Sunday, January 5, 2014

REVIEW: RED by Alison Cherry

Title: Red
Author: Alison Cherry
Publisher: Quercus
Publication Date: December 24, 2013
Genre: Young Adult
Reviewed by: Angie Edwards
Source: From Publisher via NetGalley
My rating: 4/5


Top student. Beauty queen. Girlfriend of the hottest football jock: Felicity's got everything. And it's all down to her red, red hair.

Felicity lives in Scarletville, the world's only redhead sanctuary, where red hair is celebrated, protected - and the key to sucess.

But Felicity has a secret. A red hot secret. And if anyone finds out, she's finished.

Because Felicity's actually a natural blonde.

And in Scarletville, blondes need not apply.


It takes a red-headed woman to get a dirty job done.
- Bruce Springsteen, “Red-Headed Woman”

I’ve wanted to read this book since the moment I laid eyes on it. It sounded like something completely different; a story not centered on romance. Different it was indeed, but also not.

The entire story focuses on Felicity living in a town which is a known haven for redheads. Scarletville celebrates the birth of every redheaded baby, has a community college with free tuition for students born with red hair, and affords loads of opportunities and privileges to its townsfolk born with a head of hair of the copper variety. Heck, it even has a social networking site specifically, and exclusively, for redheads as well as – to the mayor’s consternation - a secret underground hair salon for the redhead wannabe. You get the picture, right? So what happens if you’re like Felicity, one of the unfortunates whose mop of hair is any other color but red? Well, in Scarletville, you’ll pretty much then be ignored and considered a zero. But here’s the thing. Nobody knows that Felicity’s hair is a dyed red. Shocking! At least, in Scarletville it’s definitely a no-go.

Her mom had spent seventeen years forcing her into a mold she didn’t fit, but Felicity knew that every moment had been out of love. It wasn’t just about the prize money-Ginger believed in Miss Scarlet with her entire heart and soul and truly thought this was the best possible path for her daughter.

But there’s much more to it than Felicity hiding her true hair color. Red is a story about self-worth, the courage it takes to be true to yourself, and becoming who you want to be instead of living up to everybody else’s expectations of you. When Felicity is blackmailed by another student who has discovered Felicity’s secret, she’s faced with quite the dilemma. Should she allow the other girl to continue blackmailing her, or should she risk coming out with the truth, expose her mother as a fraud, face humiliation and be ostracized by half the town? It might sound like a simple solution to just tell the truth and be done with it, but you see, Felicity has a lot to lose if she does.

First off, I really liked the idea for this story. It has a little romance in it, but it’s not the heart of the story, which goes to show that it is possible to write an enjoyable teen novel without throwing a boy in the mix to make it all better for the female protagonist.  For that alone I salute this author. But, like I said, the story does have a tiny bit of romance in it, which gives it that feel-good edge at the end, although for me it wasn’t really a satisfying finale and it all concluded on a slightly gloomy note. However, I enjoyed getting to know the small town of Scarletville and its prejudice against persons not born with red hair. The characters are relatively standard and nothing about them really stood out for me. The only character that had a bit of an impact on me was one of Felicity’s best friends, Ivy. That girl had spunk and attitude, and she brightens up the story a whole lot.

Red is an enjoyable, clean read suitable for middle grade readers and up. It is also a quick read which I finished in a matter of hours. Overall I’d recommend this book to all teenage girls as it focuses on character building and self-confidence. Although it lacks the humor and pizzazz of books by authors such as Meg Cabot and Miranda Kenneally, I’d also recommend it to fans of those authors books.


Red by Alison Cherry has 122 reviews on Goodreads. Read it here.



Alison grew up in Evanston, IL. She is a professional photographer and spent many years working as a lighting designer for theater, opera, and dance. Now she lives in Brooklyn and writes young adult novels full time. Her debut, RED, has been released from Delacorte in October of 2013. She is represented by the lovely and amazing Holly Root of Waxman Leavell.

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