Rosie Loves Jack

Rosie Loves Jack

Mel Darbon,

Rosie Loves Jack

Usborne, 2018

ISBN 9781474937832

14-16 Shortlist 2019


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out of 5



Who Wrote It?

Mel Darbon spent a large part of her childhood inventing stories to keep her autistic brother happy on car journeys. She won’t mention the time spent with him standing by level crossings waiting for the InterCity 125 to go past as she wouldn’t want to be labelled a train spotter.  

Life took her in many different directions working as a theatre designer, a freelance artist, teaching young adults with learning disabilities and running creative workshops for teenage mums, young offenders and toddlers (though not all together).

Mel now writes young adult novels and is a recent graduate of Bath Spa’s MA in Writing For Young People, where she found a channel to give voice to young people who otherwise might not be heard.

What's It About?

Rosie loves Jack. Jack loves Rosie. So when they’re separated, Rosie will do anything to find the boy who makes the sun shine in her head.

Even run away from home.

Even struggle across London and travel to Brighton, though the trains are cancelled and the snow is falling. Even though people might think a girl like Rosie could never survive on her own.

See the world through new eyes in this unique story.

Fact File

Rosie Loves Jack is Mel’s first novel.

Mel is currently working on her second novel, which will feature an autistic teenager and a double-decker bus!

Mel has a dog called Alfie.

You can follow Mel on Twitter: @DarbonMel.

Your Reviews

Max from King James's School, Knaresborough:

I enjoyed this book and found it to be a delightful mix of comedy and drama. I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that, despite its title suggesting that the book would be a romance novel, it soon became action-based. This succeeded in creating tension in what I had imagined would be a dull read.

Mel Darbon has managed successfully to paint a world through the eyes of Rosie, a 17-year-old girl with Down’s Syndrome, thereby making the book unusual. Furthermore, it provided insight into the lives of those who do live with this, very real, condition. The book is perhaps somewhat lacking in description, however it is told in the first person, by Rosie, who definitely makes up for this with stacks of emotion.

The book opens by introducing the two main characters, protagonist Rosie, and her boyfriend Jack, who suffers from a form of anger issues. However, as they are separated Rosie decides to make her way from Henley-on-Thames to Brighton, where Jack lives, to find him. Throughout the book we, therefore, follow her on this seemingly endless quest. In spite of the journey seeming relatively simple at first, when the trains are snowed in and Rosie is forced to find shelter, she accidentally stumbles upon a very sinister world that she may never escape.

Overall, I found this novel to be quite entertaining. However, there is not a particular group that I would recommend it to, as it covers a range of genres and themes.

Max gave Rosie Loves Jack 4 out of 5 and now plans to read The Lost Witch by Melvin Burgess.

Poppy from King James' School:

I began this book with a heavy heart and low expectations ‘Oh its just going to be another lovey-dovey he makes me complete book that I’m going to hate’ but I ended this book having read an utterly wonderful, heart-warming story that I feel in love with and would recommend to anybody in a heartbeat. Rose is well developed and loveable and the writing style is simple and sweet event though it deals with some adult themes. To the author, thank you. You have written something wonderful and completely changed my perspective on the capability and emotions of those who are labelled ‘different’. To those who have read the book and loved it as I have, I’m sorry for disregarding your positivity and assuming I’d hate this book anyway. And finally, to those who assumed, like me, that because a book says ‘love’ on the front they will hate it; try to keep an open mind. You never know if something or someone might just make the sun shine in your head.

Poppy gave Rosie Loves Jack 5 out of 5 and now plans to read The Lost Witch by Melvin Burgess.

Miss Burns from Cardinal Heenan Catholic High School:

I couldn't put this book down - this is the story of Rosie, a young girl with Down's syndrome who sets out to prove to the world that she can be independent. But more than that, it is a story about believing in yourself and following your heart. This is a real must read.

Miss Burns gave Rosie Loves Jack 5 out of 5 and now plans to read The Lost Witch by Melvin Burgess.

Harini from Allerton High School:

Rosie Loves Jack is such a well written book. It is written from a perspective of a girl with downs syndrome and the story is so realistic. This books makes you laugh and cry. When I first read the blurb of this book, I thought it would be a very romantic kind of book, but it's really not. It shows how strong a girl can be even if she has downs syndrome and that's why I really like this book.

Harini gave Rosie Loves Jack 4 out of 5 and now plans to read The Survival Game by Nicky Singer.

