Thursday, 24 July 2014

Review: 'Confessions of an Angry Girl' by Louise Rozett

Confessions of an Angry Girl (Confessions, #1)Something about the synopsis of this book really made me want to read it. Whether that was because I was completely engrossed or because I wanted to know how cliche it exactly was, I knew I wanted to read it. And I'm quite glad I did because it was quite an enjoyable read.
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 gorgeous Jamie Forta, boyfriend of the coolest cheerleader in the school. Now she’s out for blood. Mine. 
#3: But most of all high school might as well be Mars. My best friend has been replaced by an alien…and now it’s a case of survival of the coolest.
Like a lot of other reviewers, I was quite surprised to realize that the main character was only fourteen. As a sage and wise twenty-year old, I found it a bit hard to relate to Rose and her worries at times because they seemed so cliched. However, Rozett deals with the big questions of early puberty, sex, alcohol and popularity, relatively well. I do think that as such, sex is a very touchy topic when dealing with a main character that is so clearly underage. Although the novel never crosses any lines, it still makes some scenes a little bit awkward. I think there needs to be a debate about how young we want to make YA characters. I personally wouldn't consider a fourteen-year old a Young Adult, but still a child. As such, this novel shouldn't be marketed as a romance but much more as a coming-of-age novel.

As far as those aspects of the plot go, Confessions of an Angry Girl is relatively stereotypical. Rose has a lot of problems and she finds out that there are no immediate answers for the question what life is about. At times I found myself being relatively annoyed at her naivety and her insistence that she was right. Although I kept telling myself this character was supposed to be fourteen, I still think Rozett could have given Rose the capability of self-reflection. I also have to question the morals of Jamie, the male love interest of unspecified age. In my mind he's significantly older than her, which makes everything a bit sketchy and I'm not quite sure how fond I was of him as a character overall, although he was of course charming whenever he was around her. Of course there is another potential love interest who I actually, for once, think was better than the main love interest.

Despite the above points, Rose is a fun character. She's eloquent, funny at times and very honest about her doubts and feelings to the reader. This means that even when you think she's being a stubborn teenager, you still feel for her. The same courtesy isn't extended to all of the other characters, but I guess everyone needs a nemesis. Rozett's writing style flows easily and she allows time to pass without having to describe every single day. I actually think this is really refreshing. The plot isn't crammed into a day, but rather there are weeks allowed to pass in which not much happens. This is how life really is. However, high-school is not that dramatic, or at least it doesn't have to be. Something that annoys me about these kinds of books is that characters are very passive and never actively move away from the drama. Despite the fact that some parts of the book were a bit eye-roll inducing, I did really enjoy reading it.

Rozett does manage to describe high-school and its intricate hierarchy really well. The way a friendship or a break-up can affect more people than the two originally involved is quite astounding and hard to believe at times and although I managed to keep out of most of that drama in high-school, I recognized a lot of the things Rozett described in her book. Bullying is never a good thing and I think by making it relatively central to the novel, the reader can actually take something positive away from it. It's just such a shame that so much of the drama revolved around "love". Let's not forget all of these people are still in high-school. I also thought the family dynamics were written well. The sudden death of a parent leaves a hole in a family and when the older sibling then departs for college, naturally that means a lot of changes. I really liked how Rozett described all of these.

I give this novel...

3 Universes.

Although I enjoyed reading this book and flew through it, it is not one of the most memorable I ever read. Partially this is due to the fact that the protagonist is simple relatively far removed from me in age and therefore not as easy to identify with. It seems like you get a quick glance into someone's life and then move on. I'd recommend this to people who are close to the protagonist's age and are looking for a read about the first year in high-school.

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