Confessions of an Almost-Girlfriendby Louise Rozett
Rose Zarelli 2.0 here2.0, as in, innovative superior improved.
Improved how? Glad you asked. This year, I will not:
1. Do things just because other people want me to.
2. Randomly shoot off my mouth.
3. Worry about whether I'm someone's girlfriendor not.
So, what will I do this year?
1. Find my thing/b>/b>/b>
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Rose Zarelli 2.0 here2.0, as in, innovative superior improved.
Improved how? Glad you asked. This year, I will not:
1. Do things just because other people want me to.
2. Randomly shoot off my mouth.
3. Worry about whether I'm someone's girlfriendor not.
So, what will I do this year?
1. Find my thing and be who I want to be.
2. Learn when to speak upand when to shut up.
3. Tell off Jamie Forta and move on.
I'm older and smarter nowI can totally pull this off. How hard can it be?
Read an Excerpt
"Jump, faggot! Jump!"
And just like that, summer is over. Symbolically, anyway.
I've been at this party for sixty seconds and already the tyranny of the swim thugs is so suffocating, it's like I never even had summer break to detox from freshman year.
Not that summer can really be considered a break when you spend the whole thing either folding clothes at the Gap or in therapy. With your mother. Talking about how you had every right to go behind her back and build a memorial website for your dad.
Obviously. Hence, memorial. "Come on, homo! Let's go!"
Mike Darren's backyard is packed with students from every level of Union High's caste system, but it's obvious that this is a swim-team-initiation party. As Mike struts around checking the beer level of the bottomless red plastic cups that were given only to the prettiest freshman girls when they skittered through the tiki-torch gauntlet, Matt Hallis and the rest of the swim thugs are lined up on the edge of the pool like a firing squad. A freshman swimmer dressed in a red polo shirt, rolled-up white jeans and loafers with no socks stands on the diving board, backing away from them, inching closer and closer to the end while looking down at the water every other second. Matt ceremoniously raises his arm in the air and then shows off those leadership qualities that got him elected swim captain even though he's just a sophomore: he fires the first shot, hurling his cup of beer at the freshman.
Thanks to the fact that Matt is an annoyingly talented athlete whose parents paid for him to spend the whole summer in a weight room, it's a perfect throw with a ridiculous amount of force behind it. The beer splatters on the freshman's blond head, the impact nearly knocking him backward as liquid pours down his cheeks, nose and neck, drenching his perfectly pressed shirt. His legs shake a little with the force of the blow and he jostles the diving board. For a second I think he's going to fallloafers and allinto the kidney-shaped pool with blue floodlights shimmering just beneath the waterline. He throws his arms out to the sides and steadies himself, and I can tell by the relieved expression on his face that he thinks he survived, that the hazing wasn't so bad after all.
He slowly lowers his arms and takes a defiant step toward the firing squad. The relief on his face disappears as Matt's underlings lift their cups in the air to follow their leader's example.
"Jump or die, fag!" yells Matt, his drunken slurring making his speech sound even less intelligent than usual, which is hard to do. The cups nail the freshman like a spray of bullets, and he staggers backward, arms pinwheeling as he tries to cope with the beer in his eyes and mouth. He missteps and falls into the water on his back. The thugs cheer as loafers pop up and float on the pool's surface.
Ironically, "Take it Off" by Ke$ha starts playing.
"What are we doing here?" Tracy asks next to me as she watches her ex-boyfriend parade around collecting high fives. It occurs to me that this is exactly the kind of party that Matt spent time at last summer, before freshman year, which is probably what turned him from the nice guy he was in eighth grade to the total jerk he is now.
I look at my best friend. A year ago, all she could talk about was how she couldn't wait to be at parties like this in her cheer-leading uniform with her swimmer boyfriend. Now, she's dressed like a normal personwell, a very fashionable normal personand she can't remember why she wanted to be here in the first place.
I'm so proud of her.
"'We are putting in an appearance at the biggest party of the summer so we can start sophomore year on Tuesday with our heads held high,'" I say, quoting her.
"What a dumb idea," she replies.
The freshman hauls himself out of the pool with no help from anyone. He is shivering a little in his soaked clothes, probably trying to figure out whether he should fight back, leave or grab some beer and pretend everything is cool. There's a radius around him of about 10 feet, as if being the swim thugs' target of choice is a communicable disease. He takes a towel off a wicker stand and tries to dry his shirt.
