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The Red Sheet
     

The Red Sheet

4.7 12
by Mia Kerick
 

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One October morning, high school junior Bryan Dennison wakes up a different person-helpful, generous, and chivalrous-a person whose new admirable qualities he doesn't recognize. Stranger still is the urge to tie a red sheet around his neck like a cape.

Bryan soon realizes this compulsion to wear a red cape is accompanied by more unusual behavior. He can't

Overview

One October morning, high school junior Bryan Dennison wakes up a different person-helpful, generous, and chivalrous-a person whose new admirable qualities he doesn't recognize. Stranger still is the urge to tie a red sheet around his neck like a cape.

Bryan soon realizes this compulsion to wear a red cape is accompanied by more unusual behavior. He can't hold back from retrieving kittens from tall trees, helping little old ladies cross busy streets, and defending innocence anywhere he finds it.

Shockingly, at school, he realizes he used to be a bully. He's attracted to the former victim of his bullying, Scott Beckett, though he has no memory of Scott from before "the change." Where he'd been lazy in academics, overly aggressive in sports, and socially insecure, he's a new person. And although he can recall behaving egotistically, he cannot remember his motivations.

Everyone, from his mother to his teachers to his "superjock" former pals, is shocked by his dramatic transformation. However, Scott Beckett is not impressed by Bryan's newfound virtue. And convincing Scott he's genuinely changed and improved, hopefully gaining Scott's trust and maybe even his love, becomes Bryan's obsession.

With a foreword by C. Kennedy

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781627987158
Publisher:
Dreamspinner Press
Publication date:
02/20/2014
Pages:
190
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)

