Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Review: Confessions of an Almost Girlfriend by Louise Rozett

Sometimes it is good to think out of the square. Sometimes it is good to pick up a book that I would not normally read and give it a chance, anyway. And that was precisely the kind of mood I was in when I picked up a copy of Confessions of an Almost Girlfriend by Louise Rozett. There were many (subjective) reasons why I would not pick up a book like this:

1. The publisher. I rarely, if ever read books published by Harlequin, let alone Harlequin Teen. Mostly, this is because they publish "throwaway" books, the kind of thing that is unlikely to ever be reprinted, remembered or to stand the test of time. It's entertainment for here and now but don't fool yourself into believing that you'll be sharing this book with your grandchildren one day. You won't.

2. The title. Really. What is it about America and starting book titles with the word, "Confessions". Usually "Confessions" books are tales about people who take on a journey of self-discovery and or/self improvement. And there is nothing wrong with that. Except that the characters aren't exactly evil creatures confessing to anything sinister. Actually, they're usually not confessing to anything at all. They're just ... people doing the best they know how.

3. The target market. YA romance. We get it. Girl meets bad boy. Girl falls hopelessly in love with bad boy. Bad boy ignore girl. Turns out bad boy is hopelessly in love with girl too and is afraid of hurting her. Bad boy gets over fear, something happens to pull them apart, something else happens to push them back together and they end in a state of eternal happiness, despite the fact that both characters are still in their teens. 

Anyway ... I picked this one up, just to see if I well, could, like it if I tried to. And honestly, this novel is not terrible, though I did find it terribly superficial. What was good about it was that it is, at it's core, this isn't just a love story. It is a tale about a young high school student who wants to find herself and to become who she wants to be. There is a subplot about bullying that doesn't resolve itself in a way that I would have liked and nor does the subplot about relationship violence. There are questions about family. As for the romance ... well that almost feels tacked on. There is a bit of innuendo in there between Rose and Jamie because it's a teen novel and it's kind of expected that at some point Rose is going to have her breasts fondled. And Jamie isn't the most dependable guy and you get the impression that he is still hung up on his ex though, pleasingly, Rose finds a way to move on. The ending makes it obvious that there will be a sequel, so I don't really know what will happen with Rose and her moving on, though it probably will be in a please-the-young-reader kind of way. (Rose will get her guy. The author just wants you to think that, maybe, there is a chance things won't work out.)

So ... if you're in the mood for a lightweight YA romance, Confessions of an Almost Girlfriend will probably fit the bill nicely, though it has little to offer besides ...

Bonus Question: How often do you step out of your reading comfort zone and read something different?