Delacorte Books for Young Readers
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?
The summary of this book sounded a bit ridiculous. I mean, it’s compelling, but then there are weirder things people celebrate such as garlic or wife-carrying marathons. That's a story for a different day. Despite its outlandish premise, it didn't take much effort for me to buy the storyline. Insert schools in place of salons and it doesn't look much different: people still gossip, hide flaws, spill secrets, and want to be known for something.
In order for her daughter to be known, Felicity St. John's mother has paid an inconspicuous beautician to dye her daughter's strawberry blond hair a coppery red in order to facilitate the illusion that her daughter is a natural red-head in hopes to continue the legacy of reigning pageant queen of Scarletville. When Felicity is blackmailed by another student and her secret threatened with exposure, she realizes that she has a mess on her hands that dye may not be able to undo.
The cover led me to believe this book may be similar to "Mean Girls" but I was wrong. I hold no grudges against snotty antagonists but Felicity is your run-of-the-mill All American next door girl with a few secrets she doesn't want to share. Her friends supported her, her parents didn't understand her, and she found herself liking another boy despite having a boyfriend. I really had to give a "thumbs up" to the author's development of characters throughout the story. Some I felt to be annoying yet even though I didn't like them, I completely understood their motives weird or wrong as I felt they may be.
The premise behind "Red" is pretty amazing! I loved the plot and the way that the author implanted such satirical roots especially when said book is a young adult book. It is rare find. Ms. Cherry did an excellent job of pointing out societal flaws that are as apparent in our society as they are in Felicity's. Aside from the fact that the society's elite status is separated from the rest by the color of hair, I really enjoyed the book. I realize it isn't for everyone but it will make them think. This book isn't really as it seems and that is what makes such an excellent book.
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher.