Monday, February 22, 2010

Rosie and Skate by Beth Ann Bauman

Grade: A+


It's off-season at the Jersey shore. The boardwalk belongs to the locals--including Rosie and Skate, sisters who are a year apart in age but couldn't be more different. Rosie's fifteen, shy, and waiting for her life to begin. Skate, sixteen, is tougher and knows what she wants. Rosie still believes in their widowed father, a likable drunk, who is spending a few months in jail for petty theft. Skate thinks he's hopeless and nicknames him the Old Crow, after the whiskey he drinks. Rosie wants to experience her first love and is drawn to Nick, a boy in her support group. Skate and her boyfriend, Perry, are madly in love--inseperable. But this fall Perry goes off to college, leaving Skate behind.

There's no Dad. No Mom. Just their home, a falling-down Victorian on the beach, with a cousin to look after them. Ultimately, Rosie and Skate must count on each other.


Character Development: 10/10
Originality: 9/10
Overall Enjoyment: 10/10
Ending: 9/10
Voice: 10/10
Plot: 9/10
Setting: 10/10
Total Score: 67/70

Obtained: Library.

Age Appropriate? R

Cussing: Quite a bit.
Alcohol, Drugs, etc: Alcoholism is a major theme. Teen drinking. Mentions teen smoking/drug use.
Sexual Content: Lots of references to sex/sexual activities and one semi-detailed scene. Copious amounts of discussion.
Disturbing Images/Violence: Themes of severe familial dysfunction.


Rosie and Skate is the most touching, poignant, carefully constructed novel I have read in a long time. I zipped right through this short book in one evening, but it left me weeping after an emotional roller coaster ride. I am convinced that Beth Ann Bauman is a master. She perfectly captured the spirit of these teenage girls and the dynamic of teen relationships--both the serious and the short-lived.

This book is depressing. That's all there is to it. Don't read it if you need a pick-me-up or if you're expecting a cheerful read. It had me so firmly in its hold from beginning to end that I was rather tetchy and preoccupied. Rosie and Skate's lives are fascinating and enchanting, if screwed up. But Bauman has captured their stories in an expert way, with honesty and respect. Her characters are crafted with ingenuity and understanding, and I loved both of them unconditionally.

I think this is an important novel. Relevant to teenage life, incredibly engaging, and written with understanding and care. It's not just a teen girl novel, though. It's not all whiny and girly. It's not about boys, but about two girls' struggles to cope with very adult things at a young age. Readers of any age and gender could see the cathartic beauty in it, I believe. So go pick it up.


  1. This is such an excellent review! I appreciate your thorough and honest approach. :-)


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