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?
Description taken from Goodreads.
Ginger St. John
There are exactly five characters that have red-oriented names in this book. The only way that this book could get more red is if the font was red. Even the author’s name is Alison Cherry, and yes–she’s a redhead. In this story, everything is about the color red, specifically having red hair. That grows to be a fun concept that’s also incredibly annoying.
There’s nothing special with the writing in RED. It’s actually quite simplistic and not at all hard to understand. The characters follow the same principle. Each one of them have a defining characteristic and don’t show a whole lot of depth over the course of the story. Especially with Felicity, I was hoping that she would grow and change, but she doesn’t do much of that over the course of the story. Yes, she grows to understand many things better, but she never truly as a revelation big enough to inspire a change in her character.
During the whole course of the book, I was entertained but I also felt like the story was held down because of the themes behind the premise and plot. Basically, someone discovers that Felicity is a “strawbie” and this fact alone is enough to ruin her entire life so Felicity has a meltdown and almost loses her best friends, her boyfriend, her family and many of the people who care about her because of the things she does under the blackmail of the person who knows her secret.
If you want a quick, fun read, RED may seem like the perfect book, but I would not recommend it. The whole book is very dramatic and certainly fun to read at times, but it’s also wearing and not to be taken seriously. The prejudice in RED is the most exhausting thing about it. Still, it’s believable, which is why I didn’t try to judge that part of it too harshly. I felt like it was understand and realistic. The real reason why this story let me down was because of how these themes (being dramatic, all the prejudice, the backstabbing) made the plot descend into a wave of pettiness and immaturity.
Overall, this wasn’t a bad read, but the themes really got to me. I wish it could’ve come out on a positive note, as a life-lesson kind of story, but it didn’t for me. I also disliked the way that Cherry left things hanging. She didn’t fully capture the power of the story she had built up. There were so many questions as to what happens now? that don’t get answered, but all in all, it was an okay read. 2.5 stars.
pg count for the hardback: 320
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