Wild Roses

( 72 )

Overview

You would have never recognized the Dino I lived with in the books that had been written about him before the "incident." No one had a clue. No one seemed to see what was coming.

Seventeen-year-old Cassie Morgan has a secret: She's living with a time bomb (a.k.a. her stepfather, Dino Cavalli). To the public, Dino is a world-renowned violinist and composer. To Cassie, he's an erratic, self-centered bully.

Dino has always been difficult, but as ...

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Overview

You would have never recognized the Dino I lived with in the books that had been written about him before the "incident." No one had a clue. No one seemed to see what was coming.

Seventeen-year-old Cassie Morgan has a secret: She's living with a time bomb (a.k.a. her stepfather, Dino Cavalli). To the public, Dino is a world-renowned violinist and composer. To Cassie, he's an erratic, self-centered bully.

Dino has always been difficult, but as he prepares for his comeback concert, something in him begins to shift. He seems more high-strung than ever, set off by any little thing. He stops sleeping, starts chain-smoking. And he grows increasingly paranoid, saying things that Cassie is desperate to make sense of, but can't. So she does what she thinks she must: She tries to hide his behavior from the outside world. Before, she was angry. Now, she is afraid.

Enter Ian Waters: a brilliant young violinist, and Dino's first-ever student. The minute Cassie lays eyes on Ian she knows she's doomed. She tries everything to keep away from him, but is drawn to him in a way she's never felt before. It should be easy. It should be beautiful. It is not. Cassie thought she understood that love could bring pain. But this union will have consequences she could not have imagined.

As the novel crashes through two irreparable events and speeds toward its powerful end, one thing becomes clear: In the world of insanity, nothing is sacred.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"Cassie's first-person narrative will sweep up readers," said PW in a starred review, "and her exploration of the fine line between madness and genius alternates between humor and painful truth." Ages 12-up. (Jan.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
KLIATT - Claire Rosser
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, September 2005: The author of The Queen of Everything and Honey, Baby, Sweetheart keeps up her funny, smart banter in this story of an impossible stepfather. The narrator is a 17-year-old named Cassie, who has watched her mother break up her family because of her devotion to a neurotic but genius violinist/composer. For several years, Cassie has been going back and forth between her father's home and her mother's. She loves her mother dearly and can't understand how she can put up with the nearly constant hysterics, paranoia, and verbal abuse emanating from her new husband, Cassie's stepfather. This is all relayed in a tragic-comic voice, with wonderful metaphors tumbling out of Cassie's mind. Cassie's mother rationalizes all by seeing her new husband as a tortured genius who is mentally ill but capable of producing incredible beauty. Enter Ian, a gifted music student who must succeed in an audition to be admitted to a top music school. Cassie's stepfather takes Ian on as a student and that's how the two young people meet; however, the attraction they immediately feel for one another has to be beaten down and ignored because of Ian's upcoming competition and because the stepfather absolutely forbids their romance as a distraction Ian can't afford. Nothing like forbidden love to make a good story line! Entertaining without being shallow, this will have strong appeal as an outrageous family story. There is some swearing here and there, totally appropriate to the occasions described.
KLIATT
The author of The Queen of Everything and Honey, Baby, Sweetheart keeps up her funny, smart banter in this story of an impossible stepfather. The narrator is a 17-year-old named Cassie, who has watched her mother break up her family because of her devotion to a neurotic but genius violinist/composer. For several years, Cassie has been going back and forth between her father's home and her mother's. She loves her mother dearly and can't understand how she can put up with the nearly constant hysterics, paranoia, and verbal abuse emanating from her new husband, Cassie's stepfather. This is all relayed in a tragic-comic voice, with wonderful metaphors tumbling out of Cassie's mind. Cassie's mother rationalizes all by seeing her new husband as a tortured genius, who is mentally ill but capable of producing incredible beauty. Enter Ian, a gifted music student who must succeed in an audition to be admitted to a top music school. Cassie's stepfather takes Ian on as a student and that's how the two young people meet; however, the attraction they immediately feel for one another has to be beaten down and ignored because of Ian's upcoming competition and because the stepfather absolutely forbids their romance as a distraction Ian can't afford. Nothing like forbidden love to make a good story line! Entertaining without being shallow, this will have strong appeal as an outrageous family story. There is some swearing here and there, totally appropriate to the occasions described. KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2005, Simon & Schuster, 298p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Claire Rosser
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Seventeen-year-old amateur astronomer Cassie Morgan wants a "normal" life, but that possibility flew out the window three years earlier when her musician mother, divorced five days, married famous violinist Dino Cavalli. Living with arrogant Dino is like walking on eggshells, and the usually competent, clearheaded teen believes he has the unique ability to make her feel "incapable to the point of needing to be institutionalized." Any little thing sets him off, and the problem only gets worse when he stops taking his depression medication while he prepares for his huge comeback concert. When Ian Waters, a promising-and poverty-stricken-young violinist, shows up for lessons with the maestro, Cassie falls in love at first sight despite her belief that passion only brings about pain. Dino demands that the two stay away from one another to avoid compromising the young man's focus, but that is impossible. And as Dino's concert and Ian's scholarship audition draw closer, even Cassie's loving mother can't protect her from Cavalli's escalating bizarre and paranoid behavior. With its profound observations and vivid, if occasionally profane, language, this multifaceted and emotionally devastating novel will stick with readers.-Susan Riley, Mount Kisco Public Library, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Caletti probes the links between madness and artistic genius, passion and stability. Cassie's famous violinist/composer stepfather Dino is "both crazy and a genius," a person the politically correct might call "joy-impaired," "excessively imaginative," "abundantly security conscious" or "emotionally challenged," but who Cassie sees as "hugely depressed," "delusional" and "paranoid." Now, with the looming pressure of an impending concert, he's getting more out of control every day. The situation is exacerbated when against Dino's wishes, Cassie begins seeing his student, an impoverished but incredibly talented violin prodigy who, though ambivalent about a music career, is working furiously to prepare for an audition. At times, the narrative seems to lose focus or drag, and the madness-genius connection fails to convince. Still, Caletti's perceptions on divorce are crystalline, the story is populated with delightfully oddball yet solidly real characters and shot full of genuine wit, and readers will support her likable protagonist's quest to find the balance she needs. (Fiction. 12+)
From the Publisher
"Multifaceted and emotionally devastating."

