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  • Writer's pictureTantra Bensko

The Mysteries of Rosebush Compel Me

Struck by a vehicle, Jane is discovered in a rather Gothic place -- sprawled unconscious in a rosebush after having been at a party, wearing fairy wings. Though everyone poo poos her suspicion that it was not an accident, we know it was not, but there are so many strange behaviors going on around her, it's intriguing to figure out who did it and why.

Michele Jaffe's YA novel Rosebush isn't limited to a youthful readership. It's sophisticated and advanced enough that it respects readers of the age group of the characters and thus appeals to adults. Michele Jaffe is a delightful novelist, and it excites me to know such talent exists. Reading this book alone in my room I often exclaimed aloud about its extraordinary brilliance. I suspected all the characters yet by the end I was still surprised at who the criminal was.

Jane Freeman is average, trite, but funny, good-intentioned, inventive, and lovable. The is definitely Chick Lit because of the first person single POV and emphasis on fashion and girly friends. It's also Psychological Suspense, with the unreliable narrator experiencing amnesia, perhaps imagining things, trying to figure out what happened to her, what is the truth of a complex and mysterious deadly situation. Jaffe writes characters who are attracted to many boys and that's very unusual, but refreshingly realistic, refusing the formula of only one or two love interests (and if it's two, the romantic tension is generally all about which one she will pick.) This book is much more complex. It's certainly a different youth than I experienced, but I learned what it's like for many young people today with looser social conventions.

I assume this book had a top notch editor because of how each sentence shines. The shocking beginning is a masterpiece that seems like it's been polished a long time to reach that perfection. I appreciate the time it must have taken to provide this entertaining novel.

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