Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Review: Confessions of an Angry Girl by Louise Rozett


Review: Confessions of an Angry Girl by Louise Rozett

Rating: I still can’t decide how I feel about this book, which is both a terrific and a strange thing. I know I’ll be thinking about it for a while, and I know I’ll pick up the sequel.  But I’m still not entirely sure I enjoyed this book.

Confessions of an Angry Girl (Confessions, #1)
 
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 My best friend has been replaced by an alien, and I see red all the time.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.)

The Cover: Appropriately angsty. I'm digging that blue nail polish and that rainy business around the author's name. This cover says, "Don't look at me, I have too many feelings for you to comprehend, but I am deep and soulful and just quirky enough. Glass case of teenage emotions and all that jazz."
 
The Book: For me, the biggest strength of Confessions of an Angry Girl is the angry girl herself—Rose Zarelli, even if I did kind of want to slap her half the time. Every time she went on about her awesome vocab, I kind of was all, "For the record, Snarky Pants, I am FULLY AWRE of what the words insufferable and intolerable mean. Do not act like you vocabulary shit don't stink, okay? Great. Let's get on with this story." 
 
Beneath all her flaws, though, Rose is a really strong character. I was worried when I saw how young she is—fourteen and only just starting freshman year—but she’s got a maturity about that that makes it possible for an older teen to relate to her. Her thoughts are horrible and beautiful and painful and funny, all at the same time. She made me cry.  She made me laugh, too, but mostly she made me cry. And yes, she's angry, but let's be honest-- a lot of the things that happen to her really suck. I did not think her emotions were too out of line. She's got reasons to be ragey.
 

The writing is terrific. It’s tight, and it flows, and it managed to delve very neatly into Rose’s tangled emotions: her grief, her confusion, and most of all, her anger. I liked Rose’s complicated relationships with what remains of her family. And best of all, I loved the way the author explored Rose’s grief. It felt so genuine, and was truly heartbreaking. I think my favorite aspects of Confessions were Rose’s relationship with her mother and brother. She and Peter were sweet together, even (especially) when they didn’t get along. They felt real, which was totally refreshing.

The ending is definitely abrupt, but that’s because this is the first volume in a series. It’s not an action-packed, plot driven, cliff-hanger kind of story.  It’s about emotions, and Rose as a character. This is for people who love character-driven contemporary YA, without any real twists or special somethings thrown in. I think this is one of those cases where it’s just not my precise cup of tea. I was invested in Rose’s personal journey, but not so much in the plot, or lack thereof. I was worried for her when it came to the bullying (which I thought was portrayed excellently), the grieving, and her disintegrating friendship with Tracy, her horrible but human best friend, but where the book kind of lost me was the romance. It was kind of... weird.

No, not THAT weird. Seriously what are you doing.

I felt like there was a chapter missing in Rose and Jamie’s relationship. It was so weird and sudden. It wasn’t pure insta-love, but I didn’t see the development there, and I didn't see why they were acting like they had so much history and tension when really they didn’t even know each other. Jamie as a character particularly confused me. I seriously had no idea what his deal was. I don't know what he looks like. I couldn't even figure out what his social background was, both in school and out, till the very end. I love all of Rose’s feelings for him and the way she talked about him, but I never got him, necessarily.

A lot of the character’s reactions to things didn’t make sense to me. While I enjoyed reading about a high school that was so completely different from my own, I was also confused by it. I wished the author had taken a few moments to explain a little bit more about some things, like how the vo-tech program works (I had to Google it). Also, I was a teenager not that long ago, and while of lot of this book was very realistic in a way I adored—the drinking, the bullying, and the frank but misguided conversations about sex—some of their actions were not. Tracy and Matt, her jerk boyfriend, break up, but then twenty pages later they’re going to the dance together. And this is never explained. Seriously, I thought I had a chapter missing there too.
 
Everybody kind of just treats everybody else like crap all the time in this book. I was of two minds about that. I enjoyed how realistic a lot of Rose’s more negative emotions were. But on the other hand, it meant there wasn’t a lot to truly enjoy, except for the slam dunk writing and how amazingly nuanced the emotions are. Rose is your typical, long-suffering YA heroine-- sarcastic, smart, and way too good for the shallow loony bin that high school really can be.
 
Rose doesn't like people, and neither does Prince Harry (favorite gif
of all time, for the record).
 
This is all pretty non-positive stuff, but I really did like this book. The negative aspects of being a teenager are never glossed over. Her feelings are real and raw, and though the plot goes nowhere, I really felt like I was inhabiting her life. And for that, I’ve got to say that Rose’s confessions were ultimately a win for me, albeit a reserved one. I do think Rose and I would get along.

9 comments:

  1. I loveloveloveloveLOVE character driven novels. I have this on my tbr list, but it's not much of a priority at the moment. I definitely won't remove it though, because this sounds like something I'd enjoy.

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    1. This actually does sound like your cup of tea. I too love character driven novels, and I would have enjoyed it's non-story if I'd enjoyed the romance. But... eh. Can't wait to see what you think!

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  2. My thoughts exactly, although I think I was more harsh in my thinking and I can't even remember the ending. I felt the same about Rose and her "big" words also with Jamie. I was SO confused with him and the whole romance thing, it wasn't enjoyable. Love your great review, Gilly!

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    1. I liked the concept of having a definition at the beginning of each chapter, and having that definition tie into the story. But every time people were like, "Oh, you talk so smart!" I was like... "Sure." And Jamie was underwhelming and under developed.

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  3. Ahaha your reviews are hilarious (in a good way, of course!)
    I heard lots of mixed reviews on this book. That's part of the reason why I'm not going to read it any time soon... It doesn't sound that bad though, so I'll read it sometime later... Rose sounds like a great character!

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  4. I've heard mix reviews regarding this book. I'm still not 100% inclined to pick it up, but I do agree with you on the cover. High-five on using the Prince Harry gif!

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  5. I have honestly been on the fence with this one. I have heard this and that about it, and I am still left without a decision. I am not sure how I feel about this after reading your review (thank you for that btw), but I am sure that along the lines I will get my hands on this by borrowing it from someone I know and I will attempt to read it (: Thanks again for your review! Hope you have a great week!

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  6. Despite the negative points you made about this book, I'm actually intrigued by this book and curious about it. Great review. I may just have to add this to my to read list.

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  7. I have read some not so glowing reviews for this book, but not one of them has stopped me from wanting to read it. Even some of your negative points, like the romance being....weird, didn't make me want to turn away. There is just something about the premise of the book that makes me want to read it. I was an angry girl in high school, and my high school was an awful one. I think I am just curious all the way around!

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