"He picked the wrong teamin more ways than one," Tracy says. "Not that being gay is a choice," she quickly adds, repeating what our health teacher from last year, Ms. Maso, drilled into us, even though she probably could have gotten fired for stating as fact what some people think is just a belief about homosexuality. As far as we can tell, Ms. Maso's the only teacher at Union High who is actually interested in giving kids usefulaka truthfulinformation.
Matt stumbles over to kiss Lena, the new captain of the cheer-leading team who he had sex with a lot last year while claiming he was a virgin in order to get Tracyhis girlfriend at the timeto sleep with him.
Which, eventually, she did.
I glance at Tracy to see if she cares that Matt and Lena are making out in front of half of Union, but she's not looking at them. She's watching the freshman as he leans over the water with one of those long-handled nets for cleaning the pool. He nabs his shoes and lifts them, dripping, out of the water. "The chlorine is going to totally trash that leather. God, those look like Gucci, don't they?"
I'm about to remind my fashionista friend that I wouldn't know a Gucci loafer from a loaf of bread when suddenly Kristin is standing right in front of us. In her uniform. With her pom-poms.
"Tracy! You can't quit! We can't do it without you!" she shrieks. Or actually, screeches. Kristin, the only freshman to make "The Squad" last year besides Tracy, has a voice straight out of a nightmare. In fact, at Tracy's big Halloween cheer party, she dressed up as some sort of weird demon fairy, with creepy little wings sprouting from her back. It really suited her.
"Now that Regina's off the squad for good " Kristin trails off, her eyes finding their way to me as if it's my fault that Regina De-laddo made my life a living hell last year and then got kicked off the squad, even though she was supposed to be the new captain.
I wonder if being captain was going to be the pinnacle of Re-gina Deladdo's high school career. Or maybe her whole life. I try to muster up sympathy for her but I can't. It's hard to feel anything other than deep dislike for someone who spent half the year writing 911 Bitch on all my desks and lockers after I sort of blew the whistle on a homecoming after-party.
Regina should have written Boyfriend Stealer instead, since that's what she was really mad at me for. Not that I stole her boyfriend. All I did was like him. And it sort of seemed, for a minute there, that he liked me, too.
But that was just me, being an idiot. Because Jamie Forta does not like me.
How do I know? Two ways. 1: I haven't seen or spoken to him all summernot since Regina got him arrested right before he was supposed to pick me up for his junior prom. The last I heard from Jamie Forta was a note, delivered by his best friend Angelo, that said, Rose. Like I said. I am not right for you. I'm different. Believe me. Be good.
Whatever that means.
2: Jamie only became my friend because my brother Peter asked him to. Peter was worried about me when he left for collegeor actually, maybe it was my mother he was worried about. Anyway, Peter wanted someone to "keep an eye" on me. Which Jamie did.
And then there was some kissing.
But he's not my boyfriend. I think his note made that pretty clear.
So, what is a guy who broke up with somebody else and asked you to the prom? Who spent a whole year looking out for you? Who gave you the best first kiss in the history of kissing?
I can see every second of that kiss like I'm watching a movie. It happened in the parking lot during homecoming. He was at the dance with Regina. I was there with Robert. But still, somehow, Jamie and I ended up sitting in a car together. And then he kissed me. This junior I've had a crush on since the first time I saw him play hockey when I was in seventh grade.
It was surreal.
It was also the only good thing that had happened to me since my dad died right before I started at Union High.
I miss Jamie. I missed him all summer, even though I tried not to. What's the point in missing someone who tells you flat out that he's not right for you?
"This year?" Kristin is saying to Tracy, looking a little manic, like if she doesn't lock Tracy down, the world as she knows it is going to implode. "We want you to be our choreographer! Wouldn't that be perfect? I mean, look, last year was kind of lame. But we're actually going to dance this year, with totally hot moves."
Kristin says this as if choreography is a novel concept for a cheerleading team.
"You don't need me," Tracy says. "It's not like we're a competition team. Even with a choreographer, we'll still just be bouncing around in bad polyester blend."
Kristin scowls, looking seriously offended by the idea that her cheers are just bouncing around.
"What's the problem, Trace? Is it that Lena's with Matt? Because they're just hooking up. It's not like she's his 'girlfriend with a capital G'" Kristin uses her pom-poms to make little air quotes as she says this, and I consider grabbing them and throwing them in the pool.
I wonder if I actually made a move to do it because Tracy shoots me a look. Tracy has had a lot of talks with me about my anti-cheerleader stance, reminding me that not all cheerleaders are like Regina, citing herself and a bunch of other nice, smart girls on last year's team as examples. While I see her point, I still haven't managed to let go of the idea that, in general, cheerleaders suck.
