cover image Rosey in the Present Tense

Rosey in the Present Tense

Louise Hawes, Author Walker & Company $16.95 (176p) ISBN 978-0-8027-8685-2

It's been six months since his girlfriend died in an automobile accident, but Franklin can't consign Rosey to the past tense, as his mother, his best friend and his psychiatrist all urge him to do. He doesn't want to forget Rosey, not for one moment--her love for oldies rock-and-roll, the one-liners she attributes to her Japanese ancestors, the way she nestles in his arms, her legs intertwined with his. So deep is his need for her that his anguish draws her back from the dead--not as a living human, but as a ghost. Alternating between third-person narration in the present and Lin's first-person journal, which recounts his memories of Rosey, Hawes (Tales from the Cafeteria) generally skirts the maudlin and the melodrama inherent in her plot. But here the conceit of a ghost interacting with living characters has none of the subtlety of, for example, Adele Griffin's The Other Shepards; the characters are not fully fleshed out, so the psychiatrist and all the other adults, including Rosey's grandmother (the only person besides Lin who can see Rosey), come off as stereotypical. While Lin and Rosey are better realized, Rosey as a ghost strangely reverts into a somewhat childish state, lacking the sophistication that made her so attractive in life. The perspective here seems more adult than adolescent, making some of the dialogue strained. While there are some nice moments between Lin and Rosey, the novel misses its mark. Ages 12-up. (Mar.)