Book Review: Red

Published By: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 8, 2013
Page Count: 320
Source: Kindly Provided by Publisher via NetGalley
Audience: Young Adult - Contemporary

I spent a rather long time struggling to take this concept seriously. A girl who lives in fear that her life will fall down about her ears because someone might find out she dyes her hair red and isn't a natural red head? I found it hard to identify with and found the whole thing a bit silly. But Felicity St John grew on me as she dealt with a blackmailer, gained a backbone and grew up.

Her main problem is that she has grown up in Scarletville, a sanctuary town for red haired people. In this town, if it's not red, it's not worth thinking about. Brunettes and blondes have a really rough deal as second class citizens, and strawberry blondes like Felicity aren't much better. After wondering why they didn't just leave town and wise up, I decided to just go with it. The problem is that all the characters in Scarletville are very sheltered... They need to get out a little.

Felicity is really saved by her blackmailer in the end - if her secret had never been discovered she would have continued living a hollow life, trying desperately to please her mother by conforming, competing in pageants and generally being miserable all for the sake of popularity.

There was a nice undertone about acceptance throughout which won me over a little, and I did enjoy the development of Felicity and Jonathan's friendship as she started to see past his brunette hair. However, despite the way it came through in the end, the whole concept remained just a little silly for me. An enjoyable bit of (red) fluff.

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?