Drumroll please.....the winner is Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. Most reviews include the powerful first line of the story (deservedly so, it's a pretty good first line). This confusing, gripping story follows two plot lines, with little introduction. I had to keep turning back pages to put characters and events in order, or at least some kind of order. I think that's what I liked so much about the book though. What happened, what's happening, how characters are feeling and acting, it's not obvious. The reader is expected to work at the story, wrestling with the emotions and responses along with the characters.
So what's the story about? Hmmm. Taylor, abondoned as a youngster, has grown up at the boarding school down Jellico Road. She's 17 now and leader of the school, responsible for her group in the territory wars. Yep, a war between the school kids, the military cadets who spend several weeks camped out at the school, and the townies from the nearby town who don't attend the school.
If you're interested in a complicated, adventurous tale of friendship and individuality, pick up Jellicoe Road.
Oh, and the honor books are The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume II: The Kingdom on the Waves by M.T. Anderson; The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E.Lockhart; Nation by Terry Pratchett; and Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan.