Saturday, March 15, 2014

Review: Confessions of an Angry Girl by Louise Rozett

Title: Confessions of an Angry Girl
Author: Louise Rozett
Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction
Publishing Information: 266 pages; August 28th, 2012 by Harlequin Teen
Series: Confessions #1

Where I got it: E-book from the library

Synopsis from Goodreads:

"Rose Zarelli, self-proclaimed word geek and angry girl, has some confessions to make…

1. I'm livid all the time. Why? My dad died. My mom barely talks. My brother abandoned us. I think I'm allowed to be irate, don't you?

2. I make people furious regularly. Want an example? I kissed Jamie Forta, a badass guy who might be dating a cheerleader. She is now enraged and out for blood. Mine.

3. High school might as well be Mars. My best friend has been replaced by an alien, and I see red all the time. (Mars is red and "seeing red" means being angry—get it?)

Here are some other vocab words that describe my life: Inadequate. Insufferable. Intolerable.

(Don't know what they mean? Look them up yourself.)

Main characters: 4/5

Rose was a riot; her voice was witty, snarky and almost painfully truthful in some parts. For instance, these are some of the opening sentences in the prologue: "This is a story about a girl with a stellar vocabulary who is four years away from college and a year and a half away from a driver's license. About a girl trapped in a hostile universe where the virginity clock is ticking down- relentlessly- with zero consideration for her extenuating, traumatic, life-altering circumstances". Beyond her voice, Rose perfectly embodied that awkwardness that seems to plague people (see: me) in adolescence. The way that she interacted with Jamie in the beginning was cringe-worthy and endearing. I was torn between thinking Rose was a little stuck up in the way she viewed the popular crowd and partying and agreeing with her. Rose was a lot less "angry" than I anticipated given the title, with some notable exceptions of course. Overall, I think she was more sad, and I really connected with that. Her progression as a character was beautifully done.

Secondary characters: 3/5

Rosie and Tracy's relationship was interesting because it mirrored some friendships that I've had and it was eerily accurate at portraying the rifts that growing up can cause between friends. That being said, I found Tracy to be one-dimensional and hard to like because I didn't understand her motivations as a character. Full disclosure: I instantly loved Jamie because of the fact that he played hockey. After that, I tended to follow Rose's feelings for him, which is the nature of first person narration. Other times, I was frustrated that Rose wasn't feeling the way I wanted her to about Jamie. Regardless of my ups and downs with him, Jamie was surprisingly well developed and his character was thoughtfully complex. I liked that he went through his own conflict just as Rose was going through hers. Angelo was a riot and I loved him just for his comic relief.

Writing style: 4/5

The way that Rozett handled Rose's father was impeccably done. She was able to balance painting a portrait of who Rose's father was without diminishing the absence that was left. The details that Rozett integrated into the writing were awesome! Even the smallest things, like the fact that Rose was reading A Separate Peace which I also read freshman year. I liked that the novel was short because at the end, I was still yearning for more of Rose's witty voice and more of her story, rather than wishing the novel was over. The pacing was perfect: I was captivated and was rarely knocked out of the story by odd wording or parts that were too fast or slow.

Plot: 3/5
The nature of the beast with character driven novels is that they're, well, character driven. That means that the plot falls by the wayside a bit. That being said, everything that was presented was incredibly realistic. As a reader, that's one of the most important things that an author can create because that's how we connect with what we're reading. Even experiences that Rosie had that I'd never gone through were relevant to my and my experiences because of the way that Rose dealt with them and reacted. There were many parts of the novel that could have come off as contrived or stereotypical, but Rozett managed to use them to search inside the mind of Rose and give an accurate portrayal of parent death and how one girl in particular coped with tragedy and freshman year of high school.

Ending: 2/5

The scene before prom was a big downer for me and I couldn't understand why Rose was so okay with how things worked out. Things clicked for Rose at the end and her revelations were surprisingly deep. Take this quote, for example: "Bad things happen whether you're scared or not, so you might as well not both being scared. It's a waste of time." Sounds to me like I need a little Rose in my head all the time. My only problem with the ending was, well, the very end. That cliffhanger! That was a little unfair in my opinion. It left so many relationships up in the air and although I loved the determination of Rose and Tracy, I wanted some actual resolution.

Best scene: Rose vs. Regina

Positives: Rose (both as a character and her surprisingly blunt and fresh voice), Jamie (for the most part), the writing pacing and style, the details that made the story so easy to relate to

Negatives: The ending, the more one-dimensional character of Tracy,

Cover: There's no "wow" factor, but I liked the simple muted tones and picture. 

Verdict: Rose's dynamic and remarkable voice made this novel something special, but it probably would have been better suited as a standalone. 

Rating: 6.4/10 (4 stars)

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