Friday, May 1, 2015

Red by Alison Cherry

Red is set in the town of Scarletville. In the future, redheads have become incredibly rare because of genetics and stuff. Scarletville is a haven for carrot tops. Anyone with red hair is given preference over blondes and brunettes, even strawberry blondes ("Strawbies," as they call them).

Felicity St. John is one of the most popular redheads at her school. Her mom has been pushing her to win the Miss Scarlet pageant, in fact her family's financial future depends on it. But Felicity has a deep, dark secret. She is really...a strawbie! Her mom has been having her hair dyed at this secret underground salon since she was a toddler.

Her future is jeopardized when Gabby, outspoken brunette and daughter of Felicity's hairdresser, blackmails her. Gabby wants to shake up the ginger hierarchy, so her first demand is a nomination for prom queen. After everyone loses their mind, Gabby demands that Felicity's boyfriend take her instead.

Gabby isn't in the right by blackmailing Felicity, but Felicity is WAY out of line for her retaliation scheme. She plans to reveal the location of Gabby's mom's salon, just destroying her life and Gabby's entire family's lives, including that of Gabby's cute little sister who looks up to her. It's worth it if you win a pageant though, right?

There's also a little side plot where Felicity falls the brown-haired school newspaper editor. He takes her out of town and she sees that the rest of the world isn't like Scarletville, and that might not be a bad thing.

The premise of Red is interesting from a genetics standpoint. The story is really more about using rare hair color as an excuse to be jerks to other people. It's hard to dislike Gabby for what she does, and she is pretty annoying on her own. Felicity, again, really needed to get her priorities straight with what she was doing. It made me really hate her. Red seems as though it should have been fun and bubbly, but it was full of social injustice and inequality. At least it was something to think (and rage) about?

I received my copy of Red from Netgalley, courtesy of Delacorte Books for Young Readers. It's available for purchase now.

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