Happy Friday! Today is the day I link up with Rose City Reader for Book Beginnings, and Freda’s Voice for The Friday 56. To learn more (or the rules) about either of these memes, use the previous links to check them out.
I usually do these on books I’m currently reading, and yesterday I started My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier. I’m going to start with something I used to do with my students: The Six Word Summary. I adapted it (totally unoriginally, I might add) from the Six Word Story to help them start thinking about diction in their writing.
Six Word Summary, just to provide you with a little bit of context for the other memes:
Older brother protects terrifyingly psychotic sister.
Does that give you just enough information to be slightly curious?
Rosa is pushing all the buttons.
She makes the seat go backwards, and forwards, the leg rest up and down, in and out, lights on, lights off, TV screen up, TV screen down.
We’ve never been in business class. Rosa has to explore everything and figure out what she’s allowed to do and how to get away with what she isn’t.
This week’s 56 was hard because there’s a huge spoiler on page 56. Or rather, there was a huge thing that I saw coming that has now been confirmed after looking at page 56 (I’m only on page 36. Alas). Don’t worry, I won’t spoil it for you. Instead, I’m going to give you a bit from page 57.
I knew she didn’t care. How could I make her care? I thought about telling Sally and David what I feared. But they only saw sunny Rosa. The minute they walked out the door the smile vanished from her face. Were it not for her eyes she would look blank.
From the outset we’re aware that while Rosa isn’t telling the story, her big brother Che is, she is the center of the narrative. Much of what Che talks and thinks about revolves around protecting Rosa from the world (and possibly protecting the world from Rosa at the same time).
We can tell that Che knows his sister pretty well. He understands exactly why she’s doing what she’s doing (they’re on a plane), and is probably calculating how to keep her from finding ways to get away with the things she’s not allowed to do.
This seems like a herculean task for a teenager, especially a teenager whose parents, as we see from The Friday 56, suffer some delusions about how their youngest child walks in the world. And clearly Rosa is good at hiding her nature from them.
There are two things I find interesting from these snippets of text. First, Sally and David are Che and Rosa’s parents who insist on their children calling them by their given names. I want to know more about them and how they came to that decision. Second, I’m interested in Rosa’s eyes. What kind of expression is present in her eyes that keep her face from looking completely blank? Given what I know about the story, I would have expected her eyes to be expressionless as well. I wonder if Rosa’s eyes are going to be a recurring thing, or if I’m focusing on details that are irrelevant.