School Library Journal, starred review

"Cassie's first-person narrative will sweep up readers, and her exploration of the fine line between madness and genius alternates between humor and painful truth."

Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Populated with delightfully oddball yet solidly real characters and shot full of genuine wit."

Kirkus Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Cassie, 17, lives with her musician mother and her stepfather, Dino Cavali, a violinist who is considered to be a musical genius in Deb Caletti's novel (Simon & Schuster, 2005). But Dino is mentally ill and relies on his medication. Cassie tries very hard not to get involved in Dino's work, until he starts to tutor Ian, a talented violinist to whom Cassie is intensely drawn. As Dino prepares for his concert and Ian's scholarship audition, he stops taking his meds and become increasingly paranoid. Angela Dawe's narration is spot-on, and she fully voices all the characters. The story is told in the first-person through flashbacks, and Dawe becomes Cassie. The intensity with which the tension mounts is so real that listeners will feel as if they are living the story right alongside Cassie and her long-in-denial mother as her life comes crashing down around both of them. This stellar production will please Caletti's fans.—Stephanie A. Squicciarini, Fairport Public Library, NY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781417773503
  • Publisher: San Val
  • Publication date: 12/21/2006
  • Edition description: Reprint

Meet the Author

Deb Caletti

Deb Caletti is the award-winning author of more than ten novels, including Honey, Baby, Sweetheart; The Nature of Jade; Stay; and The Story of Us. In addition to being a National Book Award finalist, Deb’s work has gained other distinguished recognition, including the PNBA Best Book Award, the Washington State Book Award, and School Library Journal’s Best Book award, as well as finalist citations for the California Young Reader Medal and the PEN USA Literary Award. She lives with her family in Seattle. You can visit her at DebCaletti.com and become a fan on Facebook.

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Read an Excerpt

Wild Roses


By Deb Caletti

Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing

Copyright © 2005 Deb Caletti
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0689867662

Chapter One

To say my life changed when my mother married Dino Cavalli (yes, the Dino Cavalli) would be like saying that the tornado changed things for Dorothy. There was only one other thing that would impact my life so much, and that was when Ian Waters drove up our road on his bicycle, his violin case sticking out from a compartment on the side, and his long black coat flying out behind him.

My stepfather was both crazy and a genius, and I guess that's where I should start. If you've read about him recently, you already know this. He was a human meteor. Supposedly there's an actual, researched link between extreme creativity and mental illness, and I believe it because I've seen it with my own eyes. Sure, you have the artists and writers and musicians like my mom, say, who are talented and calm and get things done without much fuss. The closest she gets to madness is when she gets flustered and calls me William, which is our dog's name. But then there are the van Goghs and Hemingways and Mozarts, those who feel a hunger so deep, so far down, that greatness lies there too, nestled somewhere within it. Those who get their inner voice and direction from the cool, mysterious insides of the moon, and not from the earth like the rest of us. In other words, brilliant nuts.

