We Need to Talk About Kevin For Teens: Justine Larbalestier’s My Sister Rosa (2017 Reading Book #54)

Upon seeing John Green’s praise for My Sister Rosa, I knew I had to add it to my to-read list. The prospect of a chilling YA novel that deals with psychopathology was incredibly inticing too.

The novel was a gripping read with some good twists.  I liked many of the characters and enjoyed exploring New York City with Che. I read it within a day. However, it fell flat for me in many places.

While the novel raised a lot of interesting questions related to Che, Rosa, their family, and people’s behavior and choices, none of it felt as fully explored as I wished it would have been. Any answers that were given weren’t extremely satisfying. Likewise, I didn’t really find the ending to be fulfilling. A lot of the problems that were introduced at the beginning of the novel didn’t get a very gratifying resolution in my eyes.

Another major problem I had with the novel was Che’s romance with Sid. I never felt like there was much chemistry there. Plus the romantic and sexual conversations they had felt very stale and problematic compared with all the other perspectives and ideas explored in the novel.

The intersection of Australian culture with an American setting was interesting, although the novel felt a bit confused voice-wise in that it never felt fully Australian or fully American. The terminology differences especially threw me off. But I think the mix of cultures worked in showing what Che’s life and identity has been like.

If you’re a fan of Criminal Minds or We Need to Talk About Kevin or have an interest in psychopathology, then I think this would be an intriguing read for you. I think it’s an especially good choice for teens who might not be able to stomach some of the darker narratives that explore these issues. However, this book will always pale in comparison to We Need to Talk About Kevin, and I really think that novel is the best exploration of adolescent psychopathology that I’ve run across thus far.


In Summary:

Title(s): My Sister Rosa

Author(s): Justine Larbalestier

Overall Rating: 3/5

Genre: YA

Category: Fiction

Format Accessed: iBook

Imprint: Allen & Unwin

Publisher: Allen & Unwin Book Publishing

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