Thursday, July 18, 2013

Confessions of an Almost-Girlfriend by Louise Rozett

I received this book as a promo from my Vine review site. I am always actively, now, looking for tween books to read, and the description of this grabbed me. A sophomore, whose father died in Iraq, who had an apparently rough freshman year, just kind of telling us how she feels.

Unforunately (for me) this is a sequel, and I didn't realize it - I feel like I missed out on the first book, "Confessions of an Angry Girl" - which tells the story of her freshman year.

Rosie has a bully, an "almost-boyfriend", a best friend who has found her life's passion already, which makes Rosie feel a little inadequate, a friend boy who suddenly has a perfect girlfriend... And she strongly, beautifully, has a sense of what's right and wrong - which isn't always the thing that makes you popular in high school.

While I always hate to jump in the middle of a series (and I love series, really I do - the character development is always so fascinating), this book does stand alone. However, I do think that in giving the background for this one to make sense, it gives away much of the first book's plot. While some people wouldn't mind, I'd normally try to go back and read the first. In this case, though, I think I heard almost too much to now want to purchase the first novel - there won't be many surprises. I might try to find it at the library.

However, I thoroughly enjoyed this book itself. Rosie is messed up, no doubt, as are both her mom and her brother. The loss of her father is something I can't even begin to imagine dealing with, but I know it happens to high-schoolers, whether or not in a war setting. 

Rosie, though, is extremely likable and Ms. Rozett does a great job of making her sympathetic, even as you realize that some of her thoughts and actions aren't the best choices (at least, I realize that as an adult...)
This was a really well-written book. I felt that the characters were believable in words, thoughts, and actions. The plot made sense, and the things that happened seemed like they COULD happen. It's not all hearts and flowers, which is more believable. I was a smart kid in high school, but I went to a small, small school in the middle of nowhere where the students wore all sorts of hats. The cheerleaders were scholars, the band kids played football too... There does seem to be a bit of that mixture of cliques in the book, in fact, which maybe makes more sense to me than it would to other readers. Rosie is obviously smart, but her best friend is a cheerleader type, and her almost-boyfriend is somewhere between a jock and a drop-out, she becomes involved in the school musical...

I could understand Rosie, even as I can't really identify with her - thankfully. 

The writing itself was tight and well-polished. I'm an editor at heart, and nothing jumped out to me as being badly worded or confusing.

As a parent, I had to cringe when the first scene opens at a mostly freshman/sophomore drinking party, and there is definitely plenty of mention of desire and drugs. This is probably best for an actual teen reader than for the 5-6th grade kids that I tend to deal with.

I hope that we get to find out what happens next, and will eagerly await the next book.

Rating: PG-13 - minor love scenes, substance use

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