Friday, October 09, 2009

Meg Rosoff Times Two

Just in Case by Meg Rosoff
David Case never questions his ordinary suburban life -- until one fateful day, a brush with death brings him face to face with his own mortality. Suddenly, everywhere he looks he sees catastrophe, disaster, the ruin of the human race, the demise of the planet...not to mention (to pinpoint the exact source of his anxiety) possible pain and suffering for himself.

So he changes his name, reinvents his appearance, and falls in love with the seductive Agnes Bee -- in the hope that he'll become unrecognizable to Fate and saved from his own doom. With his imaginary greyhound in tow, Justin Case struggles to maintain his new image and above all, to survive in a world where twists of fate wait for him around every corner.
Dear Ms. Rosoff,

I don't know how you do it. If people were to judge you by that book description they would think you were crazy, but I think you are brilliant! It cannot be easy to write a young adult novel disguised as a treatise on the state of the world for young adults. The description looks like a bunch of nonsense, but you brought it all together in such a way that it works. We do live in a scary world, but we choose to carry on with things as if we aren't going to be hit by a bus tomorrow. David (Justin) acts like you can trick fate into over-looking you if you reinvent yourself as an entirely different person. He is afraid of the world, so he decides to do something about it. He really does become an entirely different person, and in many ways, by becoming that different person he lives more than he did when he was just plain David Case.

I love how you can take things that have been done over and over again and make them fresh. I love how you can take weird and random ideas and make them work in the novel. I mean, an imaginary dog does not sound like Justin is right in the head, but amazingly it works! The imaginary dog is a character in the book and you cannot think of Justin without him. We all need to believe a bit in the unbelievable, and for Justin, it is a dog that no one else can see. It amazes me how people around him accept the dog even though they themselves are not able to see it. It all centres around Agnes Bee, though. She is key in Justin Case (don't you love that?) becoming who he becomes. Justin becomes too much for her, but their interactions make for some great reading.

Considering this book is on the short side, it is amazing that you manage to accomplish so much, but you have readers thinking about their own immortality. That isn't always a bad thing. Teenagers (and many adults) tend to live like they have plenty of time left, but you just never know what is going to happen next and need to start living in the moment. Another excellent book from you!

Fast Forward to 2009....

The Bride's Farewell by Meg Rosoff
On the morning of her wedding, Pell Ridley creeps out of bed in the dark, kisses her sisters goodbye and flees — determined to escape a future that offers nothing but hard work and sorrow. She takes the only thing that truly belongs to her: Jack, a white horse.

The road ahead is rich with longing, silence and secrets, and each encounter leads her closer to the untold story of her past. Then Pell meets a hunter, infuriating, mysterious and cold. Will he help her to find what she seeks?

With all the hallmarks of Meg Rosoff’s extraordinary writing, The Bride’s Farewell also breaks new ground for this author, in a nineteenth-century, Hardyesque setting. This is a moving story of love and lost things, with a core of deep, beautiful romance.
When I heard that you had a new book coming out, I had to read it! The fact that I haven't read all of your older books yet does not seem to matter for me. Plus, it has a really interesting cover and I thought it would look nice on my shelf. The pretty hardcover arrived in the mail and I read it pretty much right away. I was still on a high from your other intriguing novel, so I figured it could only get better, right? I was wrong, so very wrong! All I can think of saying is what were you thinking!

Let's be frank here. You are a wonderful writer. You know how to use words to the best of your ability. You take totally unrelated things and mix them together to make a fresh story. You horrify, but you always seem to have a point, so it all works out in the end. I have expectations, I admit that, but what did you do? I understand that authors like to break-out and do something different once in a while, but I honestly cannot even begin to understand how the person that wrote this book wrote the other books that I have loved. I read it to completion trying to figure it all out, but in the end I was just disappointed. I cannot even begin to understand what this book is about. I couldn't even write a summary because a bunch of random things happened and then it was over! I was left staring at the last page in horror because you let me down...

If this was the first book I had read by you, maybe I would let it slide. It is my third book by you, though, and I know what you are capable of. You are capable of a much better book than this one! I want to support you because you write such great books generally, but I am hesitant to even recommend this. A large part of me would like to pretend that this book doesn't even exist and concentrate on your other stuff. I haven't lost faith, though. I will still own your next book fresh off the presses, but understand that it will not with as much excitement as I had going into this book. You let me down and I am afraid that will happen again now.

I hate when I have to say negative things about an author I generally love, but I don't want people to think this is the best that you can do, because it isn't!



(My thanks to Random House for sending me a copy of The Bride's Farewell!)


  1. I have yet to read anything by Meg Rosoff. Maybe I'll avoid that last book? I know the first I"ll read will be How I Live Now.

  2. Both of these sound great! I've only read her How I Live Now and was slightly disappointed but liked her enough to want to read more. These will go on the list!

  3. Amanda: You never know, you might love the last one. I just didn't! How I Live Now was my first by her. It's different...

    joanna: How I Live Now wasn't perfect, but I really liked it. :) I hope you enjoy something else by her!

  4. What a bummer to hear that her newest book isn't too hot :( I've heard that from quite a few people though. I love the cover so much that I really want to read it though, lol. She really does have the most incredible covers! Just In Case really does sound good though!! I have How I Live Now on my Read a Thon pile..should work well for that!

  5. That reminds me, I've got Just in Case on my shelves, might just have to read it during the read-a-thon!

  6. I really must read something by Meg Rosoff! I've seen so many reviews of How I live Now, and now you praise two more!gra

  7. I get so tired of books that are just random happenings and no story. No thanks.

  8. That synopsis does sound a bit nutty! Love your review though! Justin Case? Adorable! Imaginary dog? Weird but unique! I'll have to see about trying this. The other sounds pretty neat as well.

  9. Ha, great reviews! I have yet to read Rosoff, but "Justin Case" sounds excellent! You have to lave that name :)

  10. I read How I Live Now by Rosoff (I think based on your recommendation, actually), and I have heard a lot about The Bride's Farewell that interests me. Thanks for a really cute way of reviewing the stories!

  11. Chris: I hope you enjoy Rosoff! Her new book wasn't so much terrible, as not as good as her other books...

    Darren: Just in Case would be a good read-a-thon book!

    Jen: I hope you do give her a try!

    Lenore: There really wasn't much of a story. I wasn't the only one to think that!

    Jenn: Hope you enjoy! It is pretty random, but it was good!

    Kay: Thanks! Hope you read Rosoff one day. :)

    Aarti: I like to do a different style once in a while. :)

  12. I like the way you did the reviews for the two books. Great stuff!

  13. Definitely gonna read Just In Case - it sounds awesome! But I'll pass on The Bride's Farewell, it just sounds really bland.


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