Title: Rose, Interrupted
Author: Patrice Lawrence
Seventeen-year-old Rose is not at home in London. She’s used to the unbending, patriarchal rules of her tight-knit religious community, but when her family is excluded from the sect, she has to figure out the new rules by herself.
Rose embraces life outside the sect. She can finally read the books she wants to read, wear what she wants to wear, experiment with makeup, and hook up with boys. She has a plan for decommissioning herself from the expectations she has grown up with, and she launches into college and dating with enthusiasm. Her younger brother doesn’t share her desire to leave the rules behind, and in spite of surviving a horrific incident in the religious community, he desperately wants to return. It’s up to Rose to encourage him, and help him to adjust.
Throw in family complications, problems with meeting the rent, and Rose’s total inexperience of relationships; and the unwritten rules of a life of freedom, boyfriends, and smartphones threaten to trap Rose and her brother – and draw attention to the secretive community they left behind.
This is an emotional book. Rose and her brother are sympathetic and believable, and even when you’re shouting at the page, you know their decisions are based on innocence and naivety, and not malice. I found myself extremely frustrated with the adults around them, who either assumed that they understood the unwritten rules, or failed to offer them help when they asked. There’s an interesting message about power and manipulation, and how to recover your power if someone has abused your trust.
All the characters feel real – rounded, individual, and flawed – and most of them are simply doing their best in challenging situations. It would be easy to set up the other members of the sect as evil and dangerous, but even they are shown to be acting honourably according to their own rules. It’s a story about intentions, and unintended consequences; about finding yourself and your place in the world; and about navigating an unfamiliar culture without a rule book.
It’s a story about being human, and growing up, and learning how to fix your mistakes. It’s an emotional read, and it grabbed me and didn’t let me go. Definitely recommended.
Have you read Rose, Interrupted? What did you think of the book? Do you think you could survive in today’s world without understanding the rules? Click through to the full blog to access the comments section, and share your thoughts! No spoilers, though – you can post those on GoodReads!
Review cross-posted to GoodReads.
Please keep your comments YA appropriate. Be patient! We want to hear from you, but comments are moderated, and may take some time to appear.