Title: In Search of the Rose Notes: A Novel
Author: Emily Arsenault
Paperback: 384 pages, William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication date: July 26, 2011
Genre: fiction, mystery; Source: Publisher
Objective rating: 5/5
"Maybe her dreams were full of things we were too young to hear about. Or maybe Rose was a little like me. Maybe her dreams, too, were full of things she didn't want other people to understand." (ch. 2)
Summary: The story of two 11-year-old girls, Charlotte and Norah and their 16-year-old babysitter, Rose, takes us to Waverly, Conn. in the 1990s. Rose disappears one night after walking home from her babysitting job, and Nora is the last to see her alive, a fact that her classmates and young neighbors taunt her with over the years.
Sixteen years later, Nora, now a teacher in D.C., returns to Waverly to visit Charlotte and go over their memories of what happened so many years ago and to try to find out what really happened to Rose. They re-examine theirs and Rose's notes made during the time they made up stories, wrote down their dreams, and tried to predict the future using a set of fortune telling books that Charlotte had.
Gradually, more secrets are uncovered as Nora talks again to her former classmates and friends, piecing together more about Rose that she never knew, and remembering the haunted feelings that made her leave Waverly ten years ago.
Comments: This is a psychological novel as well as a mystery that delves into the minds and actions of preteens and teenagers, young people who act alone, afraid to confide in their unaware and sometimes unreliable elders, some of whom they also consider untrustworthy. A revealing book to read from this vantage point. And a very good story as well. I recommend it.
About the author: Emily Arsenault is author of The Broken Teaglass, a New York Times 2009 Notable Mystery. She lives in Massachusetts.