I guess we should also begin with an understanding, and that is, if you are one of those easily offended people who insist that every human breath be politically correct, it's probably best we just part company now. I'll loan you my copy of Little House in the Big Woods (I actually loved it when I was eight) and you can disappear into prairie perfection, because I will not dance around this topic claiming that Dino Cavalli was joy-impaired (hugely depressed), excessively imaginative (delusional), abundantly security conscious (paranoid as hell) or emotionally challenged (wacko). I'm not talking about your mentally ill favorite granny or sick best uncle -- I'm not judging anyone else who's ill. This is my singular experience. I've lived it; I've earned the right to describe how it felt from inside my own skin. So if your life truths have to be protected the same way some people keep their couches in plastic, then ciao. Have a nice life. If we bump into each other at Target, I'm the one buying the sour gummy worms, and that's all you need to know about me.

Anyway, madness and genius. They're the disturbed pals of the human condition. The Bonnie and Clyde, the Thelma and Louise, the baking soda and vinegar. Insanity just walks alongside the brilliant like some creepy, insistent shadow. Edgar Allan Poe, Virginia Woolf, Charles Dickens. William Faulkner, Dostoevsky, Cezanne, Gauguin. Tolstoy, Sylvia Plath, Keats, and Shelley. Walt Whitman and F. Scott Fitzgerald and Michelangelo. All wacko. And we can't forget the musicians, because this story is about them, especially. Schumann and Beethoven, Chopin and Handel and Rachmaninov and Liszt. Tchaikovsky and Wagner.

And, of course, Dino Cavalli.

In that group you've got every variety of creation: the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and Farewell to Arms and the epic poem, "Ode on a Grecian Urn," which, if you ask me, finds its true greatness as a cure for insomnia. You've also got every variety of crazy act. You've got the gross -- van Gogh slicing off his earlobe and giving it to a woman (you can just hear her -- Damn, I was hoping for chocolates), and the unimaginable -- Virginia Woolf filling her pockets with stones to hold her down in the river so that she could do an effective job of drowning. And even the funny -- the reason our dog is named William, for example, is because Dino Cavalli bought him during a particularly bad bout of paranoia and named him for his enemy and former manager and agent, William Tiero. He liked the idea of this poor, ugly dog named William that would eat used Kleenex if he had the chance. He liked yelling at William for getting too personal with guests. I can hear his voice even now, in his Italian accent. Get your nose out of Mrs. Kadinsky's crotch, William, he'd say with mock seriousness, and everyone would picture William Tiero with his bald head and beetle eyes, and they would laugh. Man, oh, man. You didn't want to get on Dino Cavalli's bad side.

Some people think the brilliant have been touched by God, and if this is true then Dino Cavalli got God on the day he was wearing black leather and listening to his metal CDs, feeling a bit twisted and in the kind of mood where you laugh at people when they fall down. God wearing a studded collar. Because, sure, Dino Cavalli was a world-renowned composer and violinist, a combination of talent virtually unheard of, but there were days he didn't get out of bed, even to shower. And, sure, he wrote and performed Amore Innamorato, said to, "have moments of such brutal tenderness and soulful passion that it will live forever in both the hearts of audience members and the annals of modern composing," as well as the unforgettable Artemisia ("breathtaking and heart-stopping work with the brilliance of the seventeenth-century masters."), but he also had the ability to make you feel small to the point of disappearance. His perfectionism could shatter your joy like a bullet through a stained glass window.

What I'm saying is, he possessed magnificent and destructive layers. Either that or he was just plain possessed. I mean, it all got toned down in the papers, but we all know what could have happened to William Tiero that day. We all now know what happens when you self-destruct. Yet I've got to say, listening to his music can make you cry. Goose bumps actually rise up along your arms.

Everyone wants to get close to genius and fame, claim pieces of it, mostly because it's the closest they'll ever get to fame themselves. You learn this when you live with someone renowned. Those who know that Dino Cavalli was my stepfather think I'm near enough to fame to call it good. Fame, the nearness of it, the possibility of it rubbing off, seems to turn people into obsessed Tolkien characters, hypnotized not by a ring but by the thought of getting on TV. Luckily at my school, most of the kids who hear the name Dino Cavalli will think it's some brand of designer shoes. To the majority I am just Cassie Morgan, regular seventeen-year-old trying to figure out what to do with my life and hoping my jeans are clean and swearing at myself for cutting my own bangs again. Few know my stepfather was once on the cover of Time magazine, or was also well known for the journals in which he wrote of his sexual adventures as a young composer in Paris. Everyone is too involved in the school game of How Orange Is Tiffany Morris's Makeup Today to care, even if they did. But the teachers and orchestra students, they know who I am, and I see what it means to them. Once during a school concert this kid was staring so hard at me that he accidentally stepped into an open viola case and wore it like an overgrown shoe for a few seconds on the gym floor.

