Author: Alison Cherry
Published by: Quercus
Publication date: 2nd January 2014
Genres: Young Adult/Contemporary
Source: Review copy from the publisher.
'Red' is set in Scarletville, Iowa; a town where redheads are the superior race, and blondes and brunettes are thought less of. Redheads are popular, more successful, prettier and well respected, whilst people with other hair colours are invisible to society. Felicity is one of the most popular girls in school, and she has everything to lose. So when someone finds out she's not naturally a redhead and threatens to tell everybody, Felicity does whatever it takes to keep her secret exactly what it should be. A secret.
I expected to enjoy this book. It looked intriguing. Exciting. Different. Sure, the summary sounded a little unrealistic but I thought 'Maybe the writer can make it believable.' She didn't. It wasn't. My hopes of the plot maintaining any realism were crushed when it said Felicity was on her way to 'History of Redheadedness.' Really? I'm sorry but that just made me cringe. I appreciate it was probably an attempt at humour and, don't get me wrong, I'm all for humourous books, but this just failed miserably.
The book was very cliche, and it was all a bit too Disney for my liking; the ending genuinely reminded me of High School Musical. The concept, I'll admit, was an interesting one and I liked that the author was exploring racism in more depth and putting a twist on it. I kept reading because I wanted to see if Felicity would be exposed, and I was desperately clinging onto my hope of Felicity finally standing up for herself and what she believed in.
That brings me to another point. I liked Felicity a lot, but some things about her just really annoyed me. She wouldn't stand up for herself against her mother, and instead of telling anyone responsible about being blackmailed by Gabby, she just did what she was told. I just wanted to shake her, to be honest. There was such a clear route in which everything could go right, and it got a bit frustrating to watch, after a while.
Contrary to what I've said, I did enjoy this book, just not as much as I'd hoped. There is a character called Jonathan who became the main love interest, and he made the book so much better! I wish there had been more scenes with him and Felicity as he was the only character I genuinely liked. It was interesting to see how the redheads acted towards people who didn't have red hair, and I felt sorry for all of them. It made me sad to think that hair colour could be so important to people, and it was definitely thought-provoking.
So, 'Red' was an interesting read and not your mainstream YA contemporary. I liked it, but I wouldn't really recommend it. It just felt like it was lacking something, and the writing style was very simple. The concept had a lot of potential, but I don't think it lived up to what it could have been, unfortunately.