3.0 5
by Alison Cherry

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Contemporary teen fiction with a twist!

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

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Contemporary teen fiction with a twist!

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?

“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."
—Rachel Hawkins, New York Times bestselling author of the Hex Hall series

“Clever, wickedly funny and with so much heart.”—Melina Marchetta, author of the Printz-award winning Jellicoe Road

 “Sparkles with wit.”—Publishers Weekly
“A really strong commentary on superficiality and social standing.”–School Library Journal
“This may challenge readers to reconsider how they define beauty—and perhaps give them the confidence to question a pecking order or two.”—Booklist

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—When you live in a town that was founded as a refuge for misunderstood redheads, well, you better be a ginger. Felicity St. John, popular junior at Scarletville High School and nominee for this year's Miss Scarlet pageant, lives in fear that her deepest secret will be revealed. Her copper locks are really a dye job-she's naturally strawberry blonde. With a mother who is a past Miss Scarlet, the truth is just unacceptable and so Felicity has been going to the top-secret Rouge-o-Rama salon to get her hair colored since she was two years old. As the pageant approaches, though, Felicity finds she doesn't really care about winning. Her devotion to her mother's obsession with having her daughter follow in her footsteps is truly tested when someone begins to blackmail Felicity, threatening to let everyone know she's a fake. Soon she finds herself acting completely out of character, doing things that could cost her her friends and boyfriend, all just to protect a secret that she's starting to be tired of keeping. At first Cherry's novel may seem to have a somewhat silly premise, but underneath the "ginger" focus, there is a really strong commentary on superficiality and social standing. Readers will find themselves questioning the distribution of power based on appearance and the lengths that people will go to in order to protect their deepest secrets. Inner strength and self-acceptance are also strong themes that run throughout the book. While readers may giggle their way through this fast-paced tale, they will also find themselves thinking about it.—Jessica Miller, West Springfield Public Library, MA
Publishers Weekly
Felicity St. John hails from Scarletville, Iowa, a town that prides itself on its redheaded residents, where high school students take classes like “History of Redheadedness.” Discrimination in favor of gingers is par for the course, especially as the town gears up for the all-important Miss Scarlet Pageant. Though Felicity qualified for one of the coveted 12 spots, she has a terrible secret: her “bright coppery red” hair is fake. When someone threatens to out Felicity as an “artie,” she allows herself to be blackmailed into actions that hurt herself and the people around her. Debut author Cherry’s writing sparkles with wit, and she cleverly uses Scarletville’s obsession with redheadedness to raise questions about typical high school politics and the ways people determine what is beautiful, good, and worthy of popularity—all with a satirical wink to readers. Felicity is sympathetic and relatable as she struggles with the warped values instilled in her, the repercussions of having to hide her “embarrassing flaw,” and other ideas about beauty, romance, and the world beyond Scarletville. Ages 12–up. Agent: Holly Root, Waxman Leavell Literary Agency. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
