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ROSIE AND SKATE by Beth Ann Bauman Kirkus Star


by Beth Ann Bauman

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Sept. 9th, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-385-73735-7
Publisher: Wendy Lamb/Random

Rosie and Skate are motherless sisters in a New Jersey shore town. Their father is a “nice drunk” who’s been letting them down for a long time, most recently by getting himself thrown in jail. From this fractured home life, the teenagers struggle to figure things out for themselves. This unflinching depiction of parental alcoholism and teen sexuality is not an After School Special–style cautionary tale; the subjects are treated with gentle grace, and while the conclusion is not tidy, it is cautiously optimistic. Bauman’s prose is lovely and real. Vivid descriptions bring her characters to life, and the dialogue is both believable and funny. The wintry setting (off-season beaches and boardwalks) underscores the numerous gray areas Rosie and Skate encounter in their messy, confusing relationships. Better still is the nuanced, multidimensional portrayal of the boys and men in the sisters’ lives—they are not reduced to mere heroes or villains, but developed into fully complicated human beings. The novel expertly captures the ever-hopeful ache of adolescents longing for love, stability and certainty. (Fiction. 14 & up)