3 out of 4 stars
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Raquel Roberts, known as Rocky, is in her senior year of high school. She has a full scholarship to Camden and is planning to major in chemical engineering. From the outside, it seems she has her life together. There's only one thing holding her back from achieving her dreams: Her father left her and her mother when she was young. Feeling abandoned, Rocky feels she must care for her mother. Her mother doesn't discuss her father, but Rocky feels drawn to understand why he left them. When she starts to research, she discovers more than she bargained for. It seems he wasn't who he appeared to be. Will Rocky be able to uncover the truth? What path will this knowledge lead her down? Why is her mother reluctant to discuss him?
Rocky Truths by Rho Brooks is a young adult novel. Though a coming-of-age novel, there's plenty of mystery and suspense to keep even the most wandering mind engaged. The first in the Striking Lotus series, the ending will leave you with more questions than answers. Therefore, if you don't like cliffhangers, I would advise avoiding this book.
I enjoyed this novel immensely for several reasons. The first is the sense of nostalgia it imparts. The author conveys the emotions of the characters in an authentic manner. It evoked memories of my high school days; I remembered thinking about leaving my friends. I remembered the adventure of going to college and meeting new friends. The fact that the author does this all in a descriptive manner only adds to the appeal. On page 100, the author states: "But Rocky was drunk on a daydream of freedom and change." It was all very realistic, which made it an enjoyable read.
I also appreciated that this wasn't just a simple book about changes. There's mystery, suspense, and twists and turns you won't see coming. Themes of abandonment, independence, and friendship are addressed. The plot is complex enough to interest adults but simple enough to be appropriate for a younger audience as well.
The main drawback to the novel was the errors. I found enough to state that the book was not professionally edited. However, they weren't overly distracting. They mostly consisted of simple typos like "Ito" instead of "It." This shouldn't be a reason to not read the book.
Worth mentioning also were a few instances that brought me out of the story. The first was that Rocky seems to win often. However, this does happen in real life. Furthermore, there were instances where Rocky searches for people online and finds them right away. Having searched for people myself, I know this is unrealistic. Yet, there wouldn't be a book if she didn't find anyone she was looking for. These were few and far between and are easily overlooked.
I rate Rocky Truths by Rho Brooks 3 out of 4 stars due solely to the lack of professional editing. I would recommend the book to those that enjoy clean mystery novels regardless of age. Young adults facing major life changes will be able to relate to the characters within the novel. Older adults will enjoy remembering times past.
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