A compulsively readable and sort-of realistic account of a teenage girl as she tries to deal with her grief.
Writing (Flow, Style, etc.): I don’t know why, but the first part of the book was super addictive. I got through it so quickly, even in the midst of a massive pile of homework, because the narration was weirdly gripping. The narration also came through clear as day; the emotions came across loud and clear. Unlike some fictional characters who can go out partying and forget how unhappy they are, Rose never loses her head and the angst is balanced out so that it doesn’t become overwhelming.
Plot: Okay, I think I’d be lying if I said that the plot was unexpected and filled with twists and turns. After all, contemporary YA isn’t renowned for its detailed plotting or world-building; it’s the characterisation I read for.
I thought there was going to be a love triangle at a certain point and it made me feel mildly nauseous, but it didn’t turn out to be heavy or anything–it was more like unrequited love, so that was all good. There was also the usual cliche falling-out-with-best-bud and the bad-boy stuff, but other than that, the plot didn’t delight but didn’t fail either.
Characterization: While some characters were highly developed (think the main, main characters), most of the others didn’t have much backstory. The characterisation wasn’t noteworthy, I thought Tracy was unnecessarily shallow, and the cheer team was so cliche it read like something straight out of Mean Girls.
Other Tidbits: There wasn’t really anything that bugged me in the novel.
Let’s just say that the synopsis doesn’t give the reader the best impression. At first, I got the idea that the main character would be an angst monster who’d just lost her boyfriend and was longing to get a second one. The use of words in italics also comes across as immature and irritating instead of intelligent–it seems like she’s a try-hard who’s yearning for the opportunity to use big words so that she’ll seem like a big girl.
But you know what? Rose is actually a funny, honest, and real character. I really connected with her, even with all those pent-up emotions and all her losses, because we had traits in common. We’re about the same age (although I don’t understand Tracy’s obsession with losing her virginity; more on that later), we’re both in high school, and we both have older brothers.
Disappearing Parent Syndrome was a bit of an issue at the beginning of the novel and the author seemed to feel that it could be explained away with a single statement from the mother, but while I felt it was an unresolved and highly irritating issue, others might feel differently. While DPS seems to be less common in contemporary YA as opposed to fantasy or paranormal, it annoys me nonetheless.
The thing I didn’t like was how high school was portrayed. Now, I admit that I don’t know much about high school in America, but in Australia when you’re fourteen, you don’t usually have guys who stick to girls like magnets and try to hook up with them.
Now, I know quite a few fourteen/fifteen year-olds, and the author’s portrayal of Tracy, with her weird desires to fit in that totally cross the boundaries of what’s expected of a normal teenager, doesn’t seem to be a realistic one. That particular plot arc didn’t seem to serve any purpose other than to teach teenagers that it is not OK to have casual sex, and while it’s a positive message and yes, I totally agree, does it add to the story? And if the author wants to put in a few lessons, the message should be shown not told, and definitely not spoon-fed to the reader. It’s YA, not MG.
So that’s all I have to say about the touchy-feely side of things. Overall, this was an enjoyable read but had its faults nonetheless, so four stars.