And then there's Siang Chibo, who used to follow me home every day. She would walk far behind me and duck behind trees when I turned around, like some cartoon spy. She once tripped over a tree root in the process and spewed the contents of her backpack all over the place. You couldn't find a more incompetent stalker. I went over to her after she fell, and her palms even had those little pockmarks on them from landing on gravel. Now we have a Scrooge-Tiny Tim partnership of reluctant giving and nauseating gratitude. To Siang, I'm second in line in the worship chain of command, right after Dino. If people look at the famous as if they've been touched by God, then they look at those close to the famous as the ones who have seen Jesus' face in the eggplant.

You would have never recognized the Dino I lived with in the books that had been written about him before the "incident." No one had a clue. No one seemed to see what was coming. His demons were the real truth, but those who clutched at his fame made him into someone else. Just listen to Irma Lattori, a villager from Sabbotino Grappa, interviewed in Edward Reynolds's Dino Cavalli -- The Early Years: An Oral History, the much-quoted source of Dino's childhood. It's his only authorized biography, in which the people who knew him then tell the events of his life.

Everyone in Sabbotino Grappa knew Dino Cavalli had that special light, Irma says in the book. From the time he was an infant. I would see his mother, Maria, walk him around in his carriage. She was a beautiful woman with round, warm eyes. She always dressed elegantly, oh, so rich. She had tucked a peacock feather in the back of his carriage. It rose up, like a grand flag. You want to know where he got Un Cielo Delle Piume Del Peacock? That was his inspiration. Maria always appreciated the unusual. She wore hats, even when no one wore hats. Stunning. No wonder he became a ladies' man. He was born, you see, taking in the world and using it in his work. Born to beauty and greatness. He couldn't have been more than six months old, this time I am remembering. He reached his hands up to me when I bent to look at him. He wanted me to hold him. He wouldn't let my sister Camille go near him.

And Frank Mancini, gardener, another one of the villagers from tiny Sabbotino Grappa: A beautiful garden, beautiful. Four hundred years old. Magnolias in the spring. Plumbagos, hibiscus in the summer. Lemon trees and figs. An olive garden. I worked my fingers to the bone. Now I cannot tie my own shoe, my fingers are so crippled. But it was a beautiful garden, and you could hear the child playing the violin through the open window. Small boy, not more than four years old, and he played the violin! A divine gift. His mother played the piano. Music was in his veins. And the smell of lemon trees. I didn't mind that the father was cheap and barely paid me enough to buy food.

All in all, as gagging as a dental X ray.

"No one ever mentions that he is a wife-stealing psycho," my father said once after Dino was featured in the entertainment section of the newspaper -- Famed Musician Seeks Local Inspiration. He tossed the paper down on his kitchen table. "With bad breath."

"You haven't even been close enough to him to smell his breath," I said.

"Who says you have to be close," my father said. Let's just say my father didn't read the divorce books that say you are not supposed to talk badly about the other parent and the other parent's partner. Actually, I think he probably did read them, but has somehow convinced himself that only my mother is required to follow these rules. He ignores the other Divorced Parenting Don'ts too, the ones where you aren't supposed to grill your kid about what happens in the other home. Sometimes he tries to be casual about his fishing around, and other times it's like I'm in one of those movies where the criminal sits under the bare lightbulb in a room and after twelve hours confesses to a crime he didn't commit.

My parents were divorced three years ago, and my mother married Dino five days after the divorce was final. Do the math and figure out what happened. If you've been through this, you know the vocabulary. Parenting plan, custody evaluation, visitation, court orders, mediation, transfer time. And can anyone say restraining order? I can talk with my friend Zebe about these things. Ever since I met her in Beginning Spanish we've spoken the same language, in more ways than one. Her new stepfather may not be famous, but we understand the most important things about each other. She knows that you really don't give a crap about who gets you on Labor Day, that no-fault divorce are the three stupidest words ever spoken, and that you are not split as easily as your parents' old Commodores albums, and there was even a war over those.

