Wild Roses

by Deb Caletti
304 pages,
ISBN: 0689867662

Post Your Opinion
Review of: Wild Roses
by M. Wayne Cunningham

Living with a world renowned musical genius on Seabrook Island, Washington, isn't always fun, especially for 17-year-old Cassie Morgan, whose cellist mother has dumped the dull but steadying company of her accountant father for the volatility of a life with violinist and composer Dino Cavalli. Dino's official biography trumpets his boot-strap rise from the poverty-stricken obscurity of a small town in Italy to the riches and applause of the world's concert stages. But as Cassie describes him, he has self- destructively turned himself into the ticking time bomb of a psychotic whose "perfection could shatter your joy like a bullet through a stained glass window."
In Wild Roses, author Deb Caletti, whose two previous books have won national applause, presents an insightful story of a sensitive but sometimes irreverent, potty- mouthed teenager roller-coastering through a series of emotional relationships with her estranged family members, a bevy of ditzy school friends, and her idealized boyfriend, Ian, a struggling violinist with personal and family demons of his own to deal with. Caletti's story is grippingly told as she orchestrates Cassie, her mom, dad, Ian and step- dad, Dino, towards the crescendo of a public performance where Dino's audience and Caletti's readers get more than they expected. Dino flips out and the true details of his past life begin to emerge. As good as she is at managing plot lines and tension, Caletti is equally adept at depicting realistic characters. Dino's rages quite literally leap off the page and his manic fixation on his former business manager, William Tiero, whom he sees behind trees and in concert hall seats, is eerily frightening (especially since Tiero is never there). Cassie's distrust of Dino, her dedication to her dad, her love for her mom and her on-again, off-again infatuation with Ian are all very believable. And so is she as "not a Hallmark card, ooh-ah romance, Valentine-y love kind of person" attempting to "minimize the impact of divorce." She finds solace in reading the stars with her telescope or caustically dissing "the cheerleaders flashing their asses at us during the afternoon assembly." A couple of "metaphysical motorcyclists", bikers without bikes, who believe in the "Wisdom of Your Inner Voice", cross Cassie's path sometimes as agents of comic relief and at one time as agents for a disastrous accident that imperils Ian's career and threatens to end the teenagers' romance. Even Ian's dog, Rocket, and Cassie's mutt, Dog William, not to be confused with the elusive Manager William, take on lives of their own. Like Holden Caulfield, literary character Cassie Morgan is definitely her own person. She has a unique take on the aftermath of divorce, on a teenager's coming of age in today's world, and on appreciating the fine line separating a genius from a nut case. And it's easy to forecast that because of her, this delightfully told story and its marvellous cast of characters is destined to bring author Caletti the kind of acclaim she has received for her earlier books.

Home First Novel Award Past Winners Subscription Back Issues Timescroll Advertizing Rates
Amazon.ca/Books in Canada Bestsellers List Books in Issue Books in Department About Us