Emily Arsenault’s sophomore effort (following The Broken Teaglass, Delacorte, 2009) is a psychological mystery with hints of the supernatural. The publisher description compares Rose Notes to the work of Laura Lippman, Tana French, and Jennifer McMahon. Terrific shoes to fill!
Adult/High School–Nora was only 11 in 1990 when she became the last person to see her babysitter alive. Rose left Nora at her house and continued up the road into terrible oblivion. Sixteen years later, Nora finds out from her best friend, Charlotte, that Rose’s bones have finally been found. Pulled back to the small town of her childhood, Nora relives the innocent days before the teen’s disappearance, when Rose, Nora, and Charlotte could spend hours perusing volumes from a Time-Life series on the supernatural. All of the mysterious, hidden elements of the universe seemed revealed in those pages. After Rose vanished, there continued to be an aura of supernatural influences surrounding her absence. Readers discover that something terrible happened during Nora’s high school days that cast doubt on her ability to accurately describe the past or the present. Enigmatic poems (written by whom?) and scribbled entries in Rose’s school notebook both blur and reveal the truth. Teens who like psychological thrillers will enjoy figuring out the puzzle. As the book circles around the events preceding Rose’s disappearance, the high school years of Nora and Charlotte, and the discovery of Rose’s bones in 2006, readers are continually challenged to sift through myriad strands of information, guarded conversations, and misleading perceptions. This is a great book for long summer days; once started, it’s very hard to put down.–Diane Colson, New Port Richey Library, FL