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Rosie Loves Jack by Mel Darbon – Book Review // Strong, heart-wrenching, beautiful, like Rosie.

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Summary:

Rosie loves Jack. Jack loves Rosie. So when they’re split up, Rosie will do anything to find the boy who makes the sun shine in her head. Even run away from home. Even cross London and travel to Brighton alone, though the trains are cancelled and the snow is falling. Even though any girl might find that hard, let alone a girl with Down’s syndrome. See the world through new eyes in this one-in-a-million story about fighting for the freedoms that we often take for granted: independence, tolerance and love.

Review: 

Rating: 4.5 stars / 5

When you see a book written from the point-of-view of a teenage girl with Down’s syndrome, you can have two reactions – happiness to see such a book being written, and scepticism because you aren’t sure how well it will be written. This book is so kind and sweet and well-written, it melted my sceptic heart.

Things I liked:

  • The Down’s Syndrome rep: I had no knowledge about this condition beyond what I studied in Biology, and I am truly thankful to this book for making me see the less clinical and more human side of things. What stood out to me was that ultimately human emotions are the same, whether you are medically considered “normal” or not.
  • Rosie and Jack: When you read this book, it seems to be mostly about Rosie. But then I realised, Rosie would probably disagree. The book is called Rosie Loves Jack, and it took me a while to understand why. In a way, this journey is solely Rosie’s, and when Rosie tells Jack, “You make me strong”, my first reaction was, “Girl, you’re plenty strong just by yourself.” However, maybe discounting the importance of Jack is discounting Rosie’s narrative itself, because that is precisely what she tries to make everyone understand – that broken as Jack is, he makes “the sun shine in her head”, and you can’t dismiss that, can you? [Also, Rose and Jack? Their very names? You have to root for them.]
  • The narration: “See the world through new eyes,” says the back cover of the ARC I received, and indeed Mel Darbon did a magnificient job in showing me the world through Rosie’s innocent and brave eyes.
  • This book had such a realistic mix of good and bad people, it simultaneously scared me and restored my faith in the world? Their were good people, kind people, horrible people, sad people, grey people. A perfect depiction of the human capacity to be evil as well as empathetic.
  • Exposure of double standards: It not only showed the sort of prejudices a girl with Down’s Syndrome or some other health issue has to overcome, but also the double standards society has regarding boys and girls of the same age. There were these subtle examples that were perfectly thrown in, but you’ve got to read the book to find out.
  • Rose Tremayne: In a way, this book is a very typical example of a kind of coming of age story, and I kept thinking about James Joyce’s “Araby” when I was reading it. Rosie doesn’t lose herself, but she learns about how promises can be broken, and sees the darkness in the world. Her courage is inspiring, and she taught me so many things.

Things I didn’t like:

Nothing much. I only thought the pace of the book became a little slow somewhere in the middle, but that was probably because I was impatient to finish it.

Overall:

Rosie Loves Jack is in the same vein such as YA books like Everything, Everything, Made You Up, or When We Collided , and I highly recommend this book to everyone, irrespective of age. Because it doesn’t matter how old you are, Rosie will teach you something.

The book doesn’t release before September 2018, but I suggest you put it in your TBR right now.

Here’s the Goodreads page: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39313720-rosie-loves-jack?ac=1&from_search=true

Thanks Usborne YA for the ARC!

Sreepurna.

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