Confessions of an Almost-Girlfriend (Confessions #2)
By Louise Rozett
'Instead of closing the door to get away from the mirror like I usually do, I stand there and take a good look.
It's weird. I'm disappointed when I look in the mirror but it's not because I don't like what I see. I mean, I don't, but that's not what bugs me. What bugs me is that what I see in the mirror doesn't match what I see in my head. In my head, I'm prettier than I am in real life, so when I look in the mirror and see what I see, I feel let down. And also a little crazy.
Where did I get that image in my head if not from the mirror?'
Sometimes we need a little change.
If there is one thing Rose Zarelli has learnt from her experiences, is that if you want something done, you need to do it yourself. Hence, her brilliant plan to be 'Rose 2.0' for her sophomore year.
A new Rose. A stronger Rose. A more talented, independent Rose that is going to wow everyone around her with her sass, killer voice and new image.
A Rose that doesn't lock herself in her room for three days with no food or communication with the outside world.
A Rose that doesn't let what other people think about her penetrate the defences she's constructed for herself.
A Rose that deals with death rather than being exposed and made grief-stricken by it.
A Rose that doesn't hang on to every word that falls from Jamie Forta's perfect lips.
Rose 2.0 will be different. But will she be real?
Life is a balancing act. But Rose doesn't know how to juggle.
Everyone needs something from her - each person needs her to be someone different. Tracy needs Rose the Best Friend, Mrs. Zarelli needs Rose Sane And Moving-On Daughter, Peter needs Rose the Mature Younger Sister, her teachers need Rose the Responsible Student and Jamie needs Rose to just forget about him and move on to better things.
It's enough to drive a person crazy. And Rose is slowly losing her hold - not only on her image as Rose 2.0, but on the people she truly cares about, as they get swept up by Change, moving on with their lives.
Rose can't let go. And they can't hold on.
As trouble in and out of school rises to the surface, hearts are mended and broken, and tensions reach their breaking point, Rosie must decide for herself who she is and who she wants to be.
And if they can't handle Rose 2.0, then that's their loss.
This book was painful to read. What I mean is, that it was painful because Louise's beautifully woven story - it's raw dialogue, real, unpretentious characters and heart-wrenching evoking of emotions - cut me to the core, making me see myself in a way I never had before. I don't know if I can say I can 100% relate to Rose (her story is far too complex for that), but I saw myself in her.
Louise captures those moments in life that change us for better or for worse - and she captures them with a skill rarely seen in modern literature. Her characters are as flawed as you and me, their words aren't mediated before hand. Rosie has awkward moments, she has a temper, she says things she shouldn't and isn't a perfect heroine. You love her, you hate her, you want to shake her and you want to hold her in your arms as she cries. You want to ask the world why it has drawn her this lot in life - why no one can see the struggles she goes through.
And then you realise that it's because we all have our own cross to bear.
I've had personal experiences that remind me a lot of Rosie's. There have been times in our lives when we have reached out to people and they've written us off. They've shut us down. They've tried to 'fix' the problem only to make it worse.
'"His life sucks right now," Jamie says.
"Yeah, well, so does mine," I answer.
"No shit," Jamie says, making it completely clear that he doesn't understand my lack of compassion.
I don't either, to be honest.'
It reminded me a lot of The Breakfast Club - which I happened to be watching yesterday evening, coincidently. There's that bit where they're all sitting on the floor together. Each one has issues, but each one sees their problems as bigger than everybody else's. But they find common ground in the fact they all have struggles. They become stronger.
What was aggravating about Rosie's situation was that often there was no right or wrong way.
It's not like it's black and white - like murder, for example. People have their own problems and secrets. And when you become privy to them, that opens up a realm of problems for you. Do you tell someone else? Do you help them at the expense of them hating you for it? Do you keep their secret and watch them suffer?
Rosie learns that you have to be yourself, as cliche as that sounds. She learns that it doesn't matter if you don't do something their way - it doesn't make your way wrong if it differs from theirs. You live with your own decisions.
'I did the wrong thing, and I lost him for real.
But did you do the wrong thing? Jamie thinks it was the wrong thing. But do you?
No. I don't.
I didn't do what Jamie would have wanted me to do, but that doesn't mean it was wrong.'
This is a fascinating, mind-blowing emotional rollercoaster of a book, that I am incredibly humbled to have been given the privilege of reading an ARC of. A big thank you to Louise, Netgalley and Harlequin Publishing :)