Book Review: Red by Alison Cherry

Posted December 5, 2013 by Kara in book review, Kara / 13 Comments

Book Review: Red by Alison CherryRed by Alison Cherry
Published by Random House Childrens Books on October 8th, 2013
Genres: satire, young adult
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
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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?Praise for RED:“As thought-provoking as it is enchanting.”—Rae Carson, author of the FIRE AND THORNS trilogy “Smart, funny, and full of Awesome Ladies Behaving Awesomely, Alison Cherry's RED is everything I look for in a book. It will make you laugh, it will make you think, and it will make you book an appointment with your colorist immediately.

I was really looking forward to Red. I wish I could say that I liked it, but I didn’t. It started out okay, even though I didn’t love the writing from the start. It felt very juvenile, and after the first couple of chapters my eyes started to roll, and then it just got bad, and not much later, worse. I think my main issue was the cheese factor. And suspension of disbelief. It’s very difficult to believe that there is actually a town in the middle of Iowa that is a redhead sanctuary, and unfortunately the book doesn’t do a great job of convincing the reader of that either. It’s also difficult to tell if this book is a satire or taking itself seriously. And when you can’t tell, that’s generally not a good thing.

Felicity St. John is an out-of-the-bottle redhead in a town full of naturals. Every day she lives a lie about her hair. Somewhere, hidden in the town of Scarletville, is a secret salon that only the fake redheads know about. And it is run by Felicity’s blackmailer’s mother. Gabby finds out about Felicity’s hair, and because she is a brunette in a town full of redheads, she decides to take it out on her, even though Felicity has never done anything negative to her. But that doesn’t mean you won’t hate Felicity. Because man is she shallow. And whiny.  And judgemental. And completely unlikeable. It was hard being in her head for the entirety of this book. Seriously tiring. 

Weirdly enough, I had the urge to DNF more than once, but even though this book was TERRIBLE, it was compulsively readable and so I pushed on. This is also why I decided to award it two stars instead of one. It definitely could have been worse. It’s just such a shallow book though. The writing leaves a lot to be desired, and the characters are wholly unmemorable. There is a lot of telling going on, and the setting of Scarletville should come to life, but it doesn’t due to the tone and writing style of the book. It’s really sad because I do feel like there was a lot of potential here, but the execution was a complete failure. 

There’s not a whole lot else to say. The characters are flat, cardboard, and what personalities they do have are most likely the parts a reader will hate. I did feel sympathy for Felicity because her mother was absolutely atrocious, but honestly, I just finished this book yesterday and I have already forgotten the minor details. It’s just an underwhelming effort, and definitely a forgettable one. I think this book was trying to send me a message about beauty being only skin deep and all that, but it was totally lost in translation. I’d give this one a pass if I were you. And you know I don’t say that often.


13 responses to “Book Review: Red by Alison Cherry

  1. I haven’t seen very many blogs actually like this book. I really thought about reading it when it fist came out, but Ice changed my mind. I don’t like my main characters to be unlikeable. That’s a big no for me. Plus I sort of thought scarletville existed in a dystopian world… I find it hard to believe there could be a town like that in the America of here and now.

  2. Eep! I have this one on my TBR this month (c/o Netgalley) but so far I’ve only seen bad reviews. Not really looking forward to reading it! x

  3. You know, I think I’m the only one among our friends that has liked this book and Felicity! It feels weird to be the happy one for once. I see exactly where you’re coming from and agree with almost everything you have to say, though. Especially on the suspension of disbelief, poor characters, and the compulsive readability. Were it not for that little niggling voice telling me I HAD to see this through to see where it went, I would have DNFed really early on.

    • Yeah, I just wanted to finish it for some reason. I didn’t feel like I was dragging through it even though I didn’t like it, which is ultimately why I gave it two stars instead of one.

  4. I have this one in my TBR pile and have been putting it off because of so many meh reviews. Sigh…I was hoping that there would be more explanation to the red hair thing.

  5. Womp womp.

    I am not surprised. BUt yeahhhhh. This could have been really good, but their needed to be way more humor in it. MORE SATIRE. Also, Felicity needed to be…interesting.


  6. It’s definitely not good if you don’t know whether the author is being satirical or not. I find that sometimes a book is such a train wreck I don’t want to stop reading, either because I am desperately hoping it’ll pick itself back up or that it really will crash and burn gloriously all the way towards the end! Good to know I didn’t miss out on anything by not reading this one!
    Juli @ Universe in Words
    Juli @ Universe in Words recently posted…Review: ‘Burning Your Boats’ by Angela CarterMy Profile

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