Publisher: Harlequin (UK) Limited
Links:Amazon US/UK|Goodreads|The Book Depository
Rating: 5/5 stars
If you’re not true to yourself, why should anyone else be?
In her second year of high school Rose Zarelli is determined to become Rose 2.0 - as in, innovative...superior...improved. Improved how? Well, Rose is setting some ground rules. This year she absolutely most definitely will NOT:
1) do things just because other people want her to
2) randomly shoot her mouth off
3) worry about whether she’s someone’s girlfriend—or not.
And most important of all she determined to tell off Jamie Forta, the boy who might just have broken her heart, once and for all and move on.
After all she’s older and smarter now. She can totally pull this off.
How hard can it be? Right? Right?
It's 3AM and my mind is reeling as in the past few hours, I have chuckled, smiled and cried into the early morning hours reading this beautiful gift for teens. I vaguely recall the numerous teen reads that filled my bookshelf when I was still in high school and NONE of them match up to the complexity and depth with which Confessions of An Almost-Girlfriend explores various issues that grapple us at the age of sixteen.
Confessions of An Almost-Girlfriend is the second part of the Confessions series, so if you're reading this review and haven't read the previous book, you would probably want to look up the first part.
The second Confessions book turns up the angst, conflict and confusion a notch which I thought would be impossible. The first book was an angry emotional rollercoaster on its own! Here, Rose struggles even more with standing out versus blending in, taking a stand versus staying away, figuring herself out and figuring others out. She finds it impossible to stay away from her grief over her father's passing away one and a half years ago as that's the only way she finds herself holding on to him. She struggles with trying to understand her mother's feelings as she wants Rose to shut down the memorial website she made for her father and cannot understand Jamie, the boy she adores, who is tapping at her window one minute and telling her they will not work out the next second.
Rose wonders if she's cut out for anything as her friends seem to blossom and shine around her. At the same time, she doesn't know what to do with compliments, always second guessing them and doubting herself. I felt so involved as she struggled and came closer and closer to facing up to who she was and accepting herself for it. A lot of things were beyond her control and a lot of decisions slipped out of her reach and that only added to the realism of the plot.
On the surface, Confessions has all the elements any teen series would have: cheerleaders, best friend problems, hook ups, break ups, crushes, bullying, mean girls and partying. What makes this series so much more intense is the layers with which various social issues that involve teens are explored; from identity to tolerance.
What more, there is so much more to these characters than what high school stereotype they fall under or the clique they belong too. There's a flicker of humanity even in the heartless "swim thug" the protagonist used to relate to in the eighth grade; before he entered high school and his ego grew with it. The mean girl has a story of her own. The protagonist is jealous, inconsiderate, irrational, self-doubting and indecisive at times but never refuses to acknowledge it. Nothing is black or white and the dynamics between various characters run deep. And they learn. They learn so much about real world issues without making it look like an After School Special.
By the end of the novel, I was proud. Of all of these characters. Of everything they had become when just a novel ago (Confessions, #1), they had just started high school and had been scorned and stomped over in every way. Despite the feeling that at times, there felt like there were too many issues and it felt like everyone had way too much on their plate, I still applaud this novel and the series for what it is. I cannot wait to read the next novel for more of this wholesome, emotional, honest and REAL series that I wish was written and published when I was still in high school.
Rating: 5/5 stars