**There may be spoilers for the first book in the series, Confessions of an Angry Girl. Check out my review here for that**
I can't believe it was only the beginning of the year that I discovered this series, it seems far longer. I really liked Confessions of an Angry Girl - I loved Rose's narrative, the characters and the realism that is shown across the page that made this book stand out. It also made me realise how much I love this genre of contemporary fiction, especially in the high school setting.
So I was so happy to see this on Netgalley while I was in the middle of my exams as I was dying to find out what happened next for Rose and Jamie, as well as what's up next in Rose's life.
Synopsis: It is the start of Rose's sophomore year and after the drama and bullying of the year before, she wants to keep her head down and out of trouble.
But even before school starts again, Rose gets involved in a serious argument between two boys that continues throughout the school year. There's also the sudden popularity of Tracey - Rose's best friend - that leaves Rose behind the times. But most of all, there's Jamie Forta - the lovely guy who asked her to prom and broke up with his girlfriend, Regina for her. But Rose is always asking the question, is she his girlfriend? Or is she more his 'almost-girlfriend'?
Review: Okay, if you want like a basic review of this book, just go to the last paragraph because simply, I loved this book. So much. Like it made my day, my week, my month, my freaking year because I needed a book like this to get me back on the reviewing and reading drive, to make me feel better about myself at a low point and to just appreciate my love of reading. BECAUSE THIS BOOK WAS SO GOOD.
*cue fan-girling, ranting, the word 'love' being repeated MANY times*
I loved this book, I really did. I mean, I thought the first book was pretty good and a great debut but whoa...this builds much more on Confessions of an Angry Girl and more introducing some new characters as well as newer, serious themes plus showing the effects on Rose from the first book.
I think it's the characters that make this story what it is. Sometimes contemporary books have characters that for me, just seem so unrealistic and unnecessary at times and it just makes me enjoy the book much less. Rose is far from that, and I think her honest narration, stark and the teenage angst that comes across the page makes the issues addressed in this series much more realistic and make an impact. I understood Rose's problems in finding herself, finding who she is in her teenage years, because I've gone through that. There was one poignant quote that I remember about your reflection in the mirror being completely different to what you think you look like in your head which had me shouting 'YES. YOU UNDERSTAND ME' in my head. Because I've thought, and still do think that - ah I'm just such a fan of Rose really.
The problem with Rose in the first book is that she seemed really young and when it daunted on me that in the first book she's only 14/15 - I don't know, it just seemed young. I think that is lost a little bit gladly in this book as Rose turns 16, which is good to see and made me enjoy this book far more.
The characters are all incredibly diverse and original to one another and their relationships keep developing with Rose and with one another. A few of my favourites were Tracey and Angelo (WHO can't love him?!) who bring some needed humour and sarcasm to a book that could overwhelm at times. They've very quick-witted and also the loveliest characters to Rose.
As I said, the narration is so real and it is the writing that made me zoom through Confessions of an Angry Girl and this book because it engages you so much from the first page. I literally was having to slow my reading down because I didn't want the book to finish, knowing the next book I read will never match. In short, the narration has this real element to it that addresses these deeper issues many times throughout, such as bullying, homophobia, domestic violence - but it's always mixed with humour at just the right moments (mostly a sarcastic remark from Rose or Angelo just being Angelo).
And then there's Jamie. The love interest, you could say. I don't know what I think of him really, I mean there is something irresistible about him and I can totally see why Rose likes him. But, there are times when I'm wondering why Rose puts up with the 'almost-girlfriend' thing, because it seems sometimes he could be leading her on. I just hope he sorts it out, and at the end, when he just like judges her?! AH. So I like Jamie. But he can be such an idiot at times.
So yeah. I really, really liked this book mostly because the focus was off the whole thing Rose has with Regina and onto other stronger issues to be explored. There's so much going on underneath Rose's narrative that I can just see all these things coming out in later books. Rose is still the amazing, feisty narrator most readers loved as well as the best minor characters I've come across making this one of the best books I've read this year, and this series is definitely becoming one of my favourites. It's like Rose understands me and the feeling of knowing that I'm not alone in trying to find who I am, in facing all these issues at school or home or with myself - it's indescribable how good that is.
If you haven't read Confessions of an Angry Girl, READ IT. And then this one. I just sincerely hope that the third book comes out soon and that this series gets the success it completely deserves.
Thank you so much to Netgalley and Harlequin Teen for letting me review this book.
I give it a 5 out of 5
Author's Website: http://www.louiserozett.com/author/Louise_Rozett.html
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Confessions of an Angry Girl - Louise Rozett (#1)
Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters - Meredith Zeitlin