Confessions of an almost girlfriend -Louise Rozett
This was an ARC that was very gratefully received from netgalley. The blurb sort of had me hooked from the moment I saw it, I’ve had many an existential crisis. I like reading books about people who have them, and well, this book is about a girl who wants to find her niche, to have the most amazing sophomore year ever. If that doesn’t smell a little existential I don’t know what does.
Here’s the blurb:
Rose Zarelli has big plans for sophomore year—everything is going to be different. This year, she’s going to be the talented singer with the killer voice, the fabulous girl with the fashionista best friend, the brainiac who refuses to let Jamie Forta jerk her around…but if she’s not careful, she’s also going to be the sister who misses the signals, the daughter who can only think about her own pain, the “good girl” who finds herself in mid-scandal again (because no good deed goes unpunished) and possibly worst of all…the almost-girlfriend.
When all else fails, stop looking for love and go find yourself.
If I’d have known that this was the second book of a series, I probably would have ignored it, despite the compelling premise. As you may have noticed when I reviewed Truth or Dare, I found myself missing out on a big chunk of the story because it was part way through the series. When I chose that and this, I wanted to read some light, fluffy teenage nonsense, the title of this and the cover of Truth or Dare led me to believe that I was onto a winner with both of those. This was not light and fluffy, but, unlike Truth or Dare, it worked as a stand alone novel, so even though I hadn’t read the first book, I still knew who all the characters were and from the brief references I could tell what book one was about. At the same time though, equally, the events of book one were bought up in such a way, that it could easily have just been a series of things that happened before Rose’s story began. So, if you do happen across this and you haven’t read the first one, don’t worry, it’s not necessary. Louise Rezzet does a very good job of moving the story along with just enough focus on the earlier events to let you know that something happened before this.
This succeeded where other YA books don’t, the lead character was a well rounded, whole human being, with flaws and weaknesses who didn’t think herself above others. Rose was so compelling and relatable, that even if you cannot even begin to comprehend what she is going through, you still manage to see her side and feel her pain. Her nemisis, Regina, was similarly humanised, you could see why there was conflict but you didn’t see Regina as just a one dimensional bad guy – she was a person, who like the lead character, had flaws and problems. In fact, even minor characters were so well rounded you knew everything there was to know about them, reading this was like being at school with those people, like you saw them every single day. It really was exceptional story telling.
Another thing that I absolutely loved about this book was the fact that unlike several stories about teenage girls, slut shaming and sexual inequality were broached in this which I appreciated a lot. I read a lot of books about young girls that either make out that they have no self respect because they want to have sex or that they’re ridiculous because they don’t. Where as boys, they can do what they want. I kinda hate that. Because we’re all equal and literature should reflect this. Confessions dealt with these things very well, it pointed out about how unfair men and women are treated when it comes to sex, it makes mention of the fact that although Rose may fancy Jamie, she may have kissed him and she may have been thinking about doing more, she didn’t have to and she didn’t have to do anything she wasn’t comfortable with no matter what he wanted.
I also love that Rose didn’t stand for any nonsense from Jamie (the love interest), she called him out when he messed her around and stood up for herself, and what’s more, the author explained brilliantly that standing up for yourself does not make you a frigid bitch and if a boy (or anyone) thinks that about you then they aren’t worth your time in the first place.
A PLUS POINTS ON SUBTLY TEACHING PEOPLE THE VALUE OF SELF WORTH. You go Louise Rozett Coco, four for you Louise Rozett CoCo.
There were also some wonderfully eloquent moments when discussing Rose’s self consiousness about her body and her ability to sing and be who she wants to be which I’m sure that everyone can relate to. In fact, pretty much the whole of Rose’s narration was eloquent. I’m not saying that this book needs to be up there with the greats, it’s not Hemingway, the language isn’t beautifully poetic, it’s not the best book ever written but it is written exceedingly well and I sincerely hope that this does become one of those books that everyone talks about when mentioning their favourites. If I had to pick out one fault, it would be that this is a little bit too American for me, I don’t mean that in a bad way per say, it’s just, there is a little bit of a translation problem with some slang, kids in England don’t manage to fit “totally” or “like” in between words in a sentence. That also might just be that I’m getting old now and so it wasn’t really for my age group!
I want to read the first book now, I think it could very easily become my favourite series, it’s elegantly written, the characters are spot on, there is no patronising, no belittlleing, this is exactly what a YA book should be. Kudos Louise, kudos.