#BookReview: Hot Mess by #Debut Author Madeline Antonia Rosenberg, Editor Sylvia Z. Weinberger


Anna McCormick seems like a cliché from her basic coffee orders to her relentless drama; however she is more than meets the eye.

Join the journey of Anna and Trevor Sullivan through the laughs, tears and heartbreak. Meet the Clairetown crew – each character is more interesting than the next!

Warning: you may not be able to put this book down!

Anna McCormick is every girl after a break up- she is vulnerable and seeks attention in the wrong places. She is easy to love and hate at the same time.

Trevor Sullivan is almost too good to be true. He seems like he is perfect on the surface, but there is much more to him than meets the eye.

Benji Shaw is the “perfect” boy next door. He has a bit of a hero complex and wants to fix everyone’s problems.

Tanya Rosen is the quintessential popular girl- everyone thinks she has so much confidence but really she is just as insecure as the next girl. The book takes an unexpected turn and I think you will be pleasantly surprised!!!


My ReviewHot Mess

Madeline A. Rosenbergby Madeline Rosenberg

Let’s begin with the cover artwork. We are met with a cover that does do justice to the book’s title. With clothes hanging all over the place, the one word description that comes to my mind is: “Mess. What a mess!”

And if I allow myself the freedom to extend the book’s title to include the young lady, standing with her back to us, arms akimbo, I would anticipate that she is the cause of this book’s title being, H-O-T  M-E-S-S.

And if you will permit me to keep playing word games, by exchanging the letter “M”, for a letter “N”, I now have


The curious thing about my word game is that nothing could be further from the truth.

What this book is NOT, is hotness.

It’s not hot, it’s not erotic, and it’s not graphic.

There are no graphic descriptions of people having sex, not even one.

So, if you allow me to be frank, the title of this book and its cover don’t attract the author’s intended audience. The content of this book is tailor made for a small niche audience, people in the age range from 17 – 23. Under that age, yes, even at age 16, this book will not resonate with you. At age 24, you really need to move on with your life.

The book deals with that terrifying feeling of becoming a grownup, but not quite having everything figured out yet. This is a book for the misfits, those people who are having problems growing up. One and one, two and two, the numbers just aren’t adding up.

You’re trying to figure out who you are. You are still allowing yourself to be defined by the way others see you. It’s still important to be cool, to be admired, to be pretty, to have a boyfriend or have a girlfriend.

984289_ehwhebupYou just want to belong to something bigger than yourself. You want to be loved, and to give your love in return.

And of course, you make mistakes. Genuinely honest mistakes.

Some mistakes you learn from. Other mistakes cost dearly. They leave you badly scarred, emotionally, physically, for life.

This is author Madeline Rosenberg’s debut novel. At age 24, working with her grandmother, she’s given readers a look into the world she has recently emerged from. She writes in the language forms that teens and young adults will recognize, relate to, and feel comfortable with.

And yes, she uses vulgar, profane language when the situation calls for it. She uses it sparingly, but if you find vulgarity offensive, then you should avoid this book. It’s because her vulgarisms are  of high quality. It must be her grandmother’s influence as her editor. (I smile as I say this)

It’s the language of Facebook, the language of text messages, and the language of Caller ID. It’s the language of teens making decisions that only teens and young adults have to make. Examples? Let me give you only three examples:

1. “I hope you’re on birth control.” 

2. “If I control my eating, I can control my life.”

3. “I know I shouldn’t have done that, but I did anyway.”

What stands out the most to me in a book like this, is the sense of urgency that permeates the narrative. Everything is of the utmost importance. That lends itself to the multiple first person limited POV that Rosenberg uses as a narrative tool. We have unreliable narrators. Are things really the way they see them?

In other words, these are young people who are trying to make sense of the world in which they live. It’s a wild ride, a real rollercoaster of emotions and events and changes and friendships and relationships.

Why is it like this? Because our protagonists are in a state of becoming. They are becoming grownups, like me, like you. We were once like them, and if they are lucky, they will find a way to avoid becoming the grownups you and I became. They belong to a different time and a different age. They are products of their time, just as we are products of our time.

So, let me conclude. This is beautiful: it’s tragic, it’s heartbreaking, it’s heartwarming, it’s uplifting. Like I said, it’s a real rollercoaster. So, if you’re going to read this book, just make sure that you are the right person to go on the ride…




About profesorbaker

Thomas Baker is the Past-President of TESOL Chile (2010-2011). He enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics. The source and inspiration for his writing comes from his family.
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