Reviewed by Jaglvr for TeensReadToo.com
Rose has made her decision. When she chooses to attend the High School of Performing Arts rather than the Bronx Science school, her friend Daisy disowned her. Rose couldn't even tell Daisy that she was going to try out for the dance program, because Daisy decided a few years back that they shouldn't do ballet anymore. It made Rose realize that Daisy wasn't a real friend in the end.
Every morning, Rose and her brother, Todd, watch as the Russian girl next door, Yrena, leaves to attend her school behind the gates. Yrena's family has something to do with the United Nations, but they don't associate with any of the other neighbors.
Rose is shy at her school, and she is taken by surprise when Caitlin and Callisto (two of the three triplets...Caleb, their brother, is the third) invite Rose to come partying on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of the Arts that night. Rose says she can't, but when Yrena suddenly appears through her window, Rose makes a spontaneous decision to take Yrena to the Museum after all.
That begins a wild night that has Rose and Yrena dodging secret agents, finding themselves on the news, and Rose sparking with the brooding Caleb.
ROSE SEES RED takes place in the 1980s when the US and the then-USSR were at odds with each other. Yrena's family is segregated from the Americans, and it's only through each other's windows that the two ever saw a glimpse of the other's life - until Yrena makes the leap. Rose and her friends realize that they only have the one night to expose Yrena to the American life she's only dreamed about.
Even though ROSE SEES RED takes places in the 1980s, the story could really take place at any time in any place. Rose and Yrena are from two different cultures and they struggle to come to realize that the truths they have been exposed to may be wrong after all.
I enjoyed the whirlwind adventure that Rose, Yrena, Caitlin, Callisto, and Caleb find themselves immersed in. The ending is sad, but in the time period the story is set, it is the right one. This is the first story by Cecil Castellucci I have read, but now I know it won't be the last one.