Saturday, July 27, 2013

Novel Review: Wild Roses by Deb Caletti

Rating (Out of 5): ~2
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (Simon Pulse)
Publish Date: March, 2008
Spoilers?: Not Really.
Teaser Tuesday.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Cassie Morgan lives with a time bomb (a.k.a. her stepfather, Dino Cavalli). To the public, Dino is a world-renowned violin player and composer. To Cassie, he's an erratic, self-centered bully. And he's getting worse: He no longer sleeps, and he grows increasingly paranoid. Before, Cassie was angry. Now she is afraid.

Enter Ian Waters: a brilliant young violinist, and Dino's first-ever student. The minute Cassie lays eyes on Ian she knows she's doomed. Cassie thought she understood that love could bring pain, but this union will have consequences she could not have imagined.

In the end, only one thing becomes clear: In the world of insanity, nothing is sacred....

Something Specific:

  • "'Love is not something that can be measured, Cassie. Sometimes love just is. Sometimes it’s a force with its own reasons. Reasons we don’t necessarily understand, but with a power that is undeniable.” (Paperback, pg. 115) I like this thought. But, right before this, as they’re talking about giving up something you love when it gives you pain, Cassie says that it would depend how much she loves it versus how much pain it gives her, and I understand her side very well.
  • "It was another one of those moments when I would have killed to hear what was said, but I also would have done anything not to hear it, ever. I was having a lot of those times lately, where what I wanted and what I didn’t want were the same thing.” (Pg. 224) I understand this very well.
  • "'I try to do the right thing, but sometimes the wrong thing gets the better of me. The human condition.’” (Pg. 229)

The Cover:

I just think this cover is pretty. It kind of fits with the book, I suppose. The title works. The snow works. The heart works. I feel like the contents of the book could be represented better, but this cover works, and I think it looks nice.


I’ve read two other books by Caletti, one of which I really enjoyed (the Nature of Jade) and one of which I thought was more meh (the Queen of Everything), and this one ended up being rather below meh, and a very big disappointment since I had thought it would be very good.
Cassie Morgan lives with her mother and her mother’s new husband, Dino. Dino is a genius musical composer, and he’s going literally crazy. He’s beyond paranoid, sometimes goes a bit off the deep end for very little reason, is snippy often, and is also just a general ass about things. Cassie does not like Dino, nor has she ever, but she’s stuck living for a majority of the time with him, going only on weekends to her father’s house. And then Dino starts teaching Ian, a boy Cassie’s age, who is also a very talented violinist, hoping to get into a very big, hard school several states away.
The book opened very good, the premise was very good, and even the Dino storyline was rather good. I liked the time Cassie spent with her father, her mother was frustrating but understandable. It was Cassie and the romance that I didn’t like.
I guess it’s not really Cassie herself that I didn’t like; she actually seemed okay. But she gave several slut-shaming comments that bothered me. One pertaining to a girl in her school whose nickname, apparently, is Whore because her last name sounds similar, and because she supposedly wears revealing clothes that show her big breasts. Another was a jibe about girls who sleep around. They were both distasteful and offensive, they didn’t particularly seem to be needed, and they bothered me a lot.
The second thing that really brought me down was the romance. I was rather looking forward to the romance, and even at the beginning, when Cassie was forewarning about the first time she saw him and that it was practically love at first sight, it didn’t bother me. Caletti seems to have a way of making love at first sight, that people are destined to be a part of another's life, natural, at least to me. So I was okay with that. But then, pretty much the first time Cassie ever has a conversation with the boy, they kiss. And they kind of fight a couple of times but move on from it, and she acts like she’s devastated that he has to go away for school. And throughout the whole thing, the reader barely ever gets to read an actual, intimate conversation between the two that doesn’t last more than a couple of pages. They say they love each other rather early. And while their relationship does expand throughout a year, I never felt the connection. No swoon, no actual love, nothing. Their interactions were just so small and there were so few that actually seemed to mean anything. I was very disappointed by this.
But even while saying that, and overall being unhappy and disappointed with the book, there were good parts. The ending for Dino and Cassie and her mother was pretty good, I liked seeing Dino’s downfall and paranoia (even though I feel his storyline could have been made more intense), and there were just a lot of small thoughts that I enjoyed reading. I liked Cassie’s father and her Nannie (particularly her Nannie). That’s why the rating is a wavery 2 stars, no higher, but I don’t think it’ll waver lower (although it might go to a 1.5, with time). 
I still have three Caletti books to read from forever ago, and I hope to read one somewhat soon. And I can only hope that they’re better than this one.

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