Book Reviews

Review: “Rosebush,” Michele Jaffe

February 17, 2011

I received this book for free from Atom Australia in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: “Rosebush,” Michele JaffeRosebushby Michele Jaffe
Series: Standalone
Published by Atom on March, 2011
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery
Pages: 336
Source: Atom Australia

Instead of celebrating Memorial Day weekend on the Jersey shore, Jane is in the hospital surrounded by teddy bears, trying to piece together what happened last night. One minute she was at a party, wearing fairy wings and cuddling with her boyfriend. The next, she was lying near-dead in a rosebush after a hit and run.

Everyone thinks it was an accident, despite the phone threats Jane swears were real. But the truth is a thorny thing. As Jane’s boyfriend, friends, and admirers come to visit, more memories surface–not just from the party, but from deeper in her past…including the night her best friend Bonnie died.

With nearly everyone in her life a suspect now, Jane must unravel the mystery before her killer attacks again. Along the way, she is forced to examine the consequences of her life choices in this compulsively readable thriller.

This is definitely an unputdownable read. I managed to finish this in a few hours and the mystery had me turning pages frantically to get to the bottom of it. Unfortunately, there were a few loose ends and a few things that still had me scratching my head when I turned the last page.

It’s such a breath of fresh air to read a stand-alone book. I’m quite tired of series and sometimes you need a good contemporary read to clear your head. That’s what Rosebush is.

If you’re looking for something that will keep you on your toes, keep you guessing and trying to unravel a teen mystery, then this is the book for you. I really couldn’t decipher the mystery on my own even though I’m usually good at doing so! It’s not a predictable story at all, and, there’s a whole cast of suspects to choose from, each showing their own signs of deceit.

The main character, Jane, isn’t exactly likeable but you don’t hate her either. She’s made some questionable choices (especially in the boyfriend department, I mean, DAVID! He was downright awful, but I’ll get to him) and sometimes you have to question her sanity – even off the medication. BUT, she’s a girl who starts to realize her mistakes and you definitely don’t want to see her die. I mean, she meant well the whole time.

I won’t re-hash the stories synopsis, because you can read that for yourself, and I’m guessing if you’re reading this review you have some scrap of interest in the story already and have done your research. Instead, I’ll talk about the characters I did enjoy. I really liked Pete and Elsa, as well as Scott originally. I despised Jane’s boyfriend David. I mean, who worships a pot-smoking boyfriend who controls you and gets upset and violent when you spend time with your friends. Ugh, I just didn’t see the appeal at all.

Ahead are spoilers concerning the end of the story! As I just mentioned, I did like Scott originally. I felt him to be a real unique character and a great friend to Jane. I felt the ending of his storyline was just wrong and totally weird. Suddenly he was a crazy stalker with trophies of Jane? Where the hell did that come from and why was it necessary? We don’t find out what happened with him, how he was dealt with or why he suddenly unscrewed the jar of crazy. I think he should’ve just been left as the ‘real best friend’, someone Jane could get back to after her three-musketeer fiasco was done and dusted.

Which brings me to, firstly, her relationship with Kate. I thought it was brave that Michele Jaffe explored the ‘girl best friend in love with her friend’ thing, and the fact that they had in fact ‘experimented’. The thing is, I don’t see why this warranted such a large portion of the novel and what it meant when it all came down to it. I didn’t understand the relationship that Kate had with Sloane and why that was important enough to warrant a ‘scene’ in the hospital lobby between Kate and David? I was just so confused!

Finally, the things about Langley that didn’t add up. Her grandfather that was ‘more than a grandfather’? What did she exactly mean about that? And the whole ‘my mother was a whore’ thing? My mind was just reeling with confusion! At first I thought it meant her grandfather was actually her father, or something? But I don’t know. If someone can clarify this for me I’ll really appreciate it.

I also don’t understand why she wanted to kill or drug Jane. Because she wanted David? Then why was she making up the story of the Austrian Prince to make Ollie jealous? There’s just so much in this story that hasn’t quite sunk in with me. It seems a part of her motivation was to do with Bonnie’s death in Jane’s past. I don’t get that, either. Jane remembers something about a medallion in Bonnie’s hand towards the end of the novel but we don’t really hear what happened there, either.

I was hoping the ending would leave me with a sense of clarity, of understanding, but instead I’m just left with more questions! I did give the book 4 stars, however, because it was a great read, one that kept me up all night to get to the bottom of it. The characters were engaging, too. Michele Jaffe definitely knows how to write a tale even though my mind is still trying to make sense of it a little while after closing the cover. I would have given this one a full five-star review if everything had clicked into place more.

Recommended to: Anyone looking for a great contemporary thriller/mystery!

About Michele Jaffe

Michele Jaffe (b. March 20 in Los Angeles, California), is an American writer. She has authored novels in several genres, including historical romance, suspense thrillers, and novels for Young Adults.


  • Reply Amanda February 19, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    Great review! :) I’ve heard this book is really good. The summary sounds pretty good. :) I’ve had it on my tbr/wish list for a little while. I think I may try and get my hands on a copy soon.

  • Reply Small Review February 18, 2011 at 2:29 am

    Nice review! It sounds like there are a lot of confusing parts though. I couldn’t finish this book. I just realized I wasn’t very into the story and didn’t like any of the characters. I agree with you completely about David! What did she see in him? He was awful.

  • Reply June February 17, 2011 at 9:28 am

    Wow. You’ve got me sold! This book sounds great. Thanks for the review and for stopping by today. Looks like you’ve given me another book for my pile!

    • Reply Brittany February 17, 2011 at 6:18 pm

      I’m so glad! I really hope you enjoy it!

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