I recognize that this viewpoint may be indicative of a character flaw on my part, and I'm okay with that.
In a fake, buttery voice, Kristin says, "Trace, let's go talk in private for a sec, 'kay? Official business," she barks at me as she threads her arm through Tracy's. Tracy looks at me and rolls her eyes as Kristin yanks her toward the patio, her thick blond ponytail swaying with determination. My hand automatically goes to my hair, which is doing what it always doeshanging limply around my shoulders, straight and thin and mousy brown.
I take out the hand-me-down iPhone that Peter gave me before he went back to Tufts, even though I know I have no messages because the only person who has ever called or texted me since I've had it is Tracy. And my mother, of course. But if there's one thing I've learned about these phones, it's that they can make you look busy when you have absolutely nothing to do.
Normally, when I'm trying to look busy, I click on my vocab app and study for the PSAT, which is six weeks away. This year is just a practice run, but I need to totally rock it so I can show my mother that I'll be able to get scholarships and go to college even if she never sees the insurance money my dad's company promised and somehow hasn't managed to deliver yet. But the idea of getting busted studying for the PSATs at a party is kind of horrifying, so I click on "Photos" instead and continue my projectdeleting all the pictures Peter left on the phone when he gave it to me.
At first I was annoyed that my mother insisted Peter give me his old iPhonewhich looked like it had been drop-kicked multiple timesrather than letting me get a new one with my own money. But when I synced the phone to my laptop for the first time and the computer asked if I wanted to erase everything on it, I realized that Peter's phone contained all sorts of information about his life that he had stopped sharing with me the minute he set foot on a college campus and got a girlfriend.
There are over 800 photos on his phone, and my plan is to look at every single one before I make room for mine. I'm hoping it'll give me an idea of just how bad things are with him. So far, I've learned that he smokes and drinks a lot, and takes pictures of his friends smoking and drinking a lot. No surprises there, I guess.
I get through ten pictures of Peter's friends having a much better time at a party than I currently am. Then I look up, see people talking to other human beings, feel like a dumbass and decide to go find something to drink.
I push past the freshman girls huddled together for safety as the swim thugs circle like sharks, and find my way to a cooler that's filled with all sorts of things we're not allowed to drink yet, and soda. It takes me a full minute to find a Diet Coke buried under all the ice. I can barely feel my hand when I pull it back out.
"Wouldn't you rather have some Red Bull and vodka, Rose?"
It takes me a second to recognize Robert, probably because he looks happier than I have ever seen him look in four years. It could also be because he let his hair grow long and he seems somehow cooler. Or maybe it's just because he has his arm around one of the prettiest girls I've ever seen, and she's smiling. At him. Like he's a god.
"Holly, this is Rose Zarelli. Rose, meet Holly Taylor. She just moved here from L.A." I postpone studying the beautiful new girl by noticing two more things about Robert: he is calling me Rose instead of Rosiewhich he's been calling me since the day we first met in sixth gradeand he is sipping his drink in a way that suggests he's at a cocktail party at a swanky country club, not a kegger in a backyard.
When I can no longer put it off, I turn my attention to Holly. You'd think I'd know better than to shake hands with someone at a high school party, but because I'm a little intimidated by the amount of beauty in front of me, I stick my hand out like a giant dork. Holly graciously does the same, and she doesn't even wince when my handfrozen and wet from my arctic Diet Coke expeditiontouches hers.
Not only is she pretty, she's classy. No wonder Robert has that idiotic grin on his face.
"Hi!" she says. Her teeth are shockingly, blindingly white, and they immediately make me sure that I've got spinach stuck in mine. "I'm new at Union. My dad's teaching drama at Yale."
The reply that immediately comes to mind is: I'm not new at Union. My dad was blown to pieces in Iraq. It's accompanied by some horror-movie images that I can't seem to keep out of my head these days.
"Hi," I say too cheerfully, trying to drive away the carnage in my brain. I know that I should offer Holly some interesting piece of information about myself but I'm unsure of what, exactly, that would be.
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Meet the Author
Louise Rozett made her debut as a YA author with Confessions of an Angry Girl, published by HarlequinTEEN. The sequel, Confessions of an Almost-Girlfriend, is due out in July 2013. She lives with her awesome, 120-pound Bernese mountain dog Lester—named after Lester Freamon from The Wire—in one of the world’s greatest literary meccas, Brooklyn. Visit www.Louiserozett.com for more info.
