I’d first heard of Rosie Loves Jack at YALC last year, where Osborne publishing were pushing the release of it. I had hyped it up a lot since i’d heard some pretty great things, along with the amount of backing it had for a new author and contemporary novel. I sort of wish i hadn’t hyped it up in my head as much as i did.
Rosie Loves Jack is about Rosie who has Downs Syndrome – and Jack who has Autism. They have been dating just under a year and love each other very much. When Jack is taken away due to his behavioural issues, Rosie isn’t Rosie anymore, and Rosie must find him and be together once again. This leads Rosie on a journey across London to try and find Jack – and the story follows everything she goes through on that trip.
First of all, i want to mention that i thought the Autism and Downs Syndrome representation in Rosie Loves Jack was excellent. I found it to be very realistic and very well represented from my brief experience with them. Rosie’s character was perfect i found, and i really appreciated this representation addition to YA. I also really appreciated the story being written in first person from Rosie’s perspective. It showed a good side to her personality and how independent someone with Downs Syndrome can be.
I really did also love Rosie and Jack’s relationship. I think it was such a clear representation of a teenagers relationship and their need to be together all the time. It was also nice to see how much they relied on each other in day to day life – and it was described in the most lovely way.
However, i wish i loved the rest of the writing. For me, it just didn’t sit right. The rest of the characters seemed extremely over exaggerated (it wasn’t Rosie’s voice that made them that way, it was just how they were written), her parents mostly were absolutely ridiculous, and really frustrated me as i was reading. There were some great characters, such as Lawrence, someone Rosie meets in London, but everyone else seemed a little far-fetched.
The story-line itself was also a little too much for me. I found it to be quite unbelievable in some places and whereas i know what happens to Rosie in this story could easily happen to a young girl in London, everything just seemed a little too much and forced for me.
The main thing that frustrated me with this book, is the fact that it just was a little poorly written. Some of the dialogue from side characters seemed very childish to me, and that’s one of my pet peeves in YA writing. Also, for some reason while writing dialogue, it was written in the way that the other character reacted mid-sentence, but we didn’t get that action, so there was some guessing happening to how the characters were interacting. I’d never come across this in a novel before and it really wasn’t to my taste.
I really hope that the next book Mel releases is something that i absolutely adore. There’s something in her writing that i know i will click with eventually. It just wasn’t Rosie Loves Jack for me.