Book Review

A Constellation of Roses

A Constellation of Roses

  • Author: Miranda Asebedo
  • Genre: YA Contemporary
  • Publication Date: November 5, 2019
  • Publisher: HarperTeen

CONTENT WARNING: mention of abuse, mention of drug use, abandonment, death, suicide, mention of prostitution, death of a parent

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Trix McCabe is aimless, rootless, and on the run. At least, that’s what she tells herself.

Ever since her mother walked out, Trix has been determined to make it on her own. And with her near-magical gift for pulling valuables off unsuspecting strangers, Trix is confident that she has what it takes to survive.

Until she’s caught and given a choice: jail time, or go live with her long-lost family in the tiny town of Rocksaw, Kansas.

Running away is one of the things Trix does best, and she doesn’t plan to stick around Rocksaw for long. But there’s something special about the McCabe women, something in their unexplainable talents that Trix is drawn to. Her aunt, Mia, bakes pies—Bracing Blueberry, Never-Lonely Lemon, Ardent Apple—that seem to cure all ills. Her cousin, Ember, hand-sews dresses and can tell a person’s deepest secret with the touch of a hand. And Trix’s great-aunt takes one look at Trix’s palm and tells her that if she doesn’t put down roots somewhere, she won’t have a future anywhere.

Before long, Trix feels like she might finally belong with this special group of women in this tiny town in Kansas. But when her past comes back to haunt her, she’ll have to decide whether to take a chance on this new life … or keep running from the one she’s always known.

This was one of those books I wanted to read, but kind of forgot why, so by the time I started reading it, I had no idea what to expect. So I went into it completely blind, and was so pleasantly surprised. 

It was so difficult not to love Trix right away. She’s a tough, street-smart kid that I just wanted to hug. She’s already gone through so much, and learned some coping skills, even if they aren’t the healthiest ones, they’ve gotten her through a lifetime of experiences that are tougher than most of us ever experience. My heart broke for her, and all I wanted from this story was to see her finally put down some roots and become part of a real family.

“Her yellowed nail scares across my skin, tracing my lifelines. ‘It says you’re a rose, Trix. And you have to decide if you’ll bloom or if you’ll wither. Put down roots or you’ll die.’”

Watching Trix adjust from being an anonymous street kid in a bigger city to learning how to live in a small town where everyone knows about everything was such a culture shock. I can’t even imagine what it must be like living in a small town, but this book really captured what I can only think the essence of small town life is like. This line really stuck out to me, especially since I know that Trix is still trying to keep her own secrets:

“Everyone here knows everyone else’s story, played some part in it. I don’t think I want any part of my story to belong to someone else, too.”

The connections that Trix develops in Rocksaw made my heart sing. It’s funny how people with dark chapters always seem to connect with each other. Mia, Ember, and Jasper all seem to gravitate towards Trix, and she seems to feel a pull towards each of them as well. One of my favorite things was that the relationships between them built up slowly and never felt forced. 

“There are parts of my story that I don’t want anyone to know, sketches that I don’t want anyone else to see. My darkest chapters belong only to me.”

This was probably one of the best books that I’ve read recently, and it was one of those books that I was kind of expecting to be a light, fluffy read, but I found myself struggling to contain tears by the end. It was everything I could have asked for in a book, if I had known what to ask for. However, since I didn’t even know what I wanted, this was an unexpected surprise. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up!

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