My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Che is terrified of his 10 year old sister Rosa. Che is convinced that Rosa is a psychopath, and no one around him is willing to do anything about it. Instead, Che's parents David and Sally think that Rosa is a cute 10 year old with blonde ringlets and baby blue eyes.
Rosa is learning pretty quickly what is acceptable and what is not based on people's reactions. But she knows how to manipulate adults into giving her what she wants most of the time. Rosa doesn't act around Che, though. Instead, she tells Che her deepest, darkest secrets and Che is trying to figure out how to stop her from doing terrible things.
Now that Che's family has moved to New York to be with his parents friends and work with them, Che realizes that New York is a harder place to watch Rosa. And now that Rosa has attached herself to Seimone, a daughter of the friend his parents are working with, Che is not only scared of Rosa but terrified for Seimone.
Because Rosa is not like normal 10 year old girls. There is a darkness in her. She has no empathy, no emotions, no feelings whatsoever. She doesn't love anyone - she just needs people around because they are USEFUL to her. Once their use runs out, though, who knows what she would do to the people in her life...
But as more secrets are untold, the more that Che is not sure of anymore. Because he thinks he knows all of the information that he needs to know, but Che is not aware that the answers to his questions may affect himself as well...
I read that this book is horrifying, chilling, terrifying, and a thriller, but I didn't really get that from this book. For the first part, I was pretty bored following around a 17 year old boy in New York doing his everyday stuff - which isn't much besides going to the gym and lusting after a girl who keeps saying no when she wants to say yes to Che.
Then the last half is when the action happens, but nothing that really surprised me. I didn't guess everything correctly, but I did guess that it wasn't just Rosa that had a creepy way of life because what 10 year old would learn that all on her own? I mean, I guess some do, but I just didn't get that feeling from Rosa.
But I do have to say, what I thought was going to happen never did come to prediction. But I think because I was expecting something more that the "big reveal" wasn't that surprising or creepy to me. I just expected it and would have been disappointed if it hadn't happened.
Rosa is a creepy girl. I will give you that. But I got pretty annoyed with Che and his repetitiveness about how Rosa was wrong. He was doing something about it, but not enough in my opinion. And in the back of my mind I kept thinking that he was 17 and had the right to go back to his family in Australia if he didn't feel comfortable being with Rosa.
I think I was too level headed for this book to creep me out, which is a shame because I was looking forward to something that would make me think about it long and hard way after I read it.
One thing I do want to note, like all of the other reviews on Goodreads that I've seen, is the diversity in this novel. I loved that it had such a wide variety of characters. From white boy Australian, to African American girlfriend who has 2 moms (one of whom is sick and in a wheelchair), a lesbian rich, popular fashion blogger, and a person who was neither a boy or a girl or both, but was just themselves and didn't need a label. Having the diversity didn't make me think that the author was forcing these different characters into a novel, but that they were supposed to be there. Maybe because it's in New York and that is common, or maybe because the author is just that good, but all of the authors characters belonged in this novel.
I'm glad that I got a chance to read this, even though it didn't hit me like most readers out there. Maybe after I ponder about it some more it may have the creep factor for me, but either way I loved the overall message of the novel and will be recommending this to other readers who love this genre!
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