Monday, 23 July 2012

Review: Rose by any other name by Maureen McCarthy

Rose by any other name by Maureen McCarthy
Released: January 2008
Publisher: Allen and Unwin
Source: Bought
Rating: 4/5

Goodreads description:

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 . . . Rose wants nothing more than to get away. Last year she had it all: pre-law in the fall, a budding romance, her best friend, Zoe. Now Zoe will never forgive her, her family is crumbling, and the secret that's been boiling up inside her for a year is bubbling too close to the surface. All Rose needs to escape is 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. 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.

My thoughts:

I was looking for a road trip book when I came across this one, it stood out for me because it was that bit different....she goes on a road trip with her MOTHER! Plus, it's an Aussie book and I have a ginormous soft spot for Aussie Contemps.

I liked Rose straight off the bat, she was prickly, defensive and difficult but I found it easy to like her. I really got the impression that she felt like her life had run away from her a bit and I liked that. She had her whole future planned out but through a series of unfortunate occurences and decisions she felt like there was no going back. I totally get how it feels to feel trapped by circumstance and like you can't move back or move forward. I really associated with her inability to express her emotions adequately and feeling emotionally stunted in comparison to those around her. Sometimes Rose did annoy me a little, but only cause I really wanted things to work out for her.   

Rose's family were an interesting and diverse mix. I liked how they all had their own personalities and behaviours, it definitely made them all feel real. I think I liked Dorothy best, she was pretty cool. Her mum too, I actually really liked her mum. She was a pretty cool mum, and what she'd had to deal with was awful but she managed really well eventually. Her dad I wasn't sure about. I mean, I know why he did what he did but I still thought he was a bit of a knob.

The road trip element was fairly....not mundane but much more normal in comparison to other road trip books I've read. I liked how Rose figured stuff out in a very subtle way, there were no huge dramatic revelations or life-changing experiences, it was just the right place and the right time for Rose. I felt the lead-ins to the flashbacks were a little clunky in places  and I'm still not entirely sure where I stand on flashbacks in general, but this book probably wouldn't have worked as well without them. I did feel like the whole thing with her Grandma was a little....anti-climatic. I really don't know what I expected, but I did expect more. I felt the same about the ending. In a way, it was perfect. There was no way Rose could just, snap right back, and we could definitely see the changes in her character and situation and outlook. But on the other hand, I wanted....more. Now this is strange for me, I normally like really open endings, but for Rose I just really wanted everything to be perfect again.

This is a really different road trip story, it's nicely subtle yet still full of meaning. I'm glad I found it and it is definitely worth a read!

Today Liz has a guest post with Luisa Plaja and a giveaway for you to enter ;)


  1. She goes on a road trip with her mother? I...cannot imagine that :P. It's a shame about the anti-climatic parts, and I'm not a huge fan of open endings so I'm a bit wary about that. But this definitely sounds like an interesting read. Great review, thanks! :)

  2. Hmmm, I've always been a fan of the Aussie contemporary. Sounds like this one didn't quite measure up???

  3. Ooooo I love Aussie YA. I might have to check this out. I keep meaning to recommend Guitar Highway Rose for your contemporary month! Its Aussie YA from the early 90s and its great!


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