Review Blog

Aug 10 2012

Confessions of an angry girl by Louise Rozett

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HarperTeen, 2012. ISBN: 9780373210480. Due Out August 28 2012.
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. This debut novel takes very familiar, predictable tropes and turns them into a very appealing and well constructed novel for young adults. The first person present tense style narrated by Rose is intensely sharp and extremely humorous. That isn't to say it's all light and frothy. We discover very early that Rose's father died recently, and her first year at high school is already marred by grief and loneliness. Her older brother has moved away to college, and her mother is absent in mind and body, working and grieving. Her best friend Tracey is obsessed with keeping her boyfriend happy (possibly by sex), and Robert, who she has known since year three, is determined to develop a relationship despite Rose's obvious disinterest.
It's not surprising then to see anger building up in Rose. Very little goes her way: She doesn't make the cross country squad, the boy she has feelings for, Jamie, is older and sends mixed messages. When Rose's friend Tracey is picked as a cheerleader, her willingness to engage in ill-advised initiations infuriates Rose. What I liked best about Confessions of an Angry Girl is the way Rose deals with all of these incidents. Sure, a couple of times she explodes and it's intense and dramatic, but mostly she makes decisions that are brave and honorable. Everything here feels real and honest. Even the ending, which is left up-in-the-air (mostly because there's a sequel), shows that happy-ever-afters don't happen easily, or indeed often.
Running through all of the teen drama is the underlying issue of Rose's father's death. Each of her family suffers from guilt and unresolved grief, and her way to come to terms with losing him is poignant and offers her closure. The novel is well paced, with the right balance of dark and light moments.
Trish Buckley

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