her mother and asks her what her mother dreamed of when she was 17. Chapter 7 Josie and her mother spend Easter with the family. Josie ends up having to 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 husband and how difficult it was moving to a new place. Josie is surprised at how her nonna managed to cope with all of this hardship and that she has managed to do so well. Chapter 8 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 face with a book. Carly’s father, an influential TV personality, wants to sue Josie for breaking Carly’s nose. Josie tells them that her father is a lawyer and calls Michael to come help her. He arrives and sorts the situation out. Josie is extremely proud to leave school with her father and intentionally talks about his work so that everyone will know he is a lawyer. Chapter 9 Sister Louise reveals that she knows what is happening in Josie’s life and is 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 grandmother leaves, Josie is also rude about her mother’s date, and they fight. Chapter 10 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 out on a date, agreeing that he will meet her mother. Chapter 11 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, though has a conversation with Josie about how Jacob will be wanting to have sex with her. Chapter 12 Josie spends the afternoon with her grandmother, looking through old photo albums. Her nonna tells her stories of the difficulties of being new to 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 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 nonna, especially not being able to speak English. Chapter 13

Jacob picks Josie up for her date, but he is dressed poorly and hardly speaks 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 her father. They have dinner together, and Michael reveals that, even 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 office. Chapter 14 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 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 year. Chapter 15 At their local cafe, Josie and her friends discuss careers and boys. Josie 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. Chapter 16 Jacob and Josie meet up, and this time their date is more successful. They spend time on the beach and talk about what it means for Josie to be Italian. She seems to be coming to terms more with her culture.

They kiss for the first time. Chapter 17 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 her father once had for her mother and realises that she enjoys having Michael around. Chapter 18 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 Australian and also fight about John Barton, who they both have had 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 Australian’. Chapter 19 Josie participates in ‘Tomato Day’, an Italian family tradition where all of her relatives spend the day cooking and bottling tomato sauce. Josie realises that, whether she likes them or not, some traditions are so strongly and deeply a part of her that she cannot ignore them. She also hears more about nonna’s husband and is told that all Italian men were put into a camp for ‘aliens’ during the war years. During that time, Marcus helped nonna around the house.

Chapter 20 Josie abandons her duty as supervisor at the school walk-a-thon to follow her friends who are going to see if they can find a pop star who is in town. Sister Louise finds out and accuses Josie of conforming and being like a ‘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 instead. Josie realises that what she did was wrong and apologises, and also realises that she is much more popular at school than she thought. Chapter 21 Josie goes to see Macbeth with John, but Jacob, who is also at the movies

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 prejudices about other people’s backgrounds. Chapter 22 Josie and her mother spend a nice day together. Josie wishes her mother and father would find a way to get back together. Chapter 23 Josie’s grandmother tells her about the Australian, Marcus Sandford, who 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. Chapter 24

Jacob and Josie argue when she refuses to introduce him to her grandmother. The following day Josie goes to Jacob’s house and meets her father. Later they make out, and Jacob wants to go further. Josie tells him that she is not ready to have sex wit him. 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 being out of time when Christina was conceived reveals that nonna was unfaithful to her Italian husband and that the Australian, Marcus Sandford, is actually Christina’s father.

This changes how Josie feels about herself. Chapter 26 Josie reconciles with her grandmother who explains the difficult decisions 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. Josie decides not to tell her mother. Chapter 27 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 get to know Ivy Lloyd better and that they have a lot in common. Chapter 28 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.

Chapter 29 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. Chapter 30 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 with him. Chapter 31 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. Chapter 32 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.

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