by Patrice Lawrence
"Hey, Im a mixed-race, fairy kei ex-Pilgrim. Thats got to be worth something." Lawrence has done it again. Rose, Interrupted delivers all of the complexity of plot, characterisation, breathlessness you would want from a mature, adult, thriller- but Lawrence does so in a voice which is pitch-perfectly tuned in to young peoples lives from their relationships and thoughts, right down to the details of their fashions, eclectic music tastes and dialect.
Rose, her brother, Rudder and their mother have left the Jehovahs Witnesses, a community founded on an intricate and rigorous set of rules. Now, they must negotiate a new world in a cramped East London flat, an environment which comes with its own bewildering codes of behaviour and technologies. In this world, a photo taken with consent, circulated without consent and then innocently shared risks destabilising the lives of everyone, threatening personal boundaries, confidences, trust and the very founding social structures communities depend upon.
A breakneck pace and a super-satisfying whodunit mystery are underpinned by the exquisite characterisations of Rose and Rudder whose lives are steered and tripped up by the conflicting scripts of Atonement ("trying to be purer") and Being a Perfect Worldly-Wise ("complete decommissioning from Gods Pilgrims"). Their intense feelings of shame and guilt as former Pilgrims, their precarious straddling of an almost archaic innocence with thrilling wordliness and their hunger for discovery, for loving relationships, for living, dancing, and owning their own physicality- all come together to create unforgettable young lives. Their will to survive, to come into themselves and just be will make you want to guide them and hold them very tightly and protectively in this world... but the wonder of Rose and Rudder is they neither want nor need you to. Young adult fiction at its very finest. (Mixed race leads). Age 14+, Paperback 420pp
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