Follow TV Tropes


Literature / Rosebush

Go To
Rosebush is a Young Adult novel by Michelle Jaffe. It is a mystery, suspense novel about Jane Freeman, who is found left for dead in a rosebush after a hit-and-run. When she wakes up in hospital, unable to move, Jane realises that her memories of that night and her friends' stories of what happened aren't adding up. As she slowly pieces together what happened and tries to regain control of her body, Jane realises that one of her friends tried to kill her that night.

One of them still is.

Beware, there are MANY spoilers down here!

This novel provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: David's father once beat him so badly he ended up in hospital. Why? Because he overwatered his bonsai plants. And he also starved him for three days straight when David forgot to check the water-filter in prized-fish tank.
    • Kate's father is psychologically abusive towards his children; If they disappoint him or fail to live up to his expectations, he freezes them out. Kate is terrified of him for this reason.
  • Adults Are Useless: The doctors insist Jane is just hallucinating the threats and is being paranoid, the police think she is suicidal.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Scott calls Jane "J.J" after she accidentally introduces herself to him as "Just Jane."
  • …And That Little Girl Was Me: Jane describing the picture of a seemingly-dead girl in the rosebush, before she reveals that the girl in the picture is in fact, her.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Subverted when Jane first wakes up- she's horrified at the sight of her bruised, damaged face. She heals over time, though.
    • Langley notes with some irritation that Jane managed to land "in that goddamn rosebush like a fairytale or something." after she tried running her over.
  • Advertisement:
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Between Pete and Jane. It's made complicated as she realises she has a crush on him despite dating David.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Jane has a few shades of this, especially towards Joe, but given what she's going through it's understandable.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: Kate is mentioned to be able to flawlessly mimic someone else's voice, specifically her father's. Jane notes that it's very unsettling.
  • But Not Too Black: Jane mentions Scott is "olive-skinned", but his parentage is rather vague.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Nicky is adopted by her Native-American/Italian father and Somali American mother and has two adopted brothers who are adopted from Vietnam.
    • Jane's father mentions in a flashback their colouring is a result of a mixture of Spanish and Irish descent.
    • Pete is mentioned that he's possibly of Indian descent, but he has blue eyes.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Tons. The "friendship DVD" Kate and Langley make for Jane, the lipgloss, "conversational hitmen", the flowers, Ollie's collection of Agent Provocateur underwear...and that's just scratching the surface.
  • Advertisement:
  • Chekhov's Skill: Ollie's obsession with survelliance becomes very important later. And so does Pete's skills with a frisbee, although Jane thinks he's kidding about that.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Elsa is...a little off her rocker. Justified, because she is heavily medicated when she finally gets to talk with Jane.
    • Annie has definite traits of this, like deciding her Barbie is actually a man trapped in a woman's body. She's seven.
  • The Cloudcuckoolander Was Right: Elsa notes that, "Personally, those two scare me. Once I looked into Langley's eyes and I swear, there was no emotion there. Nothing. Then you look into Kate's eyes and they're even scarier because it's like looking into a swirling pit of darkness. Both of them are seriously messed up." The climax shows us how really messed up one of them is.
  • Control Freak: Langley. When Jane starts stepping out of line and becomes less of an Extreme Doormat, she does not. like. it. And it's not just Jane she feels the need to control, either.
  • Cool Big Sis: Nicky is this to her adopted little brothers.
    • Jane starts out as an Aloof Big Sis, but grows into one as she learns to appreciate Annie more.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Jane has one, considering her father died of a terminal illness and then her best friend also died thanks to a drug overdose at a party that Jane dragged her to.
    • Langley also has one.
  • Deadpan Snarker: More snarky than deadpan, but Jane certainly qualifies, such as her retort to Joe telling her she'll be fine in no time;
    Jane: "How do you know? Did you get a medical degree while I was in the shower?"
    • Pete is no slouch either.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Jane's mother Rosalind.
  • Driven to Suicide: The police suspect Jane was. She wasn't.
    • Bonnie's death is written off as a suicide, but her behaviour during Jane's flashback was very odd and it's hinted that she didn't kill herself.
  • Dude Magnet: Surprisingly enough, Jane. Over the course of the book, she kisses David, Scott and Pete. Annie even lampshades it.
  • Extreme Doormat: Jane, at least before the accident. As Scott puts it, "Jane Freeman, you are the biggest people-pleaser I know. You'd order popcorn at the movies even though you like peanut butter M&M's better if you think the person you're with would rather have popcorn and might want to share yours."
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Langley is confused when Jane begs her not to kill her by saying, "Please don't put my mother through that."
  • The Fashionista: Both Langley and Kate's outfits are often paid a fair amount of detail, and they always look great.
  • Female Gaze: Both Scott and Pete are mentioned as being very handsome. Even Jane's mother goes "a bit preeny" around Scott.
  • Foreshadowing: The book is absolutely littered with it, although the first time around it's difficult to spot quite a few of the clues, Jane's ring being a particularly notable example.
  • Former Friend of Alpha Bitch: Elsa was Langley and Kate's third best friend before Jane came into the picture.
  • Freudian Excuse: David's previously mentioned abusive father goes a long way to explaining his behaviour.
    • Langley is the bastard offspring of her mother and grandfather, then watched her own mother die in a fire she started. It doesn't excuse her behaviour, but is it any surprise at all she's so messed up?
