Rose Sees Red by Cecil Castellucci
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release date: August 1, 2010
Rose has given up. She's given up on friendship, on happiness, on life being anything other than black, black, black. Yrena wants out. She's a dancer who doesn't want to dance, a prisoner in her own home, a resident of New York who never gets to see the city. To Rose, Yrena has always been the Russian girl who lives next door, seen through the window but never spoken to. At least not until Yrena crashes into Rose's room-and Rose's life-and sets in motion a night in New York City that none of them will ever forget. From YA superstar Cecil Castellucci, this is the story of cold hearts and cold wars warmed by simple human connection and the liberty of being young and free in the early hours of a new day.
Rose Sees Red was my first read by Cecil Castellucci- and it definitely won't be my last! This was a short read (under 200 pages), but it included so much detail and development. I was drawn into the story from the beginning. Rose was a main character I liked right away and grew to like even more as the story progressed. The other characters were all well developed and likable as well and the plot was so different than anything I've read before.
A ballerina, Rose wants nothing more than to be a fabulous dancer- and to have friends. After getting into a different school than her best friend, Rose is forced to make an entirely new set of friends. At first she doesn't have much luck. Until Callisto and Caitlin (two girls out of a set of triplets) befriend Rose. I really like Callisto and Caitlin. Each of them had distinctive personalities and added a lot to the story. They helped pull Rose out of her shell and helped her to see her true potential as a friend and dancer.
Yrena, the other main character, lived next door to Rose, and had for years. They'd never exchanged more than a smile until Yrena enters Rose's window one night. Yrena was an extremely unique character. Her feelings and emotions shown from the pages and her love of life was obvious. The problem is, Yrena is Russian and Rose, American- and the novel is taking place during the Cold War.
The plot was terrific, the majority of the novel took place over the course of one night. One night that is filled with romance, friendship, adventure, and understanding. When Yrena enters Rose's room that night, they head off to get ice cream. When they escape the "suits" following them, Yrena and Rose venture to a party on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. From there, they meet up with Callisto and Caitlin. As well as Maurice (the son of a famous actress and overall sweet guy) as well as Free- a boy who quickly steals Yrena's heart. When Yrena and Free disappear, Caitlin, Rose, Callisto, and Maurice set off to find them and this is truly the beginning of what will be an exciting adventure through the streets of New York City in the middle of the night.
When the four find Yrena they join up with the final triplet- Caleb, and I loved hearing about the different places the friends visited. Famous sights like the Statue of Liberty and some not so well known like the Russian Tea House. Each of the characters formed a strong bond while traveling around the city that never sleeps, and I enjoyed seeing which character started to fall in love with who. By the end Rose had learned a lot about both herself and what true friendship really means.
Rose Sees Red was essentially a novel of friendship and peace. It proved that no matter where someone comes from, you can befriend them and that, no matter what, freedom should always be cherished and loved. Because not everyone has it.
Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. I enjoyed reading about dancing, NYC, and seeing how true friendships can form overnight if they're meant to be. While it had some flaws, I definitely recommend picking this up, you won't regret it!
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars