Monday, September 23, 2013

Review: Red by Alison Cherry

From Goodreads: Felicity St. John has it all - loyal best friends, a hot guy, and artistic talent. And she’s right on track to win the Miss Scarlet pageant. Her perfect life is possible because of just one thing: her long, wavy, coppery red hair. Having red hair is all that matters in Scarletville. Redheads hold all the power - and everybody knows it. That’s why Felicity is scared down to her roots when she receives an anonymous note: I know your secret. Because Felicity is a big fake. Her hair color comes straight out of a bottle. And if anyone discovered the truth, she’d be a social outcast faster than she could say "strawberry blond." Her mother would disown her, her friends would shun her, and her boyfriend would dump her. And forget about winning that pageant crown and the prize money that comes with it - money that would allow her to fulfill her dream of going to art school. Felicity isn’t about to let someone blackmail her life away. But just how far is she willing to go to protect her red cred? 

My Rating: 3.5 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: When I first saw the summary of Red by Alison Cherry, I thought it sounded like a weirdly interesting read. Only after I read Red did I realize that it’s a satire. If you substitute being redheaded for different cultural ideals of beauty, you quickly see that it’s not just in the fictional town of Scarletville that some people have a higher status than others based on some absurd criteria. 

In terms of the characters, I found it easy to empathize with Felicity because her mom is one of those parents that claim to want what’s best for their child but really just want their child to be a younger version of themselves. And because Felicity doesn’t want to disappoint her mom, she constantly worries about her ‘red cred’ – even going so far as to do whatever her blackmailer tells her to do – while trying to figure out how she can achieve her own goals without hurting her mother. My favourite character, however, was Ivy because she was so individualistic. 

Although I did like Red, I had several issues with it. As a satire, I thought it required a lot of suspension of disbelief, yet turned out to only be an average read. I also didn’t like the idea of resorting to blackmail to change the status quo. Had the cause for change begun in a positive manner, I think I’d feel a bit more sympathy for Felicity’s blackmailer. Lastly, the novel wasn’t as mysterious as I expected; Felicity basically suspects one person to be her blackmailer, confronts her (pretty early in the book), and finds out that she’s right.

Red will be released by Delacorte Books for Young Readers on October 8, 2013. 

Comments About the Cover: There’s nothing particularly special about it. I do like the model’s pose though. 

In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (Random House) for free via NetGalley.


  1. I find it interesting that this explores the positions of power brought by some aesthetic criteria. It's been a while since I'd read a proper satire, and while I'm not entirely sure this qualifies, I still think it might be an interesting read.
    Thanks for the lovely review.

  2. Huh, never thought this was a satire. For some reason I thought it was more of a thriller. Not sure about picking this one up, Z. I think I'll pass for now.

  3. Hmmmm. Not sure about this one Z! Sometimes satire is lost on me, and if it requires too much suspension of disbelief I just can't get into it. My habit of questioning everything while I'm reading would likely keep me from being able to settle into this one and just appreciate it for what it is. Thanks for your thoughts!

  4. I'm not always very good at just going along with strange concepts like this, but I'm glad to hear you enjoyed the book overall. It's a shame that the mystery fell flat a little early on, but I'm glad that you at least liked/connected with some of the characters. Lovely review, Z!

  5. Satire and I don't really go well together and I wouldn't recognize it even if it were staring at me. I also thought this was a mystery/thriller. Thanks for the review, Z! I think I'll pass on this.

  6. Umm that confrontation sounds pretty unsuspenseful.When I pick up a read like Red I want it to be intense and gripping. I fear I have to pass on Red then. Thank you for your honest review!

  7. I'm curious about this one, but I haven't seen many ratings come in for it yet--definitely one of those concepts that could go either way, so it's good to hear you enjoyed it overall.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  8. nice blig :)

  9. hm, sounds like a skip. It takes a really great satire to convince me, and it doesn't sound like this one holds up well enough. I'm also really not that interested in reading about the mother/daughter issue. Oh well, thanks for the info! Glad to hear you enjoyed it, even if you didn't love it.


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