  • Friend Versus Lover: Kate doesn't like David much, nor Jane blowing her off to hang out with him. Of course, it's hinted Kate has remaining feelings for Jane...
  • Genre Savvy: Pete is one of the few characters who is. Surprisingly, so is Joe.
  • Happily Married: Rosalind and Joe, much to Jane's chagrin.
  • Hates Being Touched: Kate, unless she initiates it.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Jane, Jane, Jane! She naively insists that her friends couldn't possibly hurt her because they care about her, and she also ignores remarks about her friends because, "They can't be like that, they're popular."
  • I Can't Believe a Guy Like You Would Notice Me: Jane to David, at least when they first begin dating.
  • I Don't Want to Ruin Our Friendship: Jane says this almost word-for-word after She and Kate end up kissing passionately when Jane spends the weekend at her house.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: A lot of Jane's motivation for her previous actions.
  • I'm a Man; I Can't Help It: Invoked indirectly. When Jane reveals she knows who Langley's father is, she responds, "Well, that's not Popo's fault. My mother was a whore."
  • If It's You, It's Okay: Jane and Kate experimented at one point long before the accident. Jane has mixed feelings about it, but later on it's revealed Kate is actually going out with Sloan, which may be another contributing factor to her fragile emotional state, as her father is a Preacher.
  • Like Father, Like Daughter: Jane is mentioned as very much like her late father, particularly her colouring and love of words.
  • Love Triangle: One develops between Jane, David and Pete.
    • And Kate, Sloan and David.
    • And one between Jane, Pete/David and Scott.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Langley has been controlling the scenes of quite a lot, but her manipulation of Ollie is implied to have taken place a fair bit before the book, not to mention creating Alex for the purpose of inducing sympathy from Kate and Jane, using Ollie to help ostracise Nicky to split up her and Dave. She also obviously doesn't like Kate's relationship. And then there's what she did to her mother...
  • Meaningful Echo: Jane saying to her mother, "We can get out of any knotty situation if we work together".
  • Mood-Swinger: Kate has the occasional outburst of either anger or sadness, and it often goes away just as quickly.
  • My Greatest Failure: Jane persuaded her friend Bonnie to go to a party, which ended in Bonnie being found drowned in the hot tub after overdosing on drugs. It's ruled a suicide, but Jane suspects otherwise.
  • The Nicknamer: Langley; Jane is usally "Jelly Bean", Kate is "Kit-Kat."
    • Loretta is fond of nicknames too, mostly endearments like "kitten" or "sweetheart."
  • Orderlies Are Creeps: Subverted with Pete. Ruben is also a fairly nice guy.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Played straight with Bonnie's death. In the last conversation she has with Jane, she lashes out at her and calls her a "jealous bitch", when beforehand she was not only Jane's best friend but she didn't even want to go to the party. This is a large part of why Jane suspects her death was not an accident.
  • Parental Incest: Langley's father is Popo, her grandfather. This is the reason why her mother ran away to Arizona when she was pregnant with Langley. It also may be one of the reasons why Langley is so royally screwed up.
  • Parent with New Paramour: Jane's mother remarries Joe before the events of the book; This does not endear him to Jane whatsoever.
  • Plagued by Nightmares: Almost every chapter opens with a recurring nightmare Jane has throughout the novel. It is strongly implied to be Jane's inner guilt at Bonnie's death and her anger at herself for not seeing this coming.
  • Raised by Grandparents: Langley was after her mother died in a fire. One of them is not her grandparent, however...
  • Relationship Reveal: Kate is dating Sloan.
    • Subverted with Langley- Alex isn't real. She made him up.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Langley is the Red to Kate's Blue.
    • David is Red to Ollie's Blue.
  • Red Herring: As you might expect from a mystery novel. David's car being the one that almost hits Jane is an especially notable example.
  • Really Gets Around: A rumour is made up about Nicky. Nicky blames it on Jane, but it was actually Ollie, on orders from Langley.
  • The Scapegoat: It's strongly implied that Langley "punishing" Jane for letting Bonnie die is Langley trying to get rid of her guilt for her mother's death; During the climax with Jane, she seems to confuse the two events, which only makes it more horrifying.
  • Sequel Hook: The issue of the real circumstances behind Bonnie's death are never fully resolved.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: Ollie, which only makes Jane more creeped out by him.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: Langley to Jane, when the latter tries desperately to persuade her Langley doesn't need to kill Jane, and that Langley's mother's death wasn't her fault. Langley doesn't react well.
  • Slipping a Mickey: Jane remembers that she was somehow drugged at the party, but it takes her a while to figure out not only who did it, but what had been spiked.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Scott turns out to be this. He even freely admits he went through Jane's garbage. He freaks out when Jane rejects him, unable to understand that stalking is NOT love.
  • Sticky Fingers: Kate shoplifts compulsively- she reveals to Jane she once managed to steal a frickin' car, but had to put it back because there was no way to explain how she got it.
  • The Sociopath: At first it seems like it's Ollie, but Langley takes this trope and runs with it, such as describing Jane's funeral to her and commenting on how much she's done for Jane's popularity.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Langley was the one responsible for the fire that scarred her and killed her mother, but whether she meant to do it is up for debate, as it's not absolutely clear either way.
  • The Tease: Langley, somewhat. According to her, she and Ollie have a "look but don't touch" policy."
  • Totally Radical: David doesn't say goodbye, he says, "Stay soft."
  • Verbal Tic: Kate phrases most of what she says as a question?
  • You Have to Believe Me!: The more and more threats Jane receives, the less everyone around her believes her, especially because most of them happen when she is alone and can't prove they happened. This takes a very tense turn in the climax.