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Rosie Girl

Review

Rosie Girl

Rosie Velvitt has had her fair share of mishaps throughout her life: she doesn’t remember her mother, her father kept his illness a secret until his death, her best friend is selling her body and her stepmother --- her father’s wife before his death --- obviously does not care for her at all. Even with these circumstances in mind, Rosie is headstrong, comical and loves life. I was motivated by her strong character, realizing that most of us take our living circumstances for granted.

"Very rarely have I ever come through a book that has mesmerized me like Shepard’s ROSIE GIRL. From page one, I was mesmerized by Rosie, wanting to take in as much information I could about her...."

Mental health is often times mentioned in YA novels explicitly, with the protagonist openly dealing with their respective disorder. That’s not how mental health really affects us in real life, though. While I do appreciate the honorable mention of teenagers dealing with anxiety, depression and other disorders, I feel like they are often times used as a plot device to drive the story forward. What I absolutely loved about ROSIE GIRL was that, like in real life, no one realize that the problem existed. Having a mental health disorder may not incapacitate you to function like everyone else. I thought that this was a lovely, sensitive portrayal by Julie Shepard.

ROSIE GIRL is a book that is close to my heart; as a Miami native, I really enjoyed the references to areas that I frequent in a fictional story. I imagine that’s what it’s like to live in New York City, since so many books take place there as well, but I also might just be biased. Shepard brings her expertise in Miami’s vibrant neighborhoods to create a portrayal of Miami many may not realize exists beyond the glitz and glamour of the city’s coastal beaches and skyscrapers.

Very rarely have I ever come through a book that has mesmerized me like Shepard’s ROSIE GIRL. From page one, I was mesmerized by Rosie, wanting to take in as much information I could about her, her puzzle of a family, her best friend Mary, her manner of thinking; she is the product of masterful character creation, the kind of character that encourages you to think deeper, engage with the world within the book.

I finished the book within three hours, eagerly devouring every chapter, every scene, just so that Rosie could find her happy ending. The ending left me speechless, at lack for words; how could I not have realized that everything I believed about the story was not what it seemed? The ending prompted for another reading of the novel, and another, until I was finally sated. Julie Shepard has, without a doubt, created a brilliant piece of work, a staple for any young adult bookshelf. I highly recommend this book for all high schoolers. Be advised that many heavy topics are discussed here: sex, alcohol, mental health. Middle schoolers --- even though no descriptions are graphic, you may want to wait until you’re in high school to delve into ROSIE GIRL.

Reviewed by Rachel D., Teen Board Member on July 12, 2017

Rosie Girl
by Julie Shepard