Rose by Any Other Name
By Maureen McCarthy
(Roaring Brook Press, Hardcover, 9781596433724, 336pp.)
Publication Date: March 18, 2008
Enter your zip code below to find indies closest to you.
Don'tcha just hate the way you get caught up in stuff without really wanting to? Then it goes a bit further, and suddenly you're one of those jerks you hate because . . . you can't be trusted. ROSE WANTS NOTHING MORE THAN TO GET AWAY. Last year she'd had it all: pre-law in the fall, a budding romance, and her best friend, Zoe. Now Zoe will never forgive her, her family is crumbling, and the secret that's been boiling up inside her is bubbling a little too close to the surface. All Rose needs to escape are an old van, her surfboard, the road, the ocean, and . . . mom? When Rose's mother jumps in the passenger seat right as Rose is about to set off, her trip takes an unexpected turn, filled with nagging memories of last year, and the looming scandal that refuses to be ignored. A twisting plot that keeps you guessing, told from the viewpoint of a realistically flawed yet snarky main character, makes this a book that just can't be put down.
Maureen McCarthy is one of Australia's most popular young adult authors. Her novels have been short listed for numerous awards, and include the bestselling book Queen Kat, Carmel and St. Jude Get a Life, which was made into a highly successful Australian mini-series. This is her American debut.
* "Readers find themselves in the back seat, completely caught up in the tense, exhasuted love that's up front and the chapters that trace Rose's memories...Crisp writing perfectly captures this novel's fascinating internal and external landscapes."—Kirkus Reviews - starred review "An emotional roller coaster."—Publishers Weekly "McCarthy provides [an] engrossing mother-daughter tale."—Horn Book Magazine Kirkus Reviews - starred reviewRose’s road trip up the Australian coast invokes flashbacks from the previous year, when her parents’ marriage, plans for college and best friendship all fell apart. Rose grits her teeth as she and her mother bounce alongside the ocean, evading untouchable topics. Readers find themselves in the back seat, completely caught up in the tense, exhausted love that’s up front and the chapters that trace Rose’s memories. McCarthy offers beautiful and brutal depictions of a tightly knit family fraying at the edges. As Rose spits venom at her set of sisters and mother, teen readers will understand her frustration, fury and turns of remorse [while] McCarthy begins to reveal what happened to change her from a levelheaded, college-bound girl to an erratic, drifting loner. Crisp writing perfectly captures this novel’s fascinating internal and external landscapes. Older teens just stepping into adulthood will recognize and appreciate Rose’s authentic transformative experiences. Publishers Weekly Australian author McCarthy crafts a juicy family melodrama in her American debut. Set in her native country, McCarthy’s novel unfolds from the point of view of Rose, a no-nonsense 19-year-old whose happy, orderly life is destroyed when her father leaves her mother for another woman. Coping with their own grief, Rose and her three older sisters struggle to keep their mom from falling apart. Alternating between a present-day road trip taken by Rose and her mom with flashbacks from a year earlier detailing the shocking events that precipitate their trip, the book hurries its audience onto an emotional roller coaster...there is an authenticity to the flawed and conflicted Rose that will draw readers into her world. The Horn Book Magazine (High School) Taking a road trip to visit her dying grandmother, nineteen-year-old Rose finds she can’t keep running from the devastating events of the previous year—her dad’s shameful fall from grace, her parents’ painful divorce, her own disastrous and forbidden love affair, and the complete disintegration of a close friendship. Phenomenal loss of trust is what links these events together, and Rose is forced to revisit all the pain (as both the betrayed and the betrayer) as she hits the road. And who’s riding shotgun, provoking all the deep thought? Not her former lover, nor her former BFF, and certainly not her former idol, Dad; no, it’s Mum who’s hitching a ride with Rose, making this YA road novel a bit different from the rest... Australian author McCarthy provides [an] engrossing mother-daughter tale: with a protagonist/narrator who’s barely still a teenager and a cast that is virtually all adult, this coming-of-age novel will appeal to older readers venturing out into the adult world. j.m.b.
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
Gr 9-12 Last year, Rose was crushing on a new neighbor Nat Cummings, hanging with her best friend, Zoe, and readying to attend university after graduation; now she’s working as a waitress and estranged from Zoe, and embarking in a long trans-Australian drive to visit her dying grandmother, a trip that suddenly, much to Rose’s dismay, includes her mother. The narrative alternates between the story of Rose’s tumultuous year and her current journey, gradually unfolding the facts behind her devastation and her altered life trajectory as the two women travel to their destination... More successful is the slow revelation and exploration of her affair with Zoe’s (unmarried) father, an event occurring against the backdrop of Rose’s own father’s announcement that he’s leaving Rose’s mother for another woman. Characterization is particularly sharp in its dual portrait of Rose’s mother then (a basket case as the result of her husband’s leaving) and now (a strong, optimistic woman who loves her to get involved in strangers’ lives), a change for the better that tacitly offers Rose a model for survival of her own heartbreak. Fans of road-trip stories or melodrama [will] be curious to see how it all turns out. DS
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up–Rose’s grandmother is dying, prompting the high school grad and current waitress to hit the road in her beat-up old van, with Mum in the passenger seat. Rose is less than thrilled, having successfully avoided her family for the past year. A stellar student, she was set to study law and follow in her father’s footsteps, but when he left her mother, everything fell apart. McCarthy alternates chapters of the trip, during which they pick up a hitchhiker, with flashbacks to the previous year: Rose’s parents’ divorce, the teen’s crush on Nat, and her friend Zoe’s fling with him. The book steadily builds up to the revelation that Rose was seduced by Zoe’s father, and thus the collapse of the young women’s friendship. Still, this is a story about redemption. While readers glimpse Zoe through the flashbacks, they finally meet her when Rose visits her in the hospital; the cancer she fought as a child has returned. Their reconciliation is mirrored elsewhere; Rose’s parents learn to be civil around one another, and the hitchhiker they pick up returns to his young son, whom he hasn’t seen in two years. While readers may be baffled by some of the Aussie terms and the fact that Christmas takes place in the summer, these are hurdles they can easily overcome, all the while rooting for likable and complicated Rose. There is some raw language and mature content, but this novel should be an easy sell to fans of authors like Deb Caletti.–Jennifer Barnes, Homewood Library, IL