As a librarian, I am a huge fan of public libraries, and make regular use of the library branch closest to my home. I tend to come away with far too many books, which isn’t helped by the fact that my library is notorious for having all of my requests come in at the same time. So I’ve decided to start a new feature here at Read and Reviewed called Reviews from My Library Pile, which will showcase a review of a book I borrowed from the library. These books will not be titles that are read to satisfy any of my current challenges (aside from my Where Are You Reading? 2013 Challenge), but rather books I’ve wanted to read for a while and decided to pick up.
While I cannot promise regular posting of this feature – I have a hard time getting through my library picks in a timely manner – I CAN promise that these posts will always take place on Sundays. So, without further adieu, here is my very first Review from My Library Pile!
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 My best friend has been replaced by an alien, and I see red all the time.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.)
(Sorry. That was rude.)
I wasn’t really sure what to expect from Confessions of An Angry Girl. I loved the idea of a girl who is clearly a wordsmith, as I adore learning new words and finding ways to incorporate them into sentences, and was also very interested in just how angry Rose really was. Turns out, she’s nearly apoplectic (see what I did there?), in more ways than one, and actually has some very good reasons for being so. Aside from her anger, Rose is also heartbreaking and hilarious in equal measures, making for a reading experience that was fun and heart-wrenching all at the same time.
Everyone knows that high school is a difficult transition for some teens, and Rose Zarelli is no exception. She doesn’t conform to the same rules of popularity as others, and isn’t interested in doing so, either, which makes her a definite outcast. Combine that with her anger and sadness over her dad’s death, and the fact that she and her best friend seem to be growing apart, and you get a read that’s definitely full of ups and downs. I actually found myself tearing up a couple of times, in fact, which was not something I’d been expecting and always makes the shock of those emotions more poignant. The parts that particularly got me were her thoughts about her dad, and the way she tried to navigate the way her anger would come and go so hot and furious that it left her – and the reader – reeling. Her reactions and feelings are so realistic and well done that I simply have to applaud the author for writing Rose with such a careful and well-thought-out manner. I really came to love every bit of her.
This book also has an unconventional romance, in that Rose falls for Jamie, who not only is an upperclassman with a girlfriend, but also a guy that her circle of friends really looks down on. I’m not even sure you can call this a romance, since Rose spends the entire book not actually being “with” Jamie at all, despite some very well-written and rather steamy kisses shared between them. One of the places I teared up, actually, is during an interaction she has with Jamie in which he tells her one of his secrets, but then pulls away from her, saying he shouldn’t have kissed her. There’s a definite back and forth that’s a bit maddening to read about, but is completely understandable and therefore not as eye-roll inducing as it could be. I can’t help but root for the two of them to get things figured out.
No book set in a high school would be complete without mean girl drama, but in Confessions of An Angry Girl, it’s ratcheted up a bit because Rose experiences some very real bullying and harassment. While the educator in me wanted to shake her and make her tell an adult exactly what was happening, the part of me that was a teenager myself fully grasped why she wouldn’t want to, particularly after some events earlier in the book. It didn’t make it any easier to read about, but I liked how the culmination of the mean girl story line lead to some reconciliations on Rose’s part which helped the book remain more hopeful than angsty.
All in all I found this book to be absolutely wonderful, even when it was dealing with subject matter that is decidedly not lighthearted. There is an underlying humor throughout, and Rose herself has much to do with that. I loved the romance, the teen issues, and the way Rose’s anger at her father’s death was handled. There are some very serious topics tackled within this book’s 266 pages, and it’s all done incredibly well. I can definitely say that this is one book I wholeheartedly recommend to everyone.