Rosie Girl, Julie Shepard: Book Review

rosie girl julie shepard book reviewPenguin Random House / S.M. Edelstein
Rosie Girl Book Cover Rosie Girl
Julie Shepard
Young Adult
Putnam
2017
Hardcover
375

Little Peach meets We Were Liars in this haunting YA debut about a troubled teen searching for her birth mom who uncovers disturbing family secrets along the way.

After her father passes away, seventeen-year-old Rosie is forced to live with her abusive stepmom Lucy and her deadbeat boyfriend, Judd, who gives Rosie the sort of looks you shouldn’t give your girlfriend’s step-daughter. Desperate for a way out, Rosie would do just about anything to escape the life she’s been handed. Then she finds a letter her dad wrote years ago, a letter confessing that Rosie's birth mother isn't dead, as she believed, but alive somewhere—having left them when Rosie was a little girl for reasons he won't reveal.
Rosie resolves to find her birth mom, and she'll put everything on the line to make that happen. She hires a PI paid for by her best friend, Mary, who turns tricks for money. Unlike Rosie, Mary's no delicate flower and when she sees the opportunity to make some cash and help out her closest friend, she takes it. Romance blooms when the PI Rosie hires hands the case off to his handsome nephew Mac, but Rosie struggles to keep her illicit activities with Mary a secret. Things begin to unravel when Rosie starts getting creepy anonymous texts from johns looking for Mary. And then there's Mary, the one person Rosie can count on, who's been acting strangely all of a sudden. As Rosie and Mary get closer to finally uncovering the truth about Rosie's mom, Rosie comes face to face with a secret she never saw coming. With the ultimate unreliable narrator and twists and turns around every corner, Rosie Girl is an unforgettable tale of identity, devotion and desperation.

This review contains quotes from the book.

Julie Shepard writes an emotional tale about a girl’s journey to find her birth mother, who was thought to be dead her entire life, in Rosie Girl.

When Rosie’s father dies, she is thrust into the world of her abusive stepmother and her stepmother’s loser boyfriend. Rosie’s best friend, Mary is the only comfort she has while living in that environment. And Mary would do anything she could for Rosie. That includes hooking up with boys so she could get cash from them. Mary is willing to do this because when Rosie finds out her mother could be alive by her dad’s letter, they know they will need cash to be able to find her.

“Know that I loved your mother very much, especially for giving me you. The other items in this box are all I have left of her. They’re yours now, so treasure them. If you’re brave enough, they may even lead you to her.”

— excerpt from Julie Shepard’s Rosie Girl

The first thing the girls do is hire a private investigator. But things start to go downhill when the private investigator’s nephew, Mac, is handed the case. When they are looking for her mom, Rosie finds out a dark secret that she did not expect.

My favorite part of this novel was Mary and Rosie’s friendship. You can tell how much they care about each other because they would go to extreme lengths to make sure the other one is okay. You see them both struggle with their families, but they persevere. I also like how Mac spices things up for Rosie and Mary, especially in the love department. He makes the plot more interesting because he brings Rosie closer to the truth, without him she would never know about if her mother is alive or not.

Shepard does a good job of setting up the plot regarding her mother. Because in the beginning, Rosie believes she is dead, then she finds the letter from her dad which says that I hope you are able to find her one day. And of course, she wants to find her because her home life is brutal. With her best friend by her side, she is able to conquer her fear and go out into the world with no real idea on where to start looking. I think Rosie and Mary are very brave for being able to search for a woman they have no idea about.

I recommend this to anyone who is looking to read an intriguing, dark young adult novel.

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Jessica Duffield
I am a sophomore in college. Books are my passion and I hope to work in book publishing once I graduate.