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Literature / Looking for Alibrandi

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Written by Melina Marchetta, Looking for Alibrandi is a popular Australian Young Adult novel about an Italian-Australian teenager, Josephine Alibrandi. Due to its themes of self identity, coming of age, teen romance and sexuality, and depression and suicide it is widely studied in Australian high schools.

A film adaptation was produced in 2000, starring Pia Miranda, Anthony La Paglia and Matthew Newton.


Provides Examples Of:

  • Alpha Bitch: 'Poison' Ivy and and Carly Bishop. The characters are combined in the film adaptation.
  • Ass Pull: In-Universe - at the very beginning of the book, Josie explains to Sister Gregory why she was reading a magazine in class by attempting to relate it to the topic her class is currently studying.
  • Betty and Veronica: A conventional one at the start with Josie as Archie and her two male love interests as Betty and Veronica. Averted by the events in the book of course.
  • Bilingual Dialogue: In the movie, where Josie speaks only English but Christina and Katia speak both languages.
  • Bookends: The film opens and ends with "International Wog Day". Only with Josie being proud of it at the end.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Josie and John write letters to each other, seal them and give them to each other. They promise not to open each other's note until after the HSC, but after John kills himself, it's not hard for Josie to work out what John must have wrote in his letter to her...
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  • Coming-of-Age Story
  • Female Gaze: Featured prominently in the film when the students from the boys school arrive at the girls school. There are several close-ups of the boys butts as they put their hands in their pockets, causing their blazers to ride up.
  • Follow the Leader: The works of Irini Saviddes are remarkably similar, being written by an English teacher and featuring second generation immigrant girls coming of age, as does the book Wogaluccis. It is likely that this has more to do with publishers realising these themes are marketable, rather than these books being intentionally derivative.
  • Four-Girl Ensemble: Josie (Character Narrator / The Smart Guy), Sera (sexy), Anna (sweet/naive), Lee (Deadpan Snarker)
  • Luke, You Are My Father: Josie, to Michael.
  • N-Word Privileges: Discussed when Josie gets in trouble for hitting Carly with her textbook, partly in response to being called a wog (though what actually triggered it was a crack about Josie's illegitimacy). When Michael gets called in, she acknowledges that she has no problem with the word coming from another Italian or even her close friends like Lee.
  • Scholarship Student: Josie was the recipient of the English scholarship at elite private secondary school St. Martha's. Josie outright states that were it not for the scholarship, she would never be at St. Martha's.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: In the film, upon finding out that Josie has a boyfriend, her parents independently ask if he has a car. This leads her to realise where she was conceived.
  • Teen Pregnancy: Josie's mother gave birth to her as an unmarried teenager.
  • The Unreveal: John and Josie exchange sealed letters about their hopes for the future. When John dies, Josie realises his letter must be his suicide note. Averted then played straight in the movie, where she does read the letter, but it still doesn't help.
  • Verbing Nouny

Alternative Title(s): Looking For Alibrandi