"Barry Manilow, in my house. Not Commodores," Zebe told me once. "Which they both hated, by the way. For a week they were flying e-mails at each other over the goddamn F-ing Copacabana LP. They each accused the other of taking it. 'Did your mother find my "missing" album yet?' 'Next time you go to your father's, look for my stolen record.' God."

"Was anyone hurt?" I asked.

"Aside from the e-mail bloodbath, the only thing that was hurt was both of their egos when one of them finally remembered that they brought the album to some party back in the seventies and left it there on purpose."

"You wonder why they ever got married."

"Mi mono toca la guitarra," she said. My monkey plays the guitar. It's what she wrote on every Spanish test question she didn't know the answer to. I cracked up. Zebe's the greatest.

If my father treated my time at my mother's house as if he were the gold miner panning for The Dirt of Wrongdoing, my mother, on the other hand, would listen to any news of my father the same way someone who had plans to stay inside listens to a weather forecast. Hearing just enough to make sure there was no tornado coming. This is one difference between the leaver and the left, the dumper and the dumpee. The dumpee has the moral righteousness, and the desire to hear every dirty fact that will prove that You get what you deserve in the end. The dumper has the guilt, and wants to know as little about the other party as possible, in case they hear something that will make them feel even more guilty.

"Dad's got a new client. Some big Microsoft person," I told Mom once. It was after she and Dino had first gotten married, and I was starting to get a real clear picture of what she'd gotten us into. I guess I was hoping she was seeing, too, and that a little nudge in Dad's direction might help along the underdog. I hadn't learned yet that in terms of divorce, your only real hope is not to play team sports.

"Oh, really. Good for him," she said. She was braiding her long hair. She had a rubber band in her teeth. Oh, weewy. Ood for him. She finished the braid, put her arms down. "I need to find my overalls. I'm planting tulip bulbs today. Planting just calls for overalls." She went to her closet, flung open the doors.

"It'll bring him a lot of money," I said. My father was an accountant. He was a white undershirt in a world of silk ties and berets and pashmina. He was a potato amongst pad Thai and curry and veal scallopini. He was still madly in love with my mother. He didn't have a chance.

"Great," she said. "My God, look at this mess. The man is incapable of hanging anything up." She said this with a great deal of affection, poked a toe at a pile of Dino's shirts. "Overalls, overalls. Bingo." She held them up.

"You're not even listening."

"I'm listening, I'm listening. You're just making me feel like I'm in some Parent Trap movie. You're not going to put frogs in Dino's shoes or something, are you?"

Mom's unwillingness to get involved may have also had to do with her own experience of her parent's divorce. Thirty-two years after the end of their marriage, she still can't tell one of her parents that she's visiting the other, or she'll be punished with coldness, hurt, and upset. Thirty-two years later, and her mother still refers to her father's wife as That Tramp.

"I thought you'd like to know. Jesus, Mom."

"Good. Thanks for telling me. You're not the Parent Trap type anyway. What was the name of that actress? Started with an H. Heather. Hayley! Mills. God, how'd I remember that? You, girl, are not Hayley Mills. I'd like to see them put you in a remake. Disney'd ditch the hemp bracelet. Don't you think? Too edgy."

"I hope squirrels dig up your tulip bulbs," I said.

She socked my arm. "You know how much I respect you. I like your hemp bracelet."

Respect -- that was what was lacking in the other member of our household. Dino didn't respect me, or my mother, either, for that matter. Or anyone who wasn't his own perfect self. See, Dino hadn't always acted crazy. For a while, he was just plain arrogant. Dino was fluent in criticism, as generous in spirit as those people who keep their porch lights off all Halloween. If my mom was dressed up to go out and looking beautiful, he'd point out her pimple. If you opened the wrong end of the milk carton, he'd make you feel you were incapable to the point of needing to be institutionalized. After I'd bought this jacket with fur around the collar and cuffs at Old Stuff, Dino had pointedly told me that people who tried to make some statement of individuality were still only conventional among those of their group.

"I'm not trying to make a statement," I said. I was trying to keep the sharpness out of my voice, but it was like trying to hold water in your hands -- my tone was seeping through every crack and opening possible.

"I didn't say you were. Did I say you were? It was a commentary on dress and group behavior," he said in his Italian accent. He chewed a bite of chicken. He was a loud, messy eater. You could hear the chicken in there smacking around against his tongue. His words were offhand, casually bragging that they meant more to me than they did to him. "By avoiding conventions, one falls into other conventions." He plucked a bit of his shirt to indicate someone's clothing choice. I felt the ugly curl of anger starting in my stomach.

