Naomi Rose by Kirsten Esden begins when Naomi Rose is an adult. Naomi's real story begins when she is 10 years old with the death of her mother. Her father, a college professor, insists she be quiet and poised. Naomi, a vivacious reader, has a desire to gain her father's time and attention. Trying to grieve Naomi uses her imagination by telling or suggesting stories, some very shocking believable stories, to make herself more popular with her piers or to gain sympathy or attention. Her desire is great. Her father's grief leads him to begin drinking and his problem escalates. Thus begins her story. Naomi's story is a very good one! I think we all can see a bit of ourselves in Naomi especially in our teenage years and especially if you were lonely and sad or hurting and never quite fit in.
by Pat F.
A friend recommended that I read this debut book and I’m so glad I did. It gripped me from the first page right through to the end. Written in the first person Naomi Rose tells her story from childhood through to her adult years but this is so much more than a simple coming of age book as it delves deeply into issues like bereavement, addiction, lies and betrayal and their long reaching consequences for all concerned. The author gives you such a great insight into the personalities of the characters that I felt I knew them all personally and would genuinely like to know how Naomi’s actions at the end of the book panned out. I would definitely love to read a follow up to this book but also any other work by this author as she is obviously a talented writer.
by Mel Carter
I loved this debut novel - I couldn't put it down. Kirsten Esden explores the themes of grief, parenting, addiction, race, and friendship through a gripping coming of age story. She writes beautifully about Naomi's struggle to 'fit in' at secondary school, which I found incredibly moving and creates such strong characters, I felt like they were my friends.
This would be a perfect choice for book clubs as there is so much to discuss - not least the ending - and it is a great read.
by Johanna Reid
A real page turner… couldn’t put it down! As a first novel by this author it is truly remarkable. I felt a rollercoaster of emotions towards Naomi… I was sorry for her, she irritated me, I loved her, I was proud of her… a complexed character which made the story so much more exhilarating. This writer covers grief, addictions, mental health, the breakdown and repair in core family relationships and friends. Consequently I’m hopeful that Kirsten will indulge us in the next instalment of Naomi’s life and all those she encounters.
A gripping read. Vivid characters and compelling narrative which drew me in from the first pages. Kirsten’s writing style is fluid and purposeful, I loved it. I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.
by Amazon Customer
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 21 May 2020
What a great read, I struggled to put it down. I was immediately drawn into Naomi Rose's world of grief, other people's expectations of her and her confusion and disappointment at their failures. I didn't find her an easy character to like, I read with a kind of horrified fascination as she was in turn childlike, naïve and Machiavellian in her pursuit of affection and control. The ending didn't necessarily make me feel any happier about the adult she becomes.
The cast of supporting characters are equally engaging, disturbing and loveable. Is it wrong to admit you are a little in love (in fiction) with Ozzy?
A brilliant novel and I cannot wait to read more by this author.
by Wendy Randell
This is one of the best debut novels I have read. Thoroughly enjoyable with believable and likeable characters. Can't wait for a second book from this author.
An avid reader, ten year-old Naomi Rose already knows the power of a good story. When her mother dies, Naomi’s emotional struggle is exacerbated by her attempts to appease her father’s demands for self-restraint and composure.
With her father increasing turning to the bottle for solace, Naomi seeks attention elsewhere, devising highly embellished tales to shock her classmates and delight in their reaction. But one tale goes too far and Naomi’s life begins to unravel...
Naomi Rose navigates the life of a troubled teenager well. Losing her mum at a young age, sets the scene for her ongoing actions and behaviour.
The novel jumps from present day, adult Naomi, to ten year-old, to teenager. Adult Naomi questioning if “there is a cut-off point when grief becomes an excuse rather than a justification.” I enjoyed this real, it reminded me of teenage life - the ups and the downs of navigating our way through. It was a short novel (I finished it in a day) and I honestly didn’t know who the ‘Gardner’ was until the last page! An outstanding debut.
“Life does not happen to us. We are not passive bystanders in our own destinies. We choose how to behave, we make decisions, but everything has consequences.”
Naomi Rose by Kirsten Esden begins when Naomi Rose is an adult. Naomi's real story begins when she is 10 years old with the death of her mother. Her father, a college professor, insists she be quiet and poised. Naomi, a vivacious reader, has a desire to gain her father's time and attention. Trying to grieve Naomi uses her imagination by telling or suggesting stories, some very shocking believable stories, to make herself more popular with her piers or to gain sympathyor attention. Her desire is great. Her father's grief leads him to begin drinking and his problem escalates. Thus begins her story. Naomi's story is a very good one! I think we all can see a bit of ourselves in Naomi especially in our teenage years and especially if you were lonely and sad or hurting and never quite fit in.
Read this book. Now. It's so so good. I can't say much without giving away the story but you need to put this awesome book at the too of your TBR list. You won't regret it. Happy reading.
A book that drew me into Naomi Roses world from first pages.Her mothers death relationship with her father on to her relationship with her teacher.Naomi is a well written character who comes alive kept me turning the pages.
Literally couldn’t put this book down. You instantly feel a part of Naomi Roses troubled life. I would highly recommend this book to everyone who enjoys a good read. Simply brilliant!
by Sarah Newman
I loved this book, couldn’t put it down and have found that it has stayed with me ever since.The characters are interesting and wonderfully varied- their voices jump out at you from the page. I look forward to a second novel from this talented author.
by Pamela (Goodreads)
Kirsten Esden grew up in East London and moved out to Essex to study English and Sociology in 1999. After graduating, she trained to become a teacher and took up a full-time post in a primary school. Upon leaving the profession in 2015, she completed a master's degree in Creative Writing . She currently divides her time between writing fiction and working for a charity which aims to reduce isolation for migrant and refugee women living in the East of England.
You can follow her on Twitter @kesden78