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Since I really enjoyed the first book, I knew I had to read this one. It had so much plot and emotion that at the end of the book I didn’t even know how to process it. Plot: Rose life is pretty much one big giant ball of drama. She is facing lost of a parent as well as lost of love. This plot held up its own with such creativity. It really felt like real life action. Not over done drama but stuff that people deal with everyday. It propelled with deep sentiments in friendship as well as character growth in Rose. Love: At first, I felt so bad for Rose. No matter what she said or didn’t say it always came back to bite her in the butt. After finishing the book, I come to realize it’s not Rose. It’s the people around her. The one that she loves does not have his priority straight therefore, Rose got the brute of himself. He always stood up for other people but never Rose. WHY DUDE WHY? In the end, Rose finally takes control of what she wants. Another words, she is tired of being dealt the crappy hand and is not having it anymore. To see Rose put her foot down and stand up for herself (since everyone she loved fail to do it) she became someone new. I can not wait to read more of that Rose. Ending: *Sigh* Although the ending is not a cliff ending, it breaks my heart. Rose is once again trap in the middle and getting blamed. I’m hoping in the next book Rose 2.0 will come out and put people in their place cause I’m done watching her be a meek Rose. And the dude? Yeah, he best BEG for Rose forgiveness!! A riveting tale that succeeds in creating a solid sequel, Confession Of An Almost-Girlfriend is amazing. Capturing a coming of age tale with great clarity, Rozett’s well crafted tale of an angry yet evolving teenage girl is sensational. Superbly written, Confession Of An Almost-Girlfriend is awesome.
Emotional, Heartrending Sequel! What I Loved: Louise Rozett has done it again! She truly captures the voice of Rose, giving readers a realistic look into the life of a teenager that is both heartbreaking and hopeful. This book deals with depression which isn't always the angsty, weepy, person who refuses to get out of bed, eat or has thoughts of ending their life. Sometimes, it's the person whose stuck in a kind of "nothingness" that they can't seem to escape. They want to feel, but they just can't. (I have struggled with both.) This is where we find Rose in CONFESSIONS OF AN ALMOST-GIRLFRIEND, stuck in the nothingness. She is surrounded by people and situations that should garner an emotional reaction, but don't. Yes, there's the occasional outburst of feeling - anger, desire, frustration and confusion, but for the most part, she's just going through the motions of her life. It would have been very easy for Rozett to lead us into the "nothingness" with Rose and leave her there, but she doesn't. She chooses instead to provide a way out for Rose, a way for her discover who she is, what she wants and most importantly, how to love herself. It's raw, emotional and painful, but it's real. As with CONFESSIONS OF AN ANGRY GIRL, there is an engaging cast of supporting characters (everyone needs an Angelo in their lives) and while I did manage to feel more compassion for Regina and her family, I still don't trust her as far as I can throw her. And then there is the tall, dark and brooding Jamie Forta. Rose wants nothing and everything to do with Jamie all at the same time because he actually does make her feel things. (Me too Rose, me too.) But Jamie remains elusive and just when she thinks she has him figured out, he retreats into the familiarity of his own struggles which broke my heart for both of them. I was torn between wanting to hug all of Jamie's pain away and shaking some sense into him while yelling, "YOU ARE WORTH ALL THE LOVE! JUST LET THEM LOVE YOU JAMIE!" What Left Me Wanting More: FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS JAMIE FORTA, PLEASE LET THERE BE A THIRD BOOK! PLEASEPLEASEPLEASE! *bribes Harlequin Teen with cupcakes* Favorite Quote: "But when Jamie Forta is looking at me, I wish with every bone in my body that I were beautiful." Final Verdict: Emotional, heartrending sequel that will break your heart in all the right ways. READ IT!
Although this is a wonderful book,i want some closer with jamie and rose! Will there be a third book??