"I'm sorry, I just don't want to be one of those See My Thong girls who bat their eyelashes at boys, rah rah rah, wearing a demoralizing short skirt and bending over so a crowd sees their butt," I said. "That's convention." Anger made my face get hot.

"Be who you like. I was simply making an observation. You don't need to bite me with your feminist teeth."

Honestly, I don't know how my mother didn't poison his coffee. Certainly I wondered what the hell she was thinking by loving him. If this is what could happen to a supposedly charming, romantic guy, then no, thank you. And this was before everything happened, even. Before Dino's craziness became like a roller coaster car, rising to unbelievable heights, careening down with frightening speed; before he started teaching Ian Waters; before he began composing again and preparing for his comeback after a three-year dry spell. But in spite of what must have been perfect attendance in asshole classes, Dino was one of those people who got under your skin because you cared what they thought when you wished you didn't. So after that conversation I did the only thing I could. I wore the coat the next day, too. The truth was, I wasn't sure I liked it either. It was vaguely Wilma Flintstone and Saber Tooth Tiger. Little hairs fell into my Lucky Charms.

Because I wanted his approval and hated that fact, I did what I could to make sure I didn't get it at all. One of those things you should be in therapy for. Before I met Ian Waters, for example, I had no interest in music, which was an act of will living in a house where my mother was a cellist and my stepfather a prominent violinist and composer. But Ian Waters changed that about me, and everything else, too. Before I met Ian the music I liked best was something that sounded, if Dino was right, like your mother hunting for the meat thermometer in the drawer of kitchen utensils. My interest was in astronomy -- science, something that was mine and that was definite and exact. I felt that the science of astronomy existed within certain boundaries that were firm and logical. If you think about how vast the universe is, this gives you some idea of how huge and wild I thought the arts were.

After three years of living with Dino Cavalli, I had had enough of people of passion. Passion seemed dangerous. I'd seen the tapes of his performances, the way he had his chin to his violin as if he were about to consume it, the way his black hair would fly out as he played, reaching crescendo, eyes closed. It made you feel like you needed to hold on to something. I'd never felt that kind of letting go before. It all seemed one step away from some ancient tribal possession. And that crescent scar on his neck. That brown gash that had burned into him from hours and hours and hours of the violin held against his skin. He had played until the instrument had made a permanent mark, had become part of his own body. If Chuck and Bunny are right, and everyone should hunger for life and its banquet, I would rather have the appetite of my neighbor Courtney and her two brothers, over Dino's. All Courtney and her brothers hungered for in life was a box of Junior Mints and MTV, fed straight through the veins. Dino, he could inhale an emotional supermarket and still be ravenous.

Right then, the only thing I was hungry for was to have Dino Cavalli, this flaming, dying star, out of my universe. It was the only thing I would dare be passionate about. That is, until Ian Waters veered into our driveway on his bike, his tires scrunching in the gravel, scaring Otis, the neighbors' cat, who ran across the grass like his tail was on fire. Otis was running for his life. In a way, that was when I began finally running to mine.

Copyright 2005 by Deb Caletti



Continues...


Excerpted from Wild Roses by Deb Caletti Copyright © 2005 by Deb Caletti.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 72 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2007

    Too Revolting for Words.

    This novel is by far the most excrusiatingly painful thing I've ever set my eyes on. Predictable, shallow, with cliches galore, I should have set this book on fire. I regret ever setting my hands on this book. WILD ROSES is just your average, stereotypical, 'forbidden love blah blah' crap in the YOUNG ADULT section in book stores. Storyline: ordinary pessimistic girl 'with absolutely nothing special about her, showing no personality but one of a wall throughout the whole book' gets the hot guy, no chemistry at all, makes fun of the cheerleaders and popular kids because she can't be one, 'rebelling' against her parents, mourning her oh-so terrible life, like it was THAT bad - I mean, COME ON. GIVE ME A BREAK. Deb Caletti should be banned from ever letting her terrible novels out into the public. Caletti's corny writing style, absolutely horrid, hatable characters, cheesy storyline, 'already-been-done' plots is killer. WILD ROSES will lead me to my death.

