Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Review: Rose Sees Red

Rose Sees Red
Cecil Castellucci
2010; Scholastic; ISBN 978-0-545-06079-0 (hardcover)

Summary: Rose has been especially depressed since she started at the New York High School for the Performing Arts. Everyone seems to be a better dancer than she is, and she can't find it in her to apply herself. Going to Arts ended her friendship with Daisy, and she's been too miserable to make new ones. Then, one night, Rose finds a new friend: Yrena, a Russian dancer who lives in the building next door. Yrena climbs into Rose's room from the fire escape, asking Rose to help her explore American society for a night. Rose is hesitant at first, but impulsively decides to go with Yrena. Together, the two girls will stay out all night, go to a party, and find that political differences fade away in the face of friendship. And in finding a friend, Rose finds herself.

Set in the early 1980s, Rose Sees Red is an intriguing look at friendship during a time of upheaval. Rose is a complex girl who auditions for the performing arts high school, but then has trouble once she arrives due to her depression. It's only when she takes a chance on friendship--offered by Yrena and by other students at Arts--that Rose is able to start climbing out of her depression. The political tension between the US and the USSR squaring off is contrasted by the easy friendship that develops between Rose and Yrena. New York in 1982 is vividly captured by Castellucci, showing that she is equally adept at the past as she is at contemporary Los Angeles. Hand Rose Sees Red to your arty patrons or to anyone who liked The Loud Silence of Francine Green by Karen Cushman.

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