Author: Deb Caletti
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: March 25, 2008
Seventeen-year-old Cassie Morgan has a secret: she's living with a time bomb (A.K.A., her stepfather, Dino Cavalli). To the public, Dino is a world-renowned violin player and composer. To Cassie, he's an erratic, self-centered bully. Dino has always been difficult, but as he prepares for his comeback concert, something in him begins to shift. He seems more high-strung than ever, set off by any little thing. He stops sleeping, starts chain-smoking. And he grows increasingly paranoid, saying things that Cassie is desperate to make sense of, but can't. So she does what she thinks she must: she tries to hide his behavior from the outside world. Before, she was angry. Now, she is afraid.
Enter Ian Waters: A brilliant young violinist, and Dino's first-ever student. The minute Cassie lays eyes on Ian she knows she's doomed. She tries everything to keep away from him, but is drawn to him in a way she's never felt before. It should be easy. It should be beautiful. It is not. Cassie thought she understood that love could bring pain. But this union will have consequences she could not have imagined.
As the novel crashes through two irreparable events and speeds toward its powerful end, one thing becomes clear: in the world of insanity, nothing is sacred. Not talent, not spirit, not love.
Musically-oriented and completely heartfelt, Wild Roses is a beautiful novel about the complexities of love, forgiveness, family, and friendship. The novel is told through Cassie's perspective and seeing the insanity and madness Dino brings into her life, readers will get pulled into Cassie's stubborn, yet strong psyche--unlike Dino's deteriorating one. Throughout the novel, you can see how Dino's actions and chaotic behavior affects not only Cassie, but her mom as well. Even so, Cassie's mom still holds onto that shred of hope of Dino being normal again. Alas, it's too much to hope and soon, Dino is going on a downward spiral...to suicide?
Cassie's relationship with Ian is complicated from the very beginning. Ian is on his way to a prestigious music academy, while Cassie still has no idea where she's headed. Ian doesn't want to go, and when they're together, he's completely free and uninhibited. But he's keeping secrets from Cassie that have everything to do with him moving. They're relationship is innocent, and as it progresses, hearts will be broken, and betrayal might conquer.
When everything ends, Cassie and Ian have to face bittersweet goodbyes to the only thing they've ever truly loved; each other. Wild Roses is a touching, bittersweet book that takes readers on a journey of first love, family, and redemption. Caletti weaves another great tale, reminiscent Sarah Dessen's work! A- =)
The Bottom Line: Bitter + Sweet = Reality
My reaction/enjoyment: 8/10
Total Score: 89/10 (A-)