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Thursday, October 28, 2010

When Rose Wakes

When Rose Wakes by Christopher Golden

Grade: 3.5 stars out of 5
Ever fairy tale is told and retold through generations across the ocean and through the test of time. Rose, however, is having trouble recalling any fairy tales and just as well as she wakes from a 2 year coma. Her life, as her aunts tell, was back in France before they moved to America for better medical care. Her parents—dead. Her friends—not really talked about. Her memory—just lingering in the back of her head.

Rose is determined for it not to get the best of her as she enrolls into a new school as a sophomore, despite being the age of a junior. She has a great group of new friends and plans to not let cliché-freaked cheerleader get the best of the new girl—“Coma Girl”. Yet her aunts’ demand of not kissing any guys, definitely NO on sex, and their nags on drinking some disgusting tea makes Rose frustrated. How can she let go and start a new life like her aunts’ want if they impose restrictions on anything but?

The life of a teenager is hard enough when you wake up from a 2 year coma, but add to that a crazy stalker and a catfight that ends with a girl turning into leaves. Rose wants answers.
Here’s the part where I smack my head because one way or another I missed the memo that When Rose Wakes is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty. Insert: “Duh”. As far as a retelling goes, Christopher Golden does a job well done incorporating his own little touches while maintaining the essence of Sleeping Beauty.

My biggest qualm with the novel was how. How does Rose know so much after being in a coma for so many years? How does Rose know French and English fluently? How old is Rose really and for how long can she look young? How did the aunts’ get the proper documentations? Where did they get their money from? Where are the “others”? How did the villain create a group of evil people? My mind is just bouncing off questions as I went through the novel. But I’d rather not talk about the negatives any longer.

When Rose Wakes drops little hints and reoccurring dreams that point the readers to the solution of the “mystery”.  In many ways I was dense because it didn’t hit me until the novel literally told me the truth. The dreams were a nice touch because it dug the backbone of the plot out and this sort of existence to the novel. The contrasting aunt’s played nicely to good cop, bad cop and their light bantering and withering glances speak volumes of comfort. I just wished that the aunts were more developed and the novel discusses how they were selected to be guard Rose.

Jared and Rose’s budding relationship was a tad more than I expected, but still very sweet and understanding. I liked how Jared know when to say, “No”, and when to say “Okay” and not become this obsessive, possessive, and ever constant presence in Rose’s mind. And say “Hell yes!” to ethnic diversity in characters.

In all, however, When Rose Wakes ended the weekend nicely for me. There was a lightness to the novel that made it pleasant.

Cover B+
Source: Gallery Books / MTV Books
Published: 2010 September 28; paperback


  1. I like fairytale retellings, but sometimes not the modernized versions. Sounds good in terms of the not-obsessive relationship/romance and the ethnic diversity!

  2. Three cheers for When Rose Wakes. I love Christopher Golden's books. Have you read his novel Poison Ink, or the series Body of Evidence? He's wonderful about populating his books with diverse casts. :)

    Psst... We just posted this from St. Martin's - http://www.christophergolden.com/walkingdead.html - If you care to repost/blog/link to it, go for it!