Emily G from Allerton High School:

I found this book extremely good and it was gripping all the way through. It had lots of deeper meanings when you read between the lines. I thought it was very interesting to see through the eyes of a girl with Down's syndrome and how she is treated in day to day life. I definitely think I am going to vote for Rosie Loves Jack. I would certainly recommend it to other people that are my age and older.

Emily G gave Rosie Loves Jack 5 out of 5 and now plans to read The Survival Game by Nicky Singer.

Morven from Benton Park:

I went into this book with low expectactions and they where exeeded. The story was interesting at parts but it alooks dragged on. The text was sometimes difficult to read, but I thought the idea of laying it out that way was clever.

Morven gave Rosie Loves Jack 3 out of 5 and now plans to read Payback by M A Griffin.

Thomas from King James's School, Knaresborough:

Eye opening, well written, realistic, creative and addictive.

This book is about the two young loves, Rosie and Jack who both have disabilities and when Jack has an accident in school and is taken to a different one Rosie will do all she can to be with him again.

This book was very eye-opening for me as it shows what it is like for a person to have downs syndrome. Before this book I did not know much about it. What I also liked about this book was that it could potentially be real and that the problems or dangers in this book could happen. This helped me understand the situations and the scenes better. It was also well described and I had no trouble imagining where she was.

I wish that the author could have continued the ending as it would have rounded up the story entirely. This could have been done by making sure every problem was solved before the end of the book.

Even though my usual reads would include action and maybe some violence, this book hooked me in just the same way. I would recommend this to people over 12 because if the reader was younger, they might not understand the book.

Thomas gave Rosie Loves Jack 4 out of 5 and now plans to read White Rabbit, Red Wolf by Tom Pollock.

Amy from Farnley acadamy:

This is a beautiful story about a young woman names Rosie who has a passionate love for jack. When jack is taken away Rosie is devastated. She wants jack to write to her but receives no letters until she finds a stack of them in her dad's office. She is so angry, she decides to run away to find jack. She traveles through London and encounters many people good and bad. She is nearly put through events that are dangerous and illegal reveal times. Police are looking for her and her parents are distraught about her disappearance. After days of terrifying events and sleeping under bridges she is reunited with jack. Then suddenly she falls extremely ill and jack is forbidden to see her. This book makes you laugh and cry. I guarantee that you will be on the edge of your seat craving for more.

Amy gave Rosie Loves Jack 5 out of 5 and now plans to read The Lost Witch by Melvin Burgess.

Jade from Southfield Grange Trust:

Rosie loves Jack but when Jack hits his teacher he is sent away to Brighton and Rosie’s dad has been hiding the letters that Jack has sent Rosie. She runs away and goes through a series of issues to reach Jack.

Rosie was my favourite character, she was a powerful woman and didn’t give up on her true love Jack.

This is an adventure story and although I guessed the ending it made me cry and feel tense when the Police were searching for Rosie.

The story was suitable for my age group because the issues were explained in a detailed context making it understandable.

Jade gave Rosie Loves Jack 5 out of 5 and now plans to read The Lost Witch by Melvin Burgess.

L from Manor CE Academy :

A really insightful and interesting book about a young adult with Downs Syndrome. Don’t often come across books from the viewpoint of “disabled” people, this was a delight to read. It deals with the serious issues of sexual exploitation and judgement of disabilities in a way which appeals to teenagers. Written in how I guess Rosie thinks, which takes a little of getting used to but, this just adds to the impact of the book on reader. Really, really enjoyed reading this book.

L gave Rosie Loves Jack 5 out of 5 and now plans to read White Rabbit, Red Wolf by Tom Pollock.

Marnie from Cardinal Heenan:

Rosie loves Jack is in my opinion a must read. It tells the story of a teenage couple that are torn apart by problems they can't controll so desperatley try to find each other again.

Marnie gave Rosie Loves Jack 4 out of 5 and now plans to read Payback by M A Griffin.

Tabitha from King James's School, Knaresborough:

Rosie loves Jack was a beautiful, eye-opening book for me. The whole way through I was totally rooting for Rosie – a rare thing for me, as often I find I dislike the protagonists in novels.

But Rosie endeared herself to me in such an amazing way. Both her innocent and her amazing drive and passion to succeed in her goal were beautifully written, creating a character who I utterly adored.

