Thursday, April 21, 2011

Review of Rose Sees Red by Cecil Castellucci

 rose Despite a somewhat melodramatic beginning, this is a really engaging story about two teen-aged girls living in New York City: Rose, an American girl and Yrena, a Russian girl.  They’ve lived next door to each other for a couple of years, and although Rose and her brother, Todd, see Yrena in the mornings (they leave for school at the same time), and Rose and Yrena have watched each other through their bedroom windows, they’ve never met until the evening Yrena climbs through Rose’s bedroom window and is suddenly there.  Rose’s brother spends a lot of time fantasizing about Yrena, and they’ve both made jokes about the KGB and CIA agents who stand watch outside Yrena’s house, It’s the 1980’s, and the Cold War is on between Russia and the US.  Rose goes to Performing Arts High School where she studies ballet.  Yrena studies ballet also, but has no passion for it, although her dancing is brilliant.  The entire book takes place in the 24 hours after Yrena comes to Rose’s house –they sneak out to join some other Performing Arts students on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art because Yrena wants to go to a real American party.  The funny thing is that Rose is completely withdrawn socially.  She decided to go to Performing Arts HS even though her best friend, Daisy, told her their friendship was over if she didn’t go to Science with her.  For once Rose stood up for herself and decided to do what she loved, which was dance.  She’s so afraid of being hurt in another friendship that she makes no effort to make any friends at her new school, and it’s only because she’s trying to show Yrena a good tiime that she gets out of the house.  The girls’ disappearance practically causes an international incident.  Rose Sees Red opens a window into a time period not written about very often in children’s or young adult literature, and readers will probably find it hard to believe that Russia and the US were so openly distrustful of each other.  Review by Stacy Church