Die deutsche Rezension findet ihr hier
High School: a time full of possibilities or the worst nightmare you can imagine? For 14-year-old Rose it’s the latter; a few months ago her father died and the teachers still have those sympathetic looks for her. Her best friend Tracy, though, has only other things left on her mind: cheerleading, clothes and the big question about her first time with her boyfriend, who Rose really isn’t on friendly terms with. Add to that a mentally absent mother, a fleeing brother and Jamie, or more accurately: the guy Rose has had a crush on for forever, though she has no idea what is going on between them … if anything at all. It’s not hard to imagine why Rose is so angry – she is heading for trouble and the only question left is who will have to bear the brunt of it … and who will be damaged the most.
It didn’t take long for me to realize that I really like Rose Zarelli. One of the problems I often have with contemporary books is that I can’t identify with the characters – first love, the impression you make on others and you-know-what … yeah, that were issues for me, too, but never big ones. Parties and all that stuff, I never cared about; and here comes Rose Zarelli not caring the least bit about it as well. In this case, I’m the instalove victim and I don’t mind it at all.
Besides that, she isn’t as angry as I imagined. The anger still is an important part of the story; her father is dead, after all, and that for very tragic reasons. Of course she’s angry – I wanted to shake her mother, kick her brother’s ass and give Tracy a piece of my mind, all while I could see their reasons for acting that way, as well. (Mostly; Tracy’s another matter.) Rose is not the only one who is angry and she’s not the only one who is entitled to be it. When she learns how to deal with that emotion, and when her perceptions and actions change as well, this book becomes very moving. Just a hint: tissues might be a good idea.
Still, this is only one aspect of the story. As tragic as Rose’s situation is, she’s in puberty, in her first High School year and life continues whether she likes that or not. Well, and there are so many things to consider and decide! Some afternoon activity would be nice, but what if that reminds you too much of your father? Plus, Rose might not be ready for sex yet, but there is no way avoiding that topic – in that context I really liked the scene at the gynaecologist, even though it raised some questions that hopefully will be answered in the next book. But this visit is awkward for Rose, even unpleasant, just as your first visit there often is. And why shouldn’t that be said for once?
And yes, it’s probably not very surprising ... Rose has a crush. On Jamie Forta and I still don’t know how old that guy actually is. This creates one of the main conflicts that drive the story and leads to the second book. Jamie’s not only the bad boy (how bad he really is remains to be seen), but he’s also in a relationship with Regina, a cheerleader hellcat par excellence. (Before you’re disappointed with the coined cheerleader stereotype: not all of them are like Regina, and I think the book makes that clear.) All of that wouldn’t be much of a problem if Jamie made his attentions clear and Regina wasn’t so crazy. However, as it is – and as a consequence – this book also deals with harassment, just as it does with alcohol abuse and other things that look cool and great at first, but aren’t if you take a closer look.
All of that sounds awfully serious? Don’t worry, you’ll be able to laugh a little as well; Rose speaks sarcasm after all, and not all characters are annoying or disappointing or confusing or anything like that. Just take Angelo, who gets very small when he makes a girl cry and generally is a nice guy you wouldn’t mind meeting more than once.
Furthermore, the beginning of each chapter does some cheering up with presenting unusual words that describe a situation or a person in Rose’s life – she has a knack for those words, you know? Even though they are again a reminder of her father, they’re often worth a smile and definitely useful when it comes to your own vocabulary.
With “Confessions of an Angry Girl” Louise Rozett presents a moving and funny story about a 14-year-old, very angry girl with a particular liking of strange words. Sounds entertaining? It is, even though it isn’t a perfect book. With Rose, we finally get a character those of us who don’t care about parties and all that can identify with; but everybody else should be able to like her as well. She is very likable after all. This book is a trip back to an age many of us might not want to think about too often, but you know what? It was fun and I can’t wait to see what happens next in Rose’s life.