Blah I'm bored :/
Confessions of an Almost Girlfriend is the sequel to Confessions of an Angry Girl, a contemporary novel I have read and loved last year. The reason why I loved the first book is mainly because of the refreshing POV of Rose, our main protagonist. Last year had been a tough year for Rose and her family without her father. In Confessions of an Almost Girlfriend, we now don't have a zombie like mother, but one who wants to discuss everything in therapy, as well as a brother who seems to party way more than study. We also have Jamie Forta, the boy who's got Rose all confused, especially with the way things ended in the first book. However this book is much more than the romance, it is actually more to do with how Rose starts learning to cope with everything that has happened to her and learn to deal with the people around her. I was not disappointed in this sequel. I love Rose even more than I did in the first book and I completely identify with her most of the time. She is one of those girls that isn't afraid to speak her mind and is just so real. Too many times there are female protagonists that act too perfect, but Rose is real. She gets royally pissed at someone? She's not above imagining punching them. Heck, I've had my fair share of imaginary punching. She has feelings, she feels angry, jealous, pissed, and betrayed and that makes her more human in my opinion. This is why I love Rose, she's not little miss perfect protagonist. She's also not out to impress anyone, even Jamie Forta. Speaking of Jamie, I loved seeing more of him in this novel.. while he is still as mysterious and elusive as ever, we do see a very vulnerable and sincere side whenever he is with Rose. I really need a happily ever after for those two! You will also notice how Rose is developing throughout this novel, how her reactions to similar situations in the first and second book are different. Rose actually started calling herself Rose 2.0, and I really believed her... most of the time. A girl can only take so much right? especially when Rose has to deal with a ton of issues and problems that are thrown at her in this book. Overall, I enjoyed her train of thoughts and how her relationship with Jamie didn't become her everything. I can't wait for the third book and tie all the loose ends, especially the one concerning Jamie. I recommend this novel to all contemporary fans; You are seriously missing out if you haven't started this series.
I fell in love with Confessions of an Angry Girl by author Louise Rozett last summer and was so happy when I got to start reading Confessions of an Almost-Girlfriend. I loved the main character, the situations she was placed in and of course Jamie Forta (who is drop-dead attractive and my forever-favorite-bad-boy). Fans of the first novel will love the sequel, I know I did. Confessions of an Almost-Girlfriend takes place right after where Confessions of an Angry Girl left off. Rose has just finished her first year of high school and is moving into her second. She has big plans in store for the school year. She’s discovered that she’s a singer, her best friend is becoming a total fashionista and Rose intends to make sure that things are different this year. Trouble at a party before the school year starts results in Rose starting with another scandal as she begins to notice that like herself, her closest friends have also changed. Physically and personality-wise. Rose decides to join her school’s production of Anything Goes and hopes that she will be cast as a main character and show off her killer voice. As the year progresses, Rose begins to notice that the plans she made at the start of the year aren’t exactly falling into place. Then Jamie Forta returns, in love with Rose one minute and telling her that he can’t be with her the next. Rose doesn’t know what to believe and isn’t sure if the stories she’s heard about Jamie and her once-bully Regina are true. Her best-friend Tracy is keeping secrets, her brother has been kicked out of school and her mother is driving her crazy. This is definitely not what Rose expected from this year. The big thing that I loved most about the Confessions series is that it properly executes how teenagers are when it comes to the main character Rose. I know a lot of reviews that I’ve read for the first novel say that Rose doesn’t seem to have much character development and stuff, but what made me love the series and Rose was that she’s realistic. As a teenager myself who entered my first year of high school with Rose, I really liked reading about a main character who was going through the same problems that I was (for the most part) and had to overcome those challenges. In the sequel, Rose is entering her second year (which I will be doing soon) and (like myself) plans on reinventing who she is. Totally awesome because that’s pretty much what most teenagers are doing at this point in their lives. If you’re looking for a realistic main character who a teen can relate to, you need to read about Rose Zarelli. The big thing that actually had me going nuts with “I-know-that-feel!” was Rose’s descission to become a singer. The same big choice that I have made for myself. Her school’s musical was Anything Goes, which is the same one that my school put on. I auditioned and hope to land a lead role (just like Rose) and came up being casted as a member of the ensemble. I totally knew how Rose felt, how disappointed she got, and loved how realistic it was. With the return of Jamie Forta came the return of my love for him. Jamie gets way more attractive in this novel. His tall, dark and brooding self is playing with Rose’s heart and while that did get me upset, he has his secrets. We only start to learn about his relationship with Regina and her family, while also finding out secrets about Regina that nobody knew. Regina’s younger brother has just entered his first year of high school and his being ridiculed for being openly gay. Lots of drama to add to Rose’s life. I’d recommend this series to teen readers who are looking for a series that will relate to them in some way or form, fans of contemporary novels and high school drama will love the Confessions series. I honestly cannot wait for the next novel and look forward to growing up with Rose.