 “Sparkles with wit.”—Publishers Weekly
“A really strong commentary on superficiality and social standing.”–School Library Journal
“This may challenge readers to reconsider how they define beauty—and perhaps give them the confidence to question a pecking order or two.”—Booklist
Children's Literature - Sandra G. Brody
The town of Scarletville, Iowa, known as the National Redhead Sanctuary, is home to redheaded Felicity, her mom, half twin brothers and friends. Everyone who is anyone in Scarletville has one thing in common: red hair. Felicity's best friends, Ivy and Haylie, and her boyfriend Brent, also have red hair. Since Felicity can remember, her mom has wanted one thing for Felicity: to win the Miss Scarlet Pageant. Felicity has gone along because it is expected of her. The only problem is that Felicity does not actually have red hair. Her natural hair color is strawberry blonde, but since she was a baby Felicity's mom has taken her to a secret salon to have her hair dyed red. Felicity is always nervous about her roots showing and about somebody finding out her secret. Gabby, her hairdresser's daughter does learn the truth and starts using it to blackmail Felicity. To protect her identity, Felicity does what Gabby demands and in the process loses her friends, her boyfriend, and her mother's dream of Felicity being crowned Miss Scarlet. Felicity is an artist and is curating her high school's student art show. Jonathan, her co-curator, is a senior, and the only person who seems to understand who Felicity really is. Gabby forces Felicity to convince Brent to take Gabby to the prom, leaving Felicity to go alone. Jonathan rescues her and takes her out of Scarletville for the evening to a non-red town. Felicity starts to realize that being a redhead is not that important and in the end stands up for herself. Initially Red seems to be a book with an unbelievable plot. Several social implications soon are uncovered. The story addresses bullying, accepting those with physical differences and sticking up for what we believe. This is an important read for teens. Reviewer: Sandra G. Brody
Kirkus Reviews
In a town where being a redhead is everything, a teen struggles with her identity. In the book's unsubtle analogy to the theme of racial inequality, Scarletville's residents profess no prejudice toward those not redheaded, but reality proves otherwise. No dissident, Felicity's mother has spent years prepping her daughter to win the popular Miss Scarlet pageant, but she's also been secretly having Felicity's below-par strawberry locks dyed just the right copper red. Felicity has performed well and won many pageants to please her superficial mother, but her mother's discouraging attitude toward Felicity's pursuit of studio art causes growing resentment. Though she has remained with her hunky, superficial boyfriend, Felicity is attracted to Jonathan, a talented art student and a staunch supporter of rights for blonds and brunettes, as well as redheads. The real trouble starts when Felicity's dye job is discovered. Felicity's efforts in support of hair-color equality begin only when her own rights have been trampled--they are more self-serving than altruistic. There's not a lot of rich nor particularly original description here, and many analogies are stretched farther than a jumbo-sized hair elastic. Though the ending isn't predictable, it isn't satisfying enough to justify this long journey. And it's hard to get past the laughable premise; if this were a futuristic novel in which oppression was the law or even if it were simply exaggerated more for effect, it would be easier to buy. Not satiric enough to succeed in its evident aim. (Fiction. 12 & up)

