Rose Sees Red
Set in New York in the 1980s, this story of two ballet dancers (one American, one Russian) recounts the unforgettable night they spend in the city, and celebrates the friendship they form despite their cultural and political differences.
Bronx teen Rose, defined by friendlessness and ballet, is moping alone as usual one Friday night when the girl who lives in the Russian-inhabited apartment complex next door sneaks through her window. Yrena wants to experience normal American teen life, and Rose impulsively decides that she might be able to show her. They head to a party downtown and make friends with some unattainably cool kids from Rose’s performing-arts school as they embark on that timeless teen rite of passage: the all-night caper, fueled by exhilaratingly ignoring the trouble they’ll be in tomorrow (though, admittedly, it being the Cold War and having the KGB and CIA involved make their particular trouble a little hotter). Castellucci (Beige and The Plain Janes, both 2007) works with her familiar raw materials of artsy outsider kids and the group dynamics of teen friendship. She really doesn’t have an un-hip strand in her writer DNA and proves that even a story set in 1982 with its legwarmers and Reagan-bashing can still feel fresh. Grades 9-12.
About the Author
Cecil Castellucci is an indie rocker, director, and the author of Boy Proof, Beige, The Queen of Cool, and the graphic novels The P.L.A.I.N. Janes and Janes in Love. She currently lives in Los Angeles, California.