A Nebraska teen blames herself for unwanted attention that might be sexual assault.
White Rosie, with her pale, Angelina Jolie–like beauty, is used to being leered at by boys and men—and she likes it. Her skewed, immature worldview keeps her from seeing that her best friend, Maddie, back from a summer in Spain, no longer needs her social guidance. Even before junior year, Rosie has hooked up with one guy after another, earning her a reputation for “the famous Rosie Fuller Stopwatch.” At a party with her friends (mostly also white), Rosie floats from the “best part of the night, the just-beginning-to-get-drunk part,” to being too drunk to fully comprehend what’s happening when Cory, a football player who “looks like someone’s Hollywood version of a corn-fed Midwestern boy,” begins to force himself on her, stopping only when Maddie appears. Rosie’s assumption that the near rape was her own fault stems from the self-centeredness she’s developed by being constantly in the spotlight. Through Rosie’s present-tense narration, Maciel examines societal pressures on girls to equate self-worth and looks. The book’s message is delivered in an uneven way, however, depicting the very real perils that young women face in the context of a somewhat dated, superficial version of high school life. What is realistic, though, is the fact that such experiences are rarely wrapped up neatly.
A thought-provoking look at the good-girl/bad-girl dichotomy. (Fiction. 13-17)