MY REVIEW I received a paperback copy of this book from Mira Ink in exchange for my honest review. I had requested it on Netgalley also and was accepted for an e-copy after I had the paperback! So, the cover goes really well with the other book in the series. I like it when all the covers have a similar theme. I love the font styles, placement and styles on the cover. I also love the byline "If you're not true to yourself, why should anyone else be?" In this book Rose is a little older and entering her sophomore year but is she any wiser? Well rose seems to think so. this year she has a plan, she is Rose mark 2. Rose mark 2 is a more confident version of the old Rose. This year Rose is going to stay away from any trouble or controversy, she is determined not to be the one to come to the rescue or be called to Principal Chen's office to be pumped/interrogated for information on the other students anymore. Rose is also going to try something new, she's going to be a singer, and another thing, she isn't going to be at the beck and call of Jamie Forta anymore! So Summer break is over and Rose hasn't seen Jamie, nor has he returned any of her calls or texts, but there's nothing she can do about that so she's just going to carry on and be Rose mark 2.0, who doesn't care about Jamie, or think about him all the time. Traci, Rose's best friend has talked her into going to a party at one of the swim team houses. All looks the same as usual, girls posing, guys drinking and eyeing up the posing girls. then the swim thugs start hazing Conrad. It starts with calling the guy names, homophobic names that get worse and worse. The hazing goes on becoming more physical as well as the chants and shouting, to the point it looks like Conrad is going to drown. Rose has a dilemma, the old Rose would call the cops or...or do something Seeing Rose is a "new" person she decides to reach over and try to drag Conrad out of the pool. Of course she can't quite reach and as she leans out further and further one of the swim guys thinks its hilarious to push her in too! It sets off a whole chain of events where Rose has to decide whether to once again speak up or keep her mouth shut very something she knows is totally wrong. Of course whilst this is going on there's drama over her website (her mum doesn't like it), her brother has been taking drugs (maybe his way of coping with his dad's death?), she's still in therapy with her mum, her mum decides to date, and the list goes on and on . . . . oh yeah and there's the ever indecisive Jamie Forta too. This book is even better than the first. It's so well written, flows really well, medium paced and is so realistic, it's brilliant. So did I enjoy the book? I really did, I definitely didn't want to put the book down, I just felt like reading another chapter, then another,....then just one more etc. Would I recommend the book? Yes, though the book is set in an American school, it could easily be tweaked and set in a school in England. All schools have the "it" girls, the sporty guys, the nerdy geeky people, the bullies etc. Would I read a Book 3? Yes, Please. I need to know more about what happens with Rose's family and of course her on off relationship with Jamie Forta, there's so much more to happen to Rose. I think I'd secretly like her to date Angelo! Would I read other books by Louise Rozett? I definitely would, I love the pace, style and tone of her writing.
4.5 Stars 'Confessions of an Almost-Girlfriend' is a fresh young adult contemporary novel that continues to follow leading lady Rose Zarelli as she attempts to navigate her way through high school. Rose has begun her sophomore year of school and she's determined that things will be better than last year. She has great plans for herself - to join the school musical, become the sassy version of herself that doesn't get walked all over, and to finally figure out where she and Jamie Forta stand. Only it seems that life might have other plans in store for Rose and if she's not careful she'll end up being the type of girl who misses out on a lot of other people's problems because she's too focused on her own. This was a fantastic second installment in a highly entertaining and realistic YA contemporary series. Rose is a great main character - she's witty, smart, devoted to her friends, and yet she's also flawed in ways that many of us are. Her strengths and weaknesses are what makes her so realistic and easy to identify with - I found myself connecting with her right away. The high school setting is one so commonly used that it almost feels overdone, but the author writes about the ins and outs of school along with the dramatic events and feelings that the characters experience in such a powerful way that it felt like I was back in high school right alongside Rose. The book deals with deep and important issues such as homophobia, bullying, fear, guilt, drugs, peer pressure and so many other common teen problems that need to be dealt with more often. These topics were honestly dealt with in the book, so it felt realistic and not glazed over like some YA contemporary books do. Reading this novel brought back several memories of when I was in high school - it reminded me of the pain, humiliation, fear, and anxiety that the bullying and peer pressure brought, but it also reminded me of the good times - good friends, laughing at stupid things, crushes on boys and the small things that seemed bigger than life back then. The writing of the novel was superb and it was only the author's immense talent and vivid details that allowed me to travel to high school once again alongside Rose. Overall, this is one of the best YA contemporary books I've read - one that pits serious teen problems alongside witty dialogue and romance - in a way that was a real breath of fresh air in the genre. Highly recommended for fans of the genre and those looking for a great YA novel in general. Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.