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Format: Paperback, 304 pages
Goodreads description: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 My best friend has been replaced by an alien, and I see red all the time.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.)
Review (spoilerfree):The following review is based on a Netgalley copy the publisher was kind enough to provide for me. (This is my first time reading a book before it comes out! Yay :D *feelssurreal*)
Rose Zarelli has it tough. She is 14 and just starting highschool, her father died in Iraq over the summer, her brother left for college, and she doesn’t get along very well with her therapist mother. On top of that, she is steadily growing apart from her best friend, Tracy, who is suddenly more interested in dating a jock, making the cheerleader squad and debating when to best lose her virginity. Rose herself is still reeling from her recent loss and trying to regain her footing in everyday life. She wants to fit in, but not to the point that she is ready to lose her own identity and pretend to be someone she isn’t. Resisting the peer pressure to drink and have sex isn’t easy, and I admired her for how she handled it.
Rose feels very confused and left behind. She isn’t seriously thinking about sex – she hasn’t even figured out kissing yet. I was somewhat surprised at the beginning of the book by how easily embarrassed and quiet Rose was; my expectation from the title was for her to be much more outwardly angry and aggressive (this picks up over the course of the book). However, once she’s had enough and speaks her mind, she’s on a roll and unable to stop, often saying things she knows she shouldn’t even though they are true. What she blurted out often made me laugh, even though it was frequently awkward for her – she is smart and her comments hit the mark.
The book is written in the first person and I found Rose’s voice to be very authentic. She is extremely perceptive in some respects but completely clueless and naïve in others. There were a few instances when she came across as bitchy and whiny, but because she was usually aware of that and also berated herself for it, I didn’t mind (she’s 14, after all). I really enjoyed watching her crush on Jamie Forta, a Junior with a somewhat dubious reputation. I loved their sometimes awkward interactions as they were trying to figure each other out. However, I was a little bothered by the age difference between them, and though I liked Jamie he also remained somewhat elusive during the whole novel.
The problem with her crush? Jamie has a girlfriend. Sort of (it’s never quite cleared up what exactly they are to each other). Regina is a real bitch and instantly jealous of Rose even when Jamie does nothing but speak to her. Her bullying and harassment of Rose really made me despise her. Why Jamie is/was with her in the first place is beyond me. However, even though Regina is horrible, the author avoided the ‘all cheerleaders are evil witches’ cliché by making their leader, Michelle, a genuinely warm-hearted and nice person.
A character I felt really sorry for is Robert, Rose’s best guy friend who’s had a crush on her forever and refuses to get it through his head that she doesn’t like him back. He was a really nice guy and Rose should have treated him better sometimes. However, I was glad that it was clear from the beginning that she didn’t see him as a romantic interest and the love triangle was thus avoided.
Overall I really enjoyed the book; it was a very entertaining, quick read and I liked the mixture of funny, lighthearted scenes and more serious themes. However, there are two minor points of criticism I have to make: some of the minor characters fell a bit flat for me and could have been given more depth. Another thing is that the ending of the book is really abrupt – the plot arc is not quite finished, in my opinion. I know this is the case because of the sequel, but I think the novel would have benefited from an additional chapter or an epilogue. I would recommend Confessions of an Angry Girl to anyone going through highschool or wanting to relive those days of confusing early teenager-dom.
Personal thoughts (spoilery):
I didn’t quite know what to expect going into the book. It had been a while since I’d read a novel with a character who is almost ten years younger than I am, and I was unsure whether I’d be able to empathize with Rose. However, simultaneous pride and embarrassment of her smarts (and her vocabulary) reminded me of myself at that age.
Other parts I found it hard to read through are the many petty ways in which Regina makes Rose’s life hell. I was torn between admiring her for going through it without going to the principal (which would probably just have made things worse) and wishing she would stand up for herself more. Not just to Regina but also to Tracy. However, I can also understand her fear of losing her best (and only) friend. Yet there were still moments when I thought Tracy was actually treating Rose worse than Regina did, though not in the same way. I can’t say that I felt very sorry for Tracy when she got what she’d had coming for a while.
There are some hints in the novel that I’m curious to see the outcome of in the sequel: Rose’s love for the opera, Jamie’s talent for drawing/architecture, Robert’s playacting. I’d also like to see how Rose wants to get back at Regina, and whether the reconciliation between Rose and Tracy holds up in the future. Then there is Rose’s own family. How will her mum and brother react to the memorial website she’s been building for her father? Will they mend their relationships and grow closer again?
Of course what I want to know most is whether Jamie and Rose will ever manage to be an official couple. I’ll definitely need to pick up the sequel, Confessions of an Almost-Girlfriend, when it comes out in May 2013!
What do you guys think about Confessions of an Angry Girl? Does it sound like something you think you'd enjoy? Have you had a chance to read it early? I'd love to hear about it in the comments :)