    5 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Cliché Ridden and Contrived

    I can honestly say that I hated Wild Roses by Deb Caletti. This novel is about seventeen year-old Cassie Morgan, a girl who divides her time between her divorced parents' houses. Her mother married Dino Cavalli, renowned Italian violinist- who happens to be mean, critical, and paranoid. The story is told from Cassie's point of view. The story is narrated with forced sarcasm and is filled to the brim with nauseating clichés and metaphors. Caletti tries hard to make Cassie seem like a typical teen and make her world realistic, but it never really works. I didn't care about this protaganist at all and I cared even less about what happened to her. The dialogue was stilted and unbelievable- the author seemed to be under the impression that if she used the words sh*t and f*ck every other sentence it would make her characters' (especially her teen ones) dialogue seem more natural. And this totally worked. Not. Anyway, Dino has a big concert coming up and a record deal, for which he needs to compose three new pieces. To add structure to his life and help his creative process, Dino takes a student. He is the young violinist Ian Waters, a prodigy hoping to get a scholarship to Curtis, and is hoping that Dino can help him prepare for the audition. Alright, you judge if this is realistic. Cassie is one day standing at her bedroom window and then she she sees a boy bicycling up the street towards her house. Mind you, she is looking through a window that is two stories high. And suddenly Cassie is overwhelmed by a wave of emotion for this boy, a longing. And it's like, what?! She's never met him, can barely see him. He's just this random boy riding on a bike and all of a sudden she's obsessed with him. Just like that. Okay, maybe if you're going for the whole love at first sight angle it makes sense. But this idea totally didn't fit in with this story, this work of supposedly realistic fiction. Is it desire she's feeling perhaps? That would be more understandable. But she can barely see him! All she can see is that he has black hair and his black coat is flapping in the breeze as he approaches on his bike. Anyway, the boy turns out to be be Ian and (of course) they fall in love. But, oops!, their love is forbidden because Dino forbids him to have a romantic relationship so all his concentration will be on his music. During the whole story I looked for a reason for Ian and Cassie to be in love. I searched in vain and I never found one. They have nothing in common except for a shared dislike of Dino. The author simply tells you they are in love and expects you to believe it, the same way that she tells you Cassie loves astronomy. She has Cassie take out her telescope occaisonally and visit a planetarium, but none of her actions express a true love for what she's doing or even much of an interest. This novel is populated by stereotypical characters, from the girl Nicole Hower at school that Cassie describes as "Nickname whore... because her clothes gave the impression that she wanted to share her boobs with makind" to Dino Cavalli himself, as the crazed musical genius. Caletti's attempt to explore madness fails. Her overuse of examples of artists who were mentally ill/comitted suicide were too numerous and overdone. To summarize, I wouldn't reccomend this book unless you're looking for a dull, often preachy book with a terribly annoying heroine.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2008

    Wild Roses-Hayley

    The story, Wild Roses, by Deb Caletti is about a seventeen-year-old girl named Cassie, who struggles with the remarriage of her mother to a cruel and at times insane violinist and composer. He wants almost nothing to do with her until he takes up a violin student about her age named Ian. Her stepfather¿s insanity tries to pull them apart because he thinks their being together could ruin the boy¿s future in getting into a high-class music school. Cassie knows that being with Ian might not be the thing best for her due to her stepfather and Ian¿s chances of leaving in a few months but her love for him is too strong. Deb Caletti made a captivating story filled with love, hate, sadness, and struggle. Showing that even the famous and loved might not be as perfect as they seem. I enjoyed every word in this book and it was hard for me to turn the last page and find that the story had ended. This book will keep you entranced and wanting more.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2007

    YUMMY.

    Or most definately NOT. I absolutely ABHORRED it. Nothing was going on and the main character was just so redundant and plain annoying. I could not help but notice how many times she said or thought the word 'yummy'. This book made me cringe.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2007

    blahhhhh

    sooooooooooooooooooooooo boring. I read like the first two chapters then skipped to see if there were any good parts. which there weren't! i think shes a good writer but she was just trying to write a meaningful love story that turned out to be extremely boring!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 2, 2009

    Do Yourself a Favor, Don't Buy This

    This book was very boring in most parts. In some parts it was good. In others it barely held my interest. If i had it to do over again i definitely would NOT waste my money. If you feel like you have to read it, check it out at the library. Because honestly, this book isn't worth your time or money.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2011

    Not boring!

    This was my fave deb calleti book, i was surprised to see so many negative reviews! I loved the message and it kept me thrilled to the very end. Very interesting, complex characters and unique plot lines! I know that some of calleti,s books get dull or pointless (honey, baby, sweetheart,) but this one didnt have one bad moment for me!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 7, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Madness or Genius?

    Before this I've only read another book by Deb Caletti (The Nature of Jade), and it was just okay. Thankfully, I liked this one much much better.

    This book was about Cassie Morgan, who has divorced parents, and a step-father who is a famous violinst. To the outside world, Dino may seem like a genius musician and composer from a small town in Italy, but Cassie knows the truth. Dino is a terrifying, selfish, insane bully, who just gets crazier and more paranoid every day. Cassie can't imagine why her mom fell for him, and doesn't want anything to do with love....that is, until she meets Ian Waters, Dino's new protege.

