Rose Sees Red

4897045473 cd33c0e69f Rose Sees RedBuy Rose Sees Red
Special $12.94 (Regular price: $17.99)
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Format: Hardcover
Reviewer: Melissa on September 2, 2010
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Sometimes a single night has the power to change everything; sometimes a single night is all you have. If you pick up Rose Sees Red by Cecil Castellucci, I guarantee that you’ll be drawn into the moment of this unputdownable book just as I was. When we meet Rose, she’s a black cloud on the inside, having given up on friendship, on happiness, and on life being on anything other than the darkness that it appears to be. However, when Yrena, Rose’s Russian next door neighbor, crashes into Rose’s room and life, she sets in motion the events of an unforgettable night and the hope for better things to come.

If there is a word that can best sum up RoseSeesRed, then it would have to be electric. It’s too bad that Scholastic already used the phrase, “sparks will fly” to sell Suzanne Collins’ Catching Fire because I think the energy of this novel feels like static electricity coursing from the page to your literary imagination. It’ll wake you up, and it’ll make you remember what it’s like to feel the newness of friendship, the undiscovered confidence within yourself, and the excitement of New York City. I think it’s easy to see why both teen and adult readers of YA novels would identify with this narrative.

Readers will be thrown headlong into a novel rich in the language of artistic expression, including dance, theater and music. It’s a novel of dreams and the uncertainty and fear that these dreams won’t come to fruition. However, it’s also about the joy of sharing your artistic expression with other artists and the world at large. In other words, it’s a novel that speaks to the creativity ever present in human beings in a way that grabbed my attention. This book taps into the truth of the teenage experience, and when reading Cecil Castellucci’s novels, I find myself transported back to my own teen years with the same fears and desires as I had then.

If you’ve read my blog before, then you’ll know that I’m partial to historical novels. However, unlike the 18th and 19th century books that typically wind up in my YA historical literature category, this one speaks of a period in 1982 while the cold war is still raging and KGB and CIA agents still close observe any interactions between Americans and Russian diplomats (or their children). It’s a time that many of my adult readers will recognize and one that while still be a little foreign to today’s teens, may mean a larger appeal than the typical historical novel. It begs the question, how do you put the “historical” into this novel? Does an author need to be extra conscientious about a setting that is within the living memory of it’s readers and their parents? Perhaps these and other questions will be answered in due time on YABookShelf.com, but for now, I’ll keep pondering.

I think there is a lot to love about about Rose Sees Red, but what worked for me more than anything else was how it captured hope for the future. Celebrate the hope of adolescence – read this book!

Buy Rose Sees Red today!

  • http://tahleenreads.blogspot.com Tahleen

    I just got this book from the library because of all the good reviews I’ve seen—thanks for this one! It makes me want to read it even more than just to satisfy my curiosity. :)

  • http://www.yabookshelf.com Melissa

    Thanks for your comment, Tahleen! I think that you’ll really enjoy it. As for your library already owning a copy…wow, I have to say I’m impressed. I have access to a huge, provincial library, but the emphasis is definitely on French language books and even then it seems to take some time before new books get added to the shelves. The English-language YA section is only one side of a row…and it’s half the size of the other rows in the library, so I never expect to find new releases there.

  • http://www.midnytereader.com Midnyte Reader

    Wow, fantastic review! I can’t wait to read this. I live near NYC and I like the sound of this.

  • http://www.yabookshelf.com Melissa

    Yay! Glad you like my review. If you’re interested in learning more, check out this guest post that the author, Cecil Castellucci, wrote for my site.

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