Author: Rebecca Bischoff
Publisher: Amberjack Publishing
Published Date: December 6, 2016
Genre: Contemporary, YA, Disability
My Rating: ★ ★ ★
Rosemary is fifteen and gloriously free, on her own for the very first time. Part of an exchange program for aspiring artists, she arrives in sunny southern France with a single goal: she doesn’t plan to leave, ever. She wants a new life, a new family, and a new identity. But her situation, crafted from lies big and small, is precarious.
Desperate to escape haunting images from her past and a stage one helicopter parent, Rosemary struggles to hide her lack of artistic talent and a communication disorder that has tormented her all her life. She believes her dream of a new start will come true, until she unwittingly finds herself enveloped in a decades-old mystery that threatens to ruin her only chance for success. Determined to stay, Rosemary must choose whether or not she’ll tell the biggest lie of all, even if it means destroying the life of someone she cares about.
"I'm here because I lied. A lot. I know it was wrong, but I don't care. I got away"
And that my friends is how this book starts. Immediately you start questioning what did she lie about and what is so bad at home that she felt she had to lie to get away. We get to meet Rosemary's new parents for the summer and what she will or is supposed to be doing this summer as well. (Honestly I still can't believe she was able to fool so many people to get to this point.) Rosemary is very unsure of herself and what she is doing until she finds some older letters from a person named Marguerite who appears to have had some speech problems as well. Through reading these letters and making up her own idea of who Marguerite was starts gaining confidence of her own and having hope for herself. She also learns because of what she finds of Marguerite a friend/s who truly care for her and will do what they can to help her. Sure nothing works like Rosemary wanted it to that summer, but things still managed to turn out pretty good for her, which was nice to see after you learn about her childhood so far.
"I've planted my feet here and can already feel the tender roots growing under them, connecting me to the earth in this place of sunshine and sand, mountains and ocean."
Sylvie and Emile who are her parents for the summer are extremely kind people who actively not only let Rosemary into their lives. But teach her things and don't pressure her into doing things. They let her be young and carefree all while keeping her safe. Sure they don't communicate much with her, but that can just be written off on the partial language barrier and the fact that they themselves are dealing with things as well.
"New home. New Family. New Rosemary."
Honestly I'm very torn on how to rate and review this book. One one hand I did enjoy it. But I also found the way the author dealt with things rather annoying at times. Not telling us for so long what exactly the main character was struggling with made me frustrated for the first quarter of the book until I was able to start putting pieces together. But it's still not explained why she is treated a certain way by her mother until the very end. I feel like if that was told sooner I would have liked this book more. Then we also have the problem of a teenager who is incredibly naive now in a foreign country that speaks a different language and has lied to everyone around her to get to said country. I found it incredibly hard most of the time to like the main character because of her actions. But I also really felt for her and just wanted the best for her. To me if things had been told sooner and we could have seen Rosemary actually start finding her voice and becoming her own person I would have loved this book. Instead this was just a start for Rosemary and while I am so glad she if finally getting freedom, I just wish she didn't have to go to such great links to get it.
Just an idea for the author I would love to see either novella or companion novel about Rosemary's best friend Jada. She seems like a really good character and it would be interesting to see her take on this whole thing as well as her side of the friendship with Rosemary.
"Jada never lets anyone make fun of her. She always has a comeback."Plus we don't have enough books that actively deal with disability and show it in a positive light.
"You have made me realize that my own foolish dreams are not as foolish as I may have thought. My speech difficulty does not mean that I may not obtain what I truly desire... I will never forget what you have done for me."
Thank you to Netgalley and Amberjack Publishing for an e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.