Posted by : Deborah Takahashi Friday, May 13, 2011

Plot Summary:
Rose sees, and lives, in black. After losing her best friend, she believes she will never fit in or make friends. Not only has her world turned upside down, she lives in a neighborhood where the Soviets and the Americans are incredibly suspicious of one another. According to Rose, the Cold War hasn't ended in the Bronx, especially when one can notice who is a KGB agent and who is CIA. However, one night, Yrena, her Soviet neighbor knocks on her window and invites herself in. Little does Rose know, that in just one night Yrena would become her best friends for life despite their political differences. In fact, they are both accomplished dancers who have two very different point of views about their talent. As Rose, Yrena, Maurice, Calisto, Caitlin, and Caleb come together to show their Russian friend what Americans do they learn that she will be returning to the Soviet Union in a matter of days.

Critical Evaluation:
Rose Sees Red is a touching tale of two young women who became the best of friends in one night. Castellucci provides readers with an intelligent story that not only breaks down the silliness of political ideology, but provides us with an amazing example of what being human is all about. In this story, six teenagers put aside their political affiliations and enjoy each other by sharing their passions, opinions, and cultures. This story is set in a tumultuous time where neighbors could not even trust one another because they feared the consequences from the government. Readers will definitely feel the power of love and kinship between these characters as they roam the New York City showing Yrena the wonders it holds. Moreover, readers will walk away with an important lesson about people and that no matter who we are, where we come from, or what/who we believe in, we all shed the same blood and and want to live freely and in in peace.

Information about the Author:
Cecil Castellucci has one heck of an impressive CV. Not only does she write young adult novels, she writes graphic novels, children's short stories, librettos for famous operas, a scholar, a fellow, a performer, an actor, a playwright, and the occasional singer. In other words, she is a "Jill of Many Trades." According to her website, Cecil: " was the recent recipient of a Macdowell Fellowship where she completed a new novel The Year of the Beasts due out in 2012." Along with her writing achievements, she also spends a lot of time sharing, and practicing, her craft as well adventuring out into other art forms:

"[Cecil] has participated in the Lincoln Center Directors Lab West and the Banff Centre for the Arts “Writing with Style” program and had both writing and directing assistantships at the Taper. Cecil was a founding member of the Alpha 60 film club. Alpha 60 was a club dedicated to discovering narrative voice and encouraging creative endeavors in film. Other activities included field producer on MTV’s Big Urban Myth Show and Director of Recreating Radio at the Museum of Television and Radio (now known as the Paley Center). In 2006 she wrote and directed her first feature film “Happy Is Not Hard To Be.”  It debuted in Los Angeles at the Alternative Screen series at the Egyptian Theatre" (para. 8).
Among all these activities, she runs a literary series in Los Angeles at Skylight Books called "The Lit Thing."

Teen Historical Fiction

Reading Level/Interest:
Grades 9 & up

Books Similar to Rose Sees Red:

Awards & Recognition:
  • Positive reviews from VOYA, School Library Journal, Kirkus, Booklist, and Publisher's Weekly

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Deborah Takahashi
Pasadena, CA, United States
My name is Deb and I am a Librarian who absolutely loves to read and recommend books to teen and tween readers. In this blog, you will find reviews on a variety resources ranging from books, movies, video games, and much more. Please feel free to leave any feedback, especially book recommendations!
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