Sunday, October 6, 2013

Be Yourself - A Review of Red by Alison Cherry

(Goodreads Blurb)
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?

Thank you to Netgalley for providing an ARC of Red in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The Story...

Felicity St. John's life is the envy of many in her hometown of Scarletville, IA.  She has lived her life having special privileges because of her red hair.  After securing her spot in the upcoming Miss Scarlet pageant, Felicity begins receiving intimidating notes.  Someone has found out her secret and is threatening to tell everyone in the town if Felicity doesn't do exactly what the blackmailer asks.

Felicity's friends don't understand why she has suddenly begun to act so strangely.  Her boyfriend, Brent, is getting on her nerves.  Her mother keeps hammering the importance of the Miss Scarlet Pageant and what it will mean for her family.  Felicity only finds peace in her tentative friendship with fellow artist, Jonathan.  

Felicity seeks help from her friends and her mother all while trying to conceal the fact that she has been dying her hair red for years.  It's Felicity's strawberry blonde teacher that offers the best advice.
"This is just what I look like, and I don't really have the time or energy to be self-conscious about it."
Eventually Felicity listens to her teacher and Jonathan and decides to compete in the pageant as herself.  Unfortunately, Felicity forgot about the rules of the competition and risks getting disqualified, her mother's job, and her future.

What Worked...

Ultimately, Red is a story about bullying and acceptance.  It's about being tolerant of people that may look different than you, but that actually resemble you more closely than even your family members.

I loved the fierceness of Felicity's friend Ivy from the very beginning.  Even after Felicity's secrets have been revealed and it seems that the town has turned on her, Ivy is right beside her being the voice of reason and offering Felicity a place to hide out for a few days.

Jonathan is a perfectly swoony artistic boy.  He's a teeny bit geeky but in exactly the right way.  He's always slightly awkward and uneasy around Felicity, but you can tell that he looks way beyond her hair color and sees who she is inside.  I loved Jonathan.

What Didn't...

While I know this story was satirical, at times it was quite annoying.  I get the point behind the situations, but that didn't stop me from wanting to smack a character or two for their actions.  However, this is coming from someone living outside of the world that the book is set in (as fictional as it is) and I have no way of knowing how I would have reacted in the same situations.

The story was entertaining and the characters were likable.  Felicity's budding new romance with Jonathan was the perfect balance of friendship and weak knees.

4 out of 5 stars.


On Amazon:  Red 
On Goodreads: Red
Alison on Twitter: Alison Cherry
Alison's Blog:  Alison Cherry Books

Be Yourself by Audioslave

And even when you've paid enough, 
been pulled apart or been held up 
With every single memory of the good or bad faces of luck 
don't lose any sleep tonight 
I'm sure everything will end up alright

You may win or lose

But to be yourself is all that you can do

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