Thursday, May 25

All the Psychopathic Awesomeness in My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier

“Didn’t anyone ask you where your parents are?"
"They asked. Especially about my parents."

"What did you tell them?"

"I said I ate them."
"Jesus, Rosa.”

What if the most terrifying person you'd ever met was your ten-year old sister?

'I promise,' said Rosa. 'I won't kill and I won't make anyone else kill.'

I can't see the loophole. Since the guinea pig there's been nothing. Months now without Rosa killing as much as a mosquito.

As far as I know.

Che Taylor has four items on his list: 1. He wants to spar, not just train in the boxing gym. 2. He wants a girlfriend. 3. He wants to go home. 4. He wants to keep Rosa under control.

Che's little sister Rosa is smart, talented, pretty, and so good at deception that Che's convinced she must be a psychopath. She hasn't hurt anyone yet, but he's certain it's just a matter of time. And when their parents move them to New York City, Che longs to return to Sydney and his three best friends. But his first duty is to his sister Rosa, who is playing increasingly complex and disturbing games. Can he protect Rosa from the world - and the world from Rosa?

You guys, this book, this book, THIS BOOK. It was incredibly well-written and so damn twisted. I finished it a couple of days ago, yet I'm still unable to form coherent sentences about it, because it was a lot more complex than I expected. SO, I decided to do a list review - mentioning respectively what I liked, and what I didn't  - and, basically, try to convince you that My Sister Rosa is a book ya'll need in your life.

  • I was pleasantly surprised by the way Justine Larbalestier went into detail about what makes someone a psychopath, and how psychopaths can differ from each other. She also included information about brain scans, some of which came as a huge surprise for me. Seriously, I'm so disappointed I didn't know everything already - I pride myself on knowing a lot about psychopaths. IT'S A WEIRD INTEREST, I KNOW.
  • Rosa was so much more complex than I thought she'd be. I expected her to be an evil mastermind 7/24, but she actually turned out to be quite lost and clueless in some situation. I mean, she obviously didn't feel that way, but, as she's still pretty young, she was hella confused in some situations, not knowing exactly how a normal person should be reacting. That said, she was incredibly intelligent and ticked all the right boxes in the psychopath test, so, don't you worry about her not being bad enough. 
  • Che was a fantastic main character - he was so freaking complex, but also cute and super-realistic. YOU GUYS, A TEENAGE BOY WHO HAS ACNE AND IS SUPER-AWKWARD AND GIRLS CONFUSE HIM. Btw, I loved his strength and determination, and felt terribly sorry for him having to protect everyone else from Rosa. It was freaking heartbreaking how tired and hopeless he felt at times, not having anyone truly understanding what he was going through. I just wanted to hug him and hide him away from Rosa's awful antics, basically.
  • The friendships Che formed were fantastic, I seriously wanted to be the third member of his confidence with Leilani, who I aim to be, basically. She's a freakishly confident and badass fashion blogger, who deeply cares about her friends and family, and who was just PERFECT. The cast was actually HUGE, but everyone was super-well-crafted and intriguing AND UNIQUE - no carbon-copies here. 
  • Also, KUDOS FOR DIVERSITY. I seriously believe every book should be diverse, because that is what I call realistic and everyone deserves to be represented, yet, so few mysteries and thrillers have diverse cast. My Sister Rosa, however, had ethnic and sexual diversity, and neither was there just for the sake of it. YOU'LL SEE. (On a side note, and this is a tiny spoiler, so just skip this sentence if you want to, there was one character I'm pretty sure was bisexual, and she ended up cheating on someone, which is... not the best rep for bi people.)
  • I loved reading about boxing! I'm not big on sports, because I'm one of the laziest people out there, but I like reading about them for some weird reason? Justine Larbalestier did an amazing job of explaining what boxing is like, and proving that it's not really a violent, savage sport like people sometimes assume. 
  • The atmosphere and pacing was total perfection! I was scared slash eager to turn the pages and see what mischief Rosa has been up to, what was her newest scheme to ruin people's lives. 

“You want to pass for a normal person? Don’t tiptoe into people’s bedrooms at night! Ever!’

‘I can be creepy in front of you.’

‘No, you can’t! You need to go now.’
‘I’ll go watch the parentals.”

  • I wasn't on board with the romance. I was happy Che had someone he could hang out with and forget about Rosa for awhile, but I just kept waiting for the romance to crash and burn. Sojourner was super-badass and strong and I'd actually be interested in reading a story about her, but she and Che just lacked true chemistry, in my opinion.
  • I actually guessed part of the big twist really early into the story, the David part, if you're wondering, it was kind of obvious with all the comparison between him and Rosa. But that doesn't mean the ending fucked me up any less. I LOVED IT, BASICALLY. 
  • Okay, so, with the exception of the ending (which was perfect and twisted) I felt let down by the story, because I expected Rosa to do sicker things. But I think that's my bad, because she IS only 10, even if she's a psychopath?? IDK. Decide for yourself and then come and tell me what you thought, because I feel weird for saying, "oh look, I loved it, but this book about a legit psychopath didn't live up to the disturbance level I wanted it to". I SWEAR I'M NORMAL, THOUGH. 

“She promised to be good. She wasn't.” 

The story idea: 5/5
The realization of the story: 4/5
The characters: 5/5
The cover: 4/5
Enjoy factor: 4/5



  1. I NEED to read this! You make it sound so incredible! Love that this 10 year old psychopath just wasn't quite disturbed enough for you!!

    1. You do!! It was so good and exactly sg you'd love. Haha, well, she was really disturbed, but I wanted her to be even more disturbed.

  2. I LOVE books like this and I can't believe I haven't heard of this one yet!! I find the minds of psychopaths, serial killers, and generally people considered to be insane incredibly interesting but it's also a very easy topic to get wrong so I'm glad you thought it was very well handled. Lovely review, Vera!

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

    1. I think you'll love this, then, because the author goes deeper into what it means to be a psychopath than creators usually do. Thanks!

  3. Yeek Rosa sounds... messed up! Although your line about her disturbance level cracked me up! THis sounds awesome and twisted and now I want to read it. Great review!!

    1. You should totally read it, it was so messed up, but still really enjoyable, because the MC was great. Thank you!

  4. Okay Rosa seems incredibly messed up and with your review and your 'normal' :P interest in psychopaths, you've made me REAAALLLLY curious about the book! :) Great review!

    1. Thank you! You should 100% pick this one up, Uma! It was very intriguing.


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