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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Rosebush by Michele Jaffe

Posted by Irish in Uncategorized7 Comments

Publisher: Razorbill
Source: Picked up at BEA
Publication Date: 14 Dec 2010
Series or Standalone: Standalone
ISBN: 159514353X
Format: Paperback (ARC)
Pages: 304
Michele Jaffe – Blog
Place(s) Traveled to: Jersey Shore
Rating: 1 out of 5 stars
First Line: The image is stark yet beautiful.
When I picked up Rosebush by Michele Jaffe off the showroom floor at BEA I wasn’t really sure what to expect. What I knew was the cover was divine, truly I am in love with it, and the quick glance I gave to back made me curious enough to grab myself a copy. Rosebush is different from a lot of the YA currently on the market as its a dark murder mystery. There are no werewolves, vampires or other paranormal creatures to be found within its pages. So that was refreshing. What wasn’t refreshing was another string of creepy, possessive YA boys that are initially presented as being “the perfect boyfriend.”
Much of Jane and David’s relationship is told in flashbacks and boy did it rub me the wrong way – especially the scene around Chapter 13 when he FORGAVE her for being late when she was being supportive of a friend who needed her. But this forgiveness came out after he belittled her, made her tell her how wrong she was to have canceled on him and after she gave him a gift of cupcakes and many apologies. No No No!!! These things are not ok. I am so tired of this seemingly growing trend in YA where there main leads are these creepy possessive boys. David is borderline abusive. There are scenes in which he is clenching his fists as Jane is apologizing….um yeah…this guy is a time bomb just waiting to happen. I know he’s fictional but the warning signs are there. I watch Lifetimes movies…I know these things.*
Then there is Scott. The seemingly perfect friend and that one scene that really seems to come out of left field and made me ask aloud WTF is going on with this story?!?! Ollie, David’s best friend, is also a creepy, if underdeveloped, side character who just seems to ooze slim. The only seemingly normal male character was Pete but he is so grossly underdeveloped that you really can’t say all that much about him. He is totally forgettable which isn’t a good thing in a character.

The female characters were no better, Jane is a doormat who never grows as a character. Kate is a bit vapid with no depth. In most scenes she’s described as having a blank look in her eyes as she sort of cowers under the light that is Langley. The one thing I liked about Kate was her secret and wish that, that part of her was explored more in depth in the book. Langley is a bit over the top and just came across as fake and very two dimentional. Also, her overuse of the word freals began to make my eye twitch. This then brings me to Jane’s mom who I swear suffers from multiple personality disorder.

In flashbacks to their life in Illinois, Jane’s mom is a concerned parent who always wants to know where her daughter is and when she’ll return. When they move to New Jersey she becomes distant and never checks up on her daughter giving her free reign to do what she wants. Then when Jane is hit by the care she fluctuates between Mommie Dearest moments to the overly concerned parent who wonders what she did wrong to make her daughter go crazy. I like how Rosebush is a YA book that actually features parents but never once does Jane’s mother actually talk TO Jane. Its always about her and around her and she never listens to what Jane says about what happened and what she is thinking or feeling. Jane reacts like a typical teenager and is a bit surely and resentful of how her mother seems to care more about her press conferences than the fact that someone tried to run her over. That is until the end when it seems like there is this whole big happily ever after all is forgiven were a mom/daughter BFF team. Give me a break!

The story in Rosebush is told mostly in flashbacks as Jane is in the hospital after being hit by a car and suffering from some major head trauma. She struggles to remember the events of that night while dealing with phone calls from someone saying they want to kill her while the adults in her life all think that she is slowly going crazy. One adult character that gets under my skin is Officer Rowley who is supposed to be searching for who hit Jane but seems to blame her and thing she’s responsible. Rowley aslo gets very judgmental when Jane will reveal memories – asking snottily why she waited so long to tell her certain facts….um…can you say amnesia brought on by severe head trauma Officer Rowley??? Jane was a victim and yet she was treated like a criminal. I felt for her during those scenes. Although sadly those were the only times I really felt anything for Jane. 
I also got annoyed with how overly descriptive the book was. Not to mention all the brand name dropping. Every piece of clothing mentioned was a blue Prada handbag from their spring line with a light blue satin seem and little gold buckles.** I think I prefer my descriptions detailed but generic if that makes sense. I like to have an idea of what a person is wearing/driving/etc – if it adds to the scene – but brand names and things like that just help to date a novel. Prada might be a big deal now, but five years from now? Ten? Who knows where it will be in terms of popularity. But it wasn’t just the name dropping in descriptions that got to me…it seemed that every time a character would appear his or her entire wardrobe was described in minute detail. This just weighted down the scenes and became a distraction. 
Then there was the mystery. Which for me was predictable on who done it. The clues were pretty obvious especially since Jaffe kept mentioning them over and over. The motivation of the would be killer though – seriously?!?!? Talk about random and meaningless. I just didn’t buy it. I felt like my time was wasted by reading this book. My only consolation was that it was a quick read and so I didn’t waste too much time on it. I could go on as there are other things that I didn’t like but then I just start to get nit picky and I’ve already rambled on enough for the time being. Rosebush was not a book for me and its not a book that I can recommend to others. Though like other books that I haven’t liked I know several others have had a different opinion so will include those links below. If you have read and enjoyed Rosebush? Let me know and I’ll add you to the list.
*And no my knowledge of abusive behavior isn’t limited to Lifetime I took many Human Behavior and Psych classes in college. I am not an expert but I know the signs.
** Not a real description from book by similar to what you’ll find.
People with opinions different than mine

7 Responses to “Rosebush by Michele Jaffe”

  1. mary kate

    Sorry to hear you did not like the book. I still think I’m going to read this one though. Sometimes, I get annoyed when an author includes brand names too. Most of the time it’s just annoying and meaningless. Great Review!

  2. Lenore

    See, as I told you on twitter, I in no way thought these guys were being presented as good boyfriend material. Yes there are many relationships like that where the girl tells herself that she’s with the perfect guy, but Jane certainly realized and openly acknowledged by the end what a loser he was. I had a totally different reading of this than you did! Sorry it rubbed you the wrong way. I really, really enjoyed it.

  3. BookChic

    Ah, well, the fashion stuff is Jaffe’s forte, lol. Her previous YA books included a focus on fashion too and she herself is fashion obsessed, so that crosses over to her novels, I guess.

    Like Lenore, I felt like these guys (except Pete and Scott, who turned out to be crazy) weren’t being presented as boyfriend material. Obviously, Jane realizes throughout the book and certainly by the end where her loyalties lie and she grows a backbone. Those scenes with David made me cringe too, but Jaffe is by no means saying this is ok, especially since she has Jane break up with David.

    In regards to the adults, the mom is definitely weird, but at the same time, I can see how she can be that way (without being clinically insane or whatever)- she’s trying to create this persona for her politician, which she wants to use at all times, however, her daughter’s lied to her, been run over, and was in a coma. Her two personas in a way are clashing and emotions are running high. As for the officer, yeah, she was a bitch, but sometimes adults think they know better. I mean, all they see is that Jane was liked and popular- why would someone want to kill her? It does seem a bit insane to think. So I can see where they’re coming from, but since we’re seeing it from Jane’s perspective, we get frustrated with them right along with her.

    Sorry for the long rant, but just wanted to say some things. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for linking my review!

  4. Erica

    This is kind of bumful to hear – I had thought this was sounded super good. Maybe I will still give it a try at some point?

  5. QNPoohBear

    Teen girls have always creepy possessive guys. Heathcliffe anyone? Mr. Rochester, too. The Bronte sisters must have had a thing for creepy guys.