ROSE SEES RED by Cecil Castellucci Book Review
I managed to snag Rose Sees Red by Cecil Castellucci at internship. The publication date is set for August 1, 2010, but the hardcopy is already available for purchase on Barnes and Noble’s website (digital e-book format is still on pre-order). As far as first impressions go, the cover reminded me of Shiver and Linger due mainly to the black vines. Dancing is not really a subject I read about, but I decided to give it a chance because it’s historical fiction and set in New York City.
Book Summary: Rose has given up. She’s given up on friendship, on happiness, on life being anything other than black, black, black. Yrena wants out. She’s a dancer who doesn’t want to dance, a prisoner in her own home, a resident of New York who never gets to see the city. To Rose, Yrena has always been the Russian girl who lives next door, seen through the window but never spoken to. At least not until Yrena crashes into Rose’s room-and Rose’s life-and sets in motion a night in New York City that none of them will ever forget. From YA superstar Cecil Castellucci, this is the story of cold hearts and cold wars warmed by simple human connection and the liberty of being young and free in the early hours of a new day.
It was only until halfway through ROSE SEES RED by Cecil Castellucci that I realized that the novel was set during the 80’s. If there were any clues hinting at it, I did not notice. If one makes references to the Cold War, I usually think of the 60’s. At least, that’s what stuck to me from the brief introduction in my high school history class. Throughout the beginning of ROSE SEES RED by Cecil Castellucci, I kept thinking to myself Is this historically accurate? Because as far as I knew, Fame did not come out before the 60’s. A lot of the references made more sense once I was aware of the time period. Still, I found myself having to look up references. I could not let go of the unease I felt about the historical accuracy. That really is my only complaint.
Other than that, I really enjoyed the book. Rose and Yrena’s adventures through New York City reminded me a little of Holden Caulfield traipsing through Manhattan. They had no set agenda, but to explore the beauty in a graffiti-ridden city. This book is definitely a lot more character-driven than plot-driven. There really is no set plot in the book. Usually, this would bother me immensely, but I enjoyed reading about one venue to the next. The whole book reminded me of my friends and our adventures throughout Manhattan. I found myself making my own must-see list of New York City. As far as characters go, I immediately took a liking to Yrena from the moment she first spoke. Some of her actions seemed a bit far-fetched at first, but once told of her reasoning, I understood why she was sometimes brash and impulsive.
Another great thing I loved about this book is its ability to inspire. I’m no dancer, but after hearing about Rose, Maurice, and Yrena dancing, I wanted to be on stage right next to them. When the kids set out to march, I felt inspired. Their message lifted off the pages and made me think of just how terrible atomic bombs could be. I loved how to people from opposing countries could come together and be friends. Cecil Castellucci’s writing has that ability to make you put down the book and want to be active for a change.
While I love a great stand-alone book (everything seems to be a series these days, I noticed), I couldn’t help but crave for more at the conclusion of Rose Sees Red by Cecil Castellucci. I never thought that I would enjoy the book as much as I did. I don’t think this book is for everybody though. If you are one for plot-driven novels, this might not be for you. I think that I was able to enjoy Rose Sees Red by Cecil Castellucci because I could see myself in Rose, hesitant to take risks, but I could see myself and my friends in Yrena, the triplets, and Maurice, wanting to explore New York City and wanting the night to never end.