    I really liked this book. I found Cassie to be a wonderful narrator. She was both funny and insightful. There were many parts where I was nodding in agreement or stifling laughter. Denifite quotable material. Initally though, I didn't quite like the style. It seemed a little too informal for my taste, but I quickly got over it.

    I found the characters lively and three-dimensional. Except for Ian. I did not like him. He was hardly in the book, which made the romance seem improbable. I liked this book, but I wouldn't consider it a romance. In fact, it would have been fine without any romantic aspects at all. Just the family dynamic seemed enough.

    I was also surprised with how everything turned out. It's not a suspenseful edge-of-your-seat book, but is certainly absorbing.

    I will definitely be checking out more of Deb Caletti's books in the future.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 28, 2010

    Amazing!!!

    I often exagerate how good books are but when they are this great... I mean it! This was an amazing book, I literally read it, like, 20 times. I mean, who can resist a love story in which the main characters risk pretty much everything to be together? Ok, maybe a lot of people, but not me!!! I seriously loved this book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2008

    Uhh...

    When I read the summary of the book I was excited to get it. The next time I went to Barnes and Nobles I picked it up and started reading it. I have to admit that it was pretty boring. The romance parts were a little interesting but the rest of the book dragged on. Thats when I rushed through to finish the book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2008

    Very Honest

    The book Wild Roses was great. It shows how powerful insanity is, but how it also can be overcome. I think my favorite part of this book was how throughout, the author gave different real life examples of brilliant people in history who were indeed affected by mental illness. To conclude, Wild Roses was a lovely read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2008

    Not what I expected.

    When I read the summary about the book, It was on my 'must get' list. I picked up the book at a barnes and noble and went straight home to start reading. It was a very boring book. I mean the parts with the romance was good and everything but it wasnt what I expected. If you really want to read it don't buy it pick it up from a library or have a friend lend it too you because its not worth it if you buy it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2008

    Wild Roses- Not so good

    Started reading this book after all the wonderful reviews I read, but I must have been reading a different book cause this was not so wonderful. I just thought the book was predictable and boring. I agree with another reviewer where she tried too hard to write a meaningful love story, but it just fell short. The two fall in love way too quickly, but it's not believable. I was just kinda disappointed with this book. I have not read her other books but maybe those will be better.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2013

    SPOILER ALERT

    Dino's last name isn't Cavalli, it's Teiro

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2012

    Amazing!

    This was such a good book! The way it was written was beautiful, and the events, characters, actions, and words all seemed so real and plausiable. The main character was so real, and the author really seemed to know about worries, love, life, and dealing with divorced parents. I loved this book, and there is nothing bad to say about it!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2012

    Awesome!!

    I thought this was a very good book. Hard to understand sometimes but definitely not a waste of time. It actually made me cry at the end

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2012

    A No No

    This book is super lame. All they talk about is stupid classical music and stuff. It felt like I was reading one of those dumb stories on an english exam.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2012

    Screw everyone who...Anyway great book!

    Thinks this book is bad.
    Does not like Deb Calleti.
    Does not like spaghetti.
    Does not read.
    Smells like weed. *wink*that'd be me!(phych-i think)
    Seriously though this book is one of Debs greatest.
    I lov her writting style.
    Ferget about eveyone else who says this book is trash.
    Cuz theyre trash and the y dont know good book
    One that will get ya hoked!!!OOOOOHHHH!
    Im a poet and YOUdisnt know it.
    I already knew it.
    Pay attention!
    Stupid Americans!
    Go frenchies
    Thy make grea panties
    What?
    Who said that!?
    Echo:
    Did somebody die?
    Askin all them questions!
    Laugh if u know the video!
    Im out...
    Dont u talk when im talkin u besta mute it!
    You think im dumb!
    You think im stupid!
    You think i love you i look like Qupid?
    WHAT U PREGNANT? IT AINT MINE!
    GURL I WRAPPED IT UP! DATS HOW I KNOW U LYIN!
    makin satements. Assumin....humph

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 10, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Zzzzzz

    This book was a disappointment. After reading for a bit I was bored and kept spacing out. I kept reading on anyways hoping the book would get better, but ended up falling asleep a couple of times. Oh and I couldn't even finish the book because the copy that I have, in the middle of chapter 14 the pages skip from 248 to 281. So I you still plan on reading this book out of interest I suggest you either borrow it from a friend that already has it or check it out at the library and save yourself your money for a better book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 72 Customer Reviews

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