Saturday, September 14, 2013

Alice's Review: In Search of the Rose Notes

Summary:  Eleven-year-olds Nora and Charlotte were best friends. When their teenage babysitter, Rose, disappeared under mysterious circumstances, the girls decided to “investigate.” But their search aided by paranormal theories and techniques gleaned from old Time-Life book went nowhere.  Years later, Nora, now in her late twenties, is drawn back to her old neighborhood and to her estranged friend when Roses remains are finally discovered. Upset over their earlier failure to solve the possible murder, Charlotte is adamant that they join forces and try again. But Nora was the last known person to see Rose alive, and shes not ready to revisit her troubled adolescence and the events surrounding the disappearance or face the disturbing secrets that are already beginning to reemerge.

Review:  In Search of the Rose Notes has been in my TBR pile for a while now.  The story intrigued me, two quirky pre-teen girls searching for answers to the disappearance of their teenage babysitter Rose.

There are a few things I want to tell you right off the bat.  This novel is good.  It’s a decent read with plot twists and a mystery I couldn’t figure out until the very end.  It has interesting characters.  I especially enjoyed Nora, Rose, Charlotte and the mysterious Toby.  What makes this novel wonderful is Ms. Arsenault peppers In Search of the Rose Notes with little bits of wonderfulness.  The kind of wonderfulness that makes me dog ear pages and highlight complete passages.  It was unexpected and completely breathtaking.

Before I get to that wonderfulness, I want to talk a little about how complex and developed these characters where.  Ms. Arsenault captures the essence of teenage angst perfectly.  I loved Nora, I thought she was so brilliantly complex and damaged.  I loved how she moved on from her past yet never fully let it go.  I especially enjoyed the relationship she had with Charlotte, a frenemy if there ever was one.  Those two characters worked so well together, as different as they were they complimented each other perfectly. Toby was the the odd kid in school no one ever took the time to know.  I really liked him, how steadfast he was.  Rose was an enigma.  Layered, confused, cool, fun, interesting…I fully understood why the girls idolized her and why her disappearance caused such a void in their lives. 

The real star of this novel is Ms. Arsenault’s prose.

I love when Nora thinks:  Light tricked you into thinking you weren’t afraid.

After an especially sad and enlightening conversation with her mother, Nora thinks:  I looked into my cocoa.  I couldn’t enjoy it anymore.  It was too sweet for this conversation.

And I loved Rose’s view on magic when debating with Charlotte about whether or not magic exists.  Rose says, “Did it ever occur to you that it was easier to believe in it because they had it?”

I think the last quote sums up In Search of the Rose Notes to a T.  I believed in this story, in these troubled characters because Ms. Arsenault captured that magic wonderfully.

Final Take: 4/5


Anonymous ,  September 29, 2013 at 11:39 PM  

I just picked this up at Half Priced Books for $1! Now I'm psyched to dig in.

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