Lately I find myself reading a lot of teen fiction, particularly romantic teen fiction. Why is this? What is the attraction? My own teenage years were actually kind of depressing in hind sight: I was in accelerated classes, never dated and had a small group of geek friends. I have no desire to ever go to a high school reunion. In fact, I have only kept up with about four friends from that period of time. So why do I find teen romance books so fascinating?
Perhaps it is because the characters are often more realistic than their adult counterparts. They are also trying to find themselves, exploring how to make the right decisions, and spending time in important relationships — all of those things that get left behind once adults are out in the “real world.” Despite the pressures of high school life, there is a sweet innocence that makes the characters intriguing.
Confessions of an Angry Girl and Confessions of an Almost Girlfriend are about a character named Rosie Zarella. Rose is grieving over the loss of her father the previous spring and her anger in the first book is a sign of that grief. She has a best friend who has almost ditched her for the cheerleading squad — Trace is too busy being hazed and trying to decide to go all the way with her now bullying boyfriend. Rose has a crush on Jamie who is ahead of her in school. But Jamie has a supposed girlfriend, Regina, who is behind much of the hazing on Trace. Things are more complicated because Jamie seems to be keeping an eye on Rosie — and not just because her brother asked her to. Throw in the fact that Rosie’s good friend Robert wants to be more than friends and Rosie’s mom seems to have checked out on family life and Rozett has created a great story.
By the second book, Rosie is determined to overcome her awful freshman year by being a new person. Trace has given up on cheerleading and her manipulating boyfriend. Jamie is no where to be found. Robert has a girlfriend. Too bad Rose is thrust into the negative limelight at a party before school even starts. Now she is mixed up in the principal’s attempts to make the high school a more tolerant place and tries out for the school musical where she is constantly being told to blend in. How she handles herself and discovers her own unique talents is fun to watch. Although there is no happy ending in Almost Girlfriend, I like where Rose is headed and can’t wait for the next installment. However, I hope Rose figures out why it is called a crush and moves on.
What did these books have to do with my faith? As a Christian, I am always having to make decisions based on my beliefs. I don’t always do a great job. Sometimes it is a struggle because I don’t want to call attention to myself or go against what everyone else is doing. I keep my mouth shut way too much. I like how Rosie makes the hard calls and sticks with them, even when they make her extremely unpopular. I also like how her friend Trace takes a school-wide rumor and spins it into something positive. Both girls have found ways to handle all those on the outside while staying true to who they really are. That is what I have to do as a follower of Christ. I live in the real world. I have to make decisions that can effect more people than myself. But what would Jesus do? Or say? How can I be true to him and come out stronger?
I highly recommend both of these books.