The emotional journey I took through Lisette’s growth was also inspirational. As a character whom I originally disliked, I grew to care so much for her and everything she ended up doing for Rosie. I found her easy to understand whilst also a completely closed book and her story was heart breaking. I would perhaps have liked to further see where she got to and whether she did eventually get help.

I surprised even myself with how much I hated Janek, which is a testament to how well he is written. I completely utterly loathed him and the terrible sleazy things he was involved in. I couldn’t bear to think of him taking advantage of Rosie or any of the other girls.

However, I find that when I have really enjoyed a book, I always read the authors notes, as if I am looking for a way to continue the story perhaps. For some reason, I did not feel that with this book, although it may have been that I felt the story was fulfilled. Despite this, I did read them, and found them to be the most moving part of the whole book. The reason behind this being written is so beautiful.

Rosie loves Jack is an inspiring, emotional and educational love story that I thoroughly enjoyed reading.

Tabitha gave Rosie Loves Jack 4 out of 5 and now plans to read Payback by M A Griffin.

Amber from Guiseley School:

I found the book to be simply written at the start. I also thought it was annoying to see Rosie making the same mistakes over and over again, i found it to be predictable, not my cup of tea.

Amber gave Rosie Loves Jack 2 out of 5 and now plans to read The Survival Game by Nicky Singer.

Molly from Farnley Academy:

I loved this book so much, I liked how Rosie was telling it as her own story. The ending could have included more of what happened to the other characters in the story

Overall, this book is a must read.

Molly gave Rosie Loves Jack 4 out of 5 and now plans to read White Rabbit, Red Wolf by Tom Pollock.

Rafeha from Grange Technology College:

I really liked the book however I would like to know if Rosie and Jack stay in contact.

Rafeha gave Rosie Loves Jack 5 out of 5 and now plans to read The Survival Game by Nicky Singer.

Elisha from Cardinal Heenan:

This is a very moving book about a teen girl with Down syndrome. At first, as I looked at the cover, I thought that it would be boring with not much action and going on, however, I was clearly mistaken as when I read the book, it was filled with adventure and completely took me by surprise.

Elisha gave Rosie Loves Jack 4 out of 5 and now plans to read Payback by M A Griffin.

Diana from Grange Technology College:

Rosie Loves Jack is a story about a girl, Rosie, who has down syndrome and a boy called Jack, who suffers from anger issues due to an injury at birth. The two are madly in love and live in a town called Henley-On-Thames. When Jack has a major fit, he gets sent out to Brighton, where people tried to help him control his anger. Rosie couldn’t be apart from Jack and so she set off from Henley-On-Thames to Brighton, in the middle of winter, all by herself and got involved in some interesting predicaments while on her way there.

I honestly can’t imagine a sweeter book. It was lovely and heart-warming from the beginning to the very end, I didn’t want it to finish.

I loved the new perspective that I’d never gotten to read before. I felt like Rosie throughout the entire book, and it was incredible! All that she experienced, I did too, which made the book quite the emotional rollercoaster, but that made me love it even more. I really admired Rosie’s character, her bravery and willpower really made me struggle to put the book down.

Throughout the entire novel I was just pleading for her to get to Jack, the different people she met and situations she went through really put me on the edge of my seat.

I loved every second of it.

Diana gave Rosie Loves Jack 5 out of 5 and now plans to read Payback by M A Griffin.

Mrs Blashill from Southfield Grange Trust:

After an enforced separation Rosie sets out to find her true love Jack, unfortunately due to circumstances beyond her control her carefully laid plans are thwarted at every turn. The author has made Rosie into a believable character, you can’t help but root for her.

The story is told in the first person interspersed with postcards, which I found interesting and enjoyable. Overall it is a well written novel which I thoroughly enjoyed.

The novel has some very adult themes, the language is teenage friendly and although the storyline could be considered alarming in places it is handled in a way that a teenager can understand and learn from.

I loved this book.

Mrs Blashill gave Rosie Loves Jack 5 out of 5 and now plans to read The Lost Witch by Melvin Burgess.

Sneha from Allerton High School :

This book was amazing and it was one of the best books I’ve read. It was constant suspense throughout the whole book and it after every page you would want to read more. Overall, it was hugely entertaining and a neat combination of love and suspense.

Sneha gave Rosie Loves Jack 4 out of 5 and now plans to read The Lost Witch by Melvin Burgess.