Rosie Loves Jack
Rosie Loves Jack

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Annotation: Publisher Annotation: Fall in love with sixteen-year old Rosie, a girl with Down syndrome who's fighting for little freedoms, tolerance, and love. A stunning, beautifully insightful debut YA novel from Mel Darbon. 320pp.
Genre: Love stories
Catalog Number: #256153
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2021
Edition Date: 2021
Pages: 312 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-682-63289-X Perma-Bound: 0-7804-9181-5
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-682-63289-5 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-9181-6
Dewey: Fic
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
Kirkus Reviews
A teen with Down syndrome runs away to find her boyfriend when her parents forbid their relationship.Sixteen-year-old Rose Tremayne and her boyfriend, Jack, were made for each other. Jack, who was born with a brain injury, helps Rosie with reading and writing; Rosie calms his anger issues. But after a violent outburst, Jack is sent away—and Rosie’s parents think she should forget him. Rosie resolves to find Jack herself, taking the train to London alone and venturing into the city’s labyrinthine subway system. As she copes with transportation setbacks, she encounters assorted strangers—some kind and some with unsavory intentions. Though secondary characters lack depth, Rosie’s narration sympathetically expresses her determination, frustration, and naïveté in equal measure, and others’ patronizing and rude reactions to her disability are sadly realistic. However, much of the plot feels contrived. Despite Darbon’s efforts to show that Rosie is more than her Down syndrome, she doesn’t escape being a symbol of childlike innocence, a problematic trope. While a twist darkly demonstrates how people with intellectual disabilities can be targets of abuse, its execution is somewhat implausible. Portrayed primarily through Jack’s misspelled postcards and florid prose such as “The sun came out in my head and my heart grew wings and took me up to the moon,” the romance never quite feels three-dimensional; the ending, though touching, is rather pat. Most characters default to White.An earnest but belabored story of love and cognitive disability. (author's note) (Romance. 14-16)
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up Rosie is 16 years old, attends a special education program at the local college, and has a dog named Winniebago and a brother named Ben. Rosie also has Down syndrome and is deeply in love with her boyfriend, Jack. Jack experienced a brain injury as a child and has trouble controlling his anger. After a particularly bad outburst, he is sent away to a special program in Brighton. Rosie's father sees this as an opportunity to keep the young lovers apart, as he doesn't trust Jack. Rosie has different ideas and cooks up a plan to run away to Brighton. Over her multi-day journey, Rosie travels through London navigating buses and trains and encountering hosts of characters, some kind and some horrific, such as a Polish pimp forcing young girls into sex work. While books that depict people with disabilities having desires and romantic relationships are needed, this one doesn't quite measure up. Rosie's first-person voice is inconsistent and she is a character with little depth beyond her devotion to her boyfriend. However, Darbon does successfully and poignantly capture the lack of agency people with disabilities often experience. In fact, it is the inability of Rosie's parents to acknowledge her desires that leads her to desperate measures. Rosie and Jack are white. VERDICT Although readers will find themselves rooting for Rosie throughout her journey, this title is not recommended for collections looking to beef up their fiction featuring characters with disabilities.Ragan O'Malley, Saint Ann's Sch., Brooklyn
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Rosie, 16, has Down Syndrome, and she lives a full and vibrant life. She goes to school, hangs out with friends, and has a job. Rosie also loves Jack, a classmate who struggles with anger management due to a brain injury at birth. When Jack gets sent away after a particularly destructive episode, Rosie's disapproving father hides Jack's postcards to Rosie, hoping she'll forget him. When Rosie finds out, she makes a plan to go visit Jack on her own. Almost immediately, things start going wrong, but Rosie perseveres. She encounters generous kindness, profound cruelty, and indifferent ignorance as she faces her obstacles, some life-threatening. Her health suffers, and when she finally gets to Jack, she collapses. As Rosie recovers, she also establishes her autonomy. Disproving many of the misconceptions about Down Syndrome, Rosie asserts her independence to well-intentioned but clueless individuals. She still makes mistakes and needs help, and her naive interpretations of some situations can be heartbreaking. The author stays out of Rosie's way, successfully depicting her protagonist as a person, not a puppet or a platform. The other characters populating the book are realistic, with a striking range of personality traits. The plot is so engrossing that the book is almost impossible to put down. Yes, Rosie loves Jack, and readers are going to love Rosie.
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Starred Review ALA Booklist (2/1/21)
Reading Level: 6.0
Interest Level: 7-12

Rosie is a sixteen-year-old girl with Down syndrome whos fighting for little freedoms and toleranceand love. A beautiful, engrossing YA debut from author Mel Darbon.

 The plot is so engrossing that the book is almost impossible to put down. Yes, Rosie loves Jack, and readers are going to love Rosie. Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

"They can't send you away. What will we do? We need us. I stop your angry, Jack. And you make me strong. You make me Rosie."

Rosie loves Jack. Jack loves Rosie. So when they're separated, Rosie will do anything to find the boy who makes the sun shine in her head.

Even run away from home.

Even struggle across London and travel to Brighton, though the trains are cancelled and the snow is falling. Even though people might think a girl like Rosie, who has Down syndrome, could never survive on her own.

Introducing a strong and determined teen protagonist with Down syndrome, debut author Mel Darbon gives readers a unique character experience with a much-needed alternative point of view. Rosie Loves Jack is a voice-driven, heartfelt story of finding your place in a world that often leaves no room for outsiders.

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