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Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Sold by:
Random House
Sales rank:
840L (what's this?)
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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Red 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Books4Tomorrow More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sarah_UK1 More than 1 year ago
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Quercus books and Netgalley.) Felicity lives in Scarletville, a place where redheads are revered. Felicity has envious red hair, but would die if anyone knew that it was only red due to frequent trips to a top-secret salon. When someone discovers Felicity’s secret, and begins to blackmail her, Felicity sees no choice other than to give in to her blackmailer, even if it means being made to look a fool. Who is blackmailing Felicity? And how can she put an end to it? This was an interesting story, but it wasn’t quite as good as I thought it would be. Felicity was an okay character, but she didn’t have quite the backbone I expected. For one of the popular girls she was actually really quite lacking in self-esteem, and I was shocked at how she really believed that her life would be over if people knew she was a blonde rather than a red head. The storyline in this was okay, but I expected more tension, and I expected the blackmail to be a little more suspenseful and well, bad. Instead the threats seemed fairly tame, the things that Felicity was expected to do, were again fairly tame, and the identity of the blackmailer took her all of 10 seconds to work out. If Felicity had actually had a bit more self-worth she wouldn’t have been falling all over herself in case her roots were showing, and would never have given in to such a lame attempt at blackmail. The ending to this was okay, but was again pretty tame, and I didn’t feel that the events of the story really had all that much impact on anyone but Felicity, which wasn’t really all that exciting really. Overall; an okay story, but I expected more. 6.75 out of 10.
majibookshelf More than 1 year ago
I've always been a sucker for realistic fictions, and this one started pretty good. Oh oh, you're probably thinking "why did she just say started?", because it went pretty downhill after that. Yes, I was disappointed. I really liked the idea, and the plot was interesting, it just didn't go into the direction I wanted it to be. I'm not saying it was a bad book or anything, I enjoyed it, but it just wasn't as good as I had hoped it would have been. The main protagonist, Cole, lives in a small town called Webster. After his mother passed away last year, he's been wanting to get out of the "Web", as they call it. His guidance then gives him a pamphlet of film school in vancouver, and he decides to start the short film for the application, and then study there. The characters were great. To me, Cole seemed like a very confused kid. He has a great girlfriend, who he suddenly decides to break up with. He doesn't even bother speaking with his dad, or try to communicate with him as family members should do. Cole's best friend, Greg, doesn't even like the fact that Cole broke up with Lauren, and everything is just messed up. Towards the middle, somethings were just confusing in this book. The plot was all over the place, and I didn't really get much of anything. I still read on though, and I was glad that things weren't confusing anymore.  Another important factor is the romance, and let me tell you, the romance was literally all over the place! I was not happy with how it ended in the romance part, and I just did NOT understand Cole. It really frustrated me. Overall, this book was good. You might think I hated it from my review, but it was an ok book. There were somethings I hoped would have been different, but I really liked the ending (aside from the romance). If I had to give this book a mood, it would be quiet. It felt very quiet to me. I would definitely look into Tanya's future books, and I would recommend this to any of those who like realistic fiction/contemporary books. 
StephWard More than 1 year ago
3.5 Stars 'Red' is a smart and thought provoking young adult contemporary novel that follows popular girl Felicity St. John as goes about her normal life in the small town of Scarletville, Iowa. Only, Scarletville isn't your normal town. It was founded to be a safe haven for red-heads and has continued to allow anyone with red hair power and popularity. Red hair is everything that matters in Scarletville, from high school popularity to getting into the local community college, and getting good jobs in town. Felicity is riding high as one of the most popular red-heads in town and has been prepping for the Miss Scarlet pageant with her mom since she was old enough to walk. Only Felicity has a big secret - her brilliant red hair is fake. It's dyed - which is a crime and a sin in Scarletville. When Felicity finds a note in her locker that states "I know your secret," she must put everything and everyone she loves in the line of fire to keep her secret safe - no matter what. This was a very interesting book that has a fantastic moral to it. It took me awhile to get into the book and the pace was a little slow until about halfway through, but once the mysterious notes start showing up - things get really interesting fast. The characters were well written, especially our heroine Felicity. She's the perfect example of a teenage girl - on the outside she has everything: popularity, beauty, smarts, a gift at creating art, and her beautiful red hair. But on the inside, Felicity harbors the secret about dying her hair and it haunts her every day of her life. She feels like she's hiding who she truly is and with her mom and the rest of the town shoving the pageant down her throat and a secret blackmailer threatening to expose her darkest secret. There were times in the book that I really wanted to yell at her or smack her to get her to open her eyes to what was so obvious to me, but in the end it all works out. The plot hits on really important issues that teens and people of all ages deal with today - prejudice and bullying. In the book people are treated differently based on what color hair they have, with redheads being at the top of the chain and everyone else being almost second class to them. When prejudice and bullying over something so stupid as hair color is described in the book - and the extent that it goes - it really opens the readers eyes to what prejudice and bullying is doing to our society (or at least it should). I almost feel like the prejudice against hair color was a stand-in or metaphor for other prejudices that happen and if one stops to think about it, just how close minded and ignorant it is. I remember high school vividly and such prejudice and bullying occurred on a daily basis and usually over the stupidest things like not having the right brand name clothes or not wearing the cool new shoes or whatever fad that was "in" at the time. People were pushed around for everything and anything that set them apart - and it's a truly horrible thing. I'm glad that the schools are trying to adhere to a zero tolerance policy on bullying, but some things just won't change that easily. This book really opened my eyes to lots of issues that affect most people - self-esteem issues, bullying, prejudice, overbearing parents, and self acceptance. This story might read as a light, fun, and witty book, but it definitely deals with deeper issues. Definitely recommended for fans of contemporary YA fiction and those looking for realistic teen fiction. Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.