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The Red Sheet 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Red Sheet is-- POWERFUL and MOVING and BEAUTIFUL I had planned to listen to it over my Kindle's text-to-speech feature on my commute to work each day, and ended up bulk-reading it in one sitting! I had to know more, I had to get closer to these characters, I turned the pages faster and faster! The novel was hard for me to read at times--in a GOOD way--remembering the discomfort of my own high school experiences, remembering times I wished I could have been braver, stood up for what I knew was right. But it also felt RIGHT. I needed to read it. I needed to face it. It is a phenomenally creative story--such an interesting and unique premise with characters that are now permanently in my head and heart! I woke up this morning thinking about Bryan and Scott and I imagine I will go to sleep tonight thinking about them as well. For me, that's the mark of a 5* novel. The Red Sheet is a story with soul, each new page revealing a message both powerful and relevant, and I recommend it highly.
Tribute_Books_Reviews More than 1 year ago
Young adult author Mia Kerick frames her same-sex love story THE RED SHEET around the popular 2001 song "Superman" by Five for Fighting. Familiar lyrics like "Even heroes have the right to dream," and "It's not easy to be me," become fitting chapter titles when her protagonist Bryan Dennison wakes up one morning and wants to save the world. He doesn't know what brought on this radical transformation and why he suddenly feels like the ambassador of GreenPeace, the Salvation Army and Feeding America all rolled into one. As the first person narrator, Bryan is telling the story to the audience in order to understand what is happening to him. All Bryan knows is that he's attracted to chorus tenor Scott Beckett with his wire-rimmed glasses and porcelain skin—and he shouldn't be—not if he wants to maintain his street cred with the superjock crowd. Bryan excels at two things: bullying and basketball. Having Scott as his boyfriend just doesn't fit into that formula. He's a star athlete whose sole motivation is to win, at all costs. He cares too much about what people think of him to throw his reputation away on a boy he can't have. There's no way he's going to come out, even if he's able to admit, at least to himself, "Scott…well, he just did it for me." However, practice makes perfect and little by little Bryan gains confidence in his feelings by standing up for his newfound convictions. He prays. He tells the truth. He puts the needs of others ahead of his own. He doesn't want to sit on the sidelines anymore. He's ready to champion the cause of right over wrong. But Scott doesn't want to have anything to do with him. Somewhere along the line, Bryan broke Scott's spirit, and it's killing him that he can't remember how. The novel is part mystery as Bryan tries to remember the kind of self-absorbed jerk he used to be. His memory is riddled with gaps and as he sorts through the clues of his recent past he comes to learn that he was complicit in something terrible that happened to Scott. He works through the remainder of the book trying to make amends for what he did to him before the full weight of his betrayal slams onto his shoulders. The tension is heightened with every page as Bryan's interior journey comes full circle. Yet through his love for Scott, Bryan is finally able to stand up for what he believes in. He chooses the hard road because it's worth it, not because it's easy. He knows that he can't escape himself. Strength only comes from suffering. He's not lost anymore. He knows that he won't slip back and become the person he once was because Scott was able to forgive him. He's aware now how closely hurt and love go hand in hand, and how love is its own form of kryptonite if it's not handled with care. With love comes responsibility, and Bryan is finally man enough to protect and guard Scott's heart with everything he has, letting the world know that he belongs to him. Now he's able to don his red cape in public, because being openly in love is what really makes him fly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bryan Dennison was a bully until he one day he wakes up and comes to terms with the fact that he's gay. From that point on, he decides he's going to be a different person and come to the aid of people in need. He becomes obsessed with a set of red sheets he begs his mom to buy him and likes to tie one around his shoulders, like a superhero's cape. It's a role he's more than eager to take on. Because Bryan's in love with Scott, who is also gay and his editing partner in English class, but their romance is in peril because Scott's still being bullied by Bryan's former jock friends. I found this to be an eye-opening book about abuse and how some high school students take pleasure in hurting their peers, who really aren't that different from them when it all comes down to it. It hurt my heart to see all that they had to experience at the hands of such bullies. We definitely need more red-sheeted heroes like Bryan in real life.
Victoria Brown More than 1 year ago
The middle class American mindset comes close to choking the life out of Bryan Dennison. The stifling conservatism. The narrow minded thinking of white picket fence suburbia. The 'stand out only to be praised' mentality. On the surface, THE RED SHEET is set in the idyllic setting of small town New Hampshire, but it could really take place in any similar environment across the country where the overriding message is: Jocks can't be gay. Unfortunately, basketball phenom Bryan is head over heels for a boy named Scott. The problem is Scott's the only one who knows Bryan's gay. Not even Bryan's mother suspects that her big, strapping, free-throw-nailing son is secretly dating a boy in his English class. Bryan is good at coasting under the radar, until Scott issues him an ultimatum—acknowledge their relationship in public or it's over. He's desperate for Bryan to make a stand, until something tragic occurs. The memory of what happens to Scott is so traumatic that Bryan doesn't even know he's repressing it until the end of the story when it all comes rushing back. Because in the town where they live, disturbing incidents like that aren't reported. If one boy is doing something unspeakable to another boy, they say the victim was "beat up." These euphemisms for violent behavior are as dated as they are disturbing. In 2014, teenage boys still aren't encouraged to be who they are and express themselves openly if they happen to be gay, or at least a certain type of boy is expected to remain in the closet. Since Scott is small boned and effeminate looking, people automatically assume that he's gay and they're okay with it. Bryan, on the other hand, is the 6' 4'' standout player starting on the varsity team. He's expected to date the hot girl who puts out, even if he's not really into her, even if he's into a boy with wavy blonde hair he's dying to run his fingers through with crystal clear blue eyes he just wants to lose himself in. That's not supposed to happen, not in their town. It's too much for Appleton, New Hampshire to handle. It upsets the natural order of things. Author Mia Kerick calls things as she sees them. She's aware of the hypocrisy that runs rampant through Main Street U.S.A. Same-sex relationships are viewed as okay in metropolitan areas where the Mom and Pop types don't have to come in contact with them. But two high school boys getting affectionate on the dance floor? The queasiness is readily apparent on the page. It's not what a lot of people are ready to stomach. But Kerick makes a compelling argument, illustrating the humanity behind these characters and the depth of the attachment between them. They're just as in love with each other as any of their peers who are in boy/girl relationships, in fact, they're probably more so. When it comes to love, it's known to cross all boundaries from nationality to income level to race—so in THE RED SHEET, Kerick is well within her rights to ask the question: Why not gender?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dropping into the middle of an ongoing story in the opening pages of a book is always an interesting tactic. Mia Kerick knows she has to bring you up to speed, and that you'll be playing a bit of catch up, but the way she does it, keeps you turning the pages at a lightning speed. If a writer commits to the journey and doesn't leave me hanging, then I'm with her all the way, and Kerick doesn't disappoint. She weaves her narrative together like the hands of fate stringing the threads of life through a loom. We don't know what Bryan did to Scott—for a reason. She wants us to find out when he does. Collective memory loss is a common fictional device. Sometimes it's overused, but I think it works here. It's not simply inserted for plot purposes. There's a greater meaning behind why Bryan can't remember, you just have to wait for it. The explanation is as powerful as it is gut-wrenching, but to get to that point, we have to rebuild what happened to Scott along with Bryan, and it makes the emotional punch that much greater at the end. Scott is delicate, blonde, blue-eyed. He's gay and everyone knows it. Bryan is insanely tall, the towering jock that nobody messes with. He's gay too—he just doesn't want anyone to find out about how he's been doing a lot more than kissing Scott behind closed doors. Sometimes gay romances are heavy on the self-hatred and the love scenes turn into crippled attempts at intimacy. Not so with THE RED SHEET. Kerick hits all the right notes. The love behind the gestures is what sold it for me. Bryan's not trying to use Scott's body to try to figure stuff out for himself. He genuinely cares about him. He wants to make him feel good and watch him experience the things he's doing to him. He's not self-absorbed, thinking about himself in these moments, he's thinking about Scott and that's what makes the whole sequence great. I bought their love story, even though I'm female, even though I'm straight, and to me that speaks to the talent of a great romance writer. The shifts back and forth between the present and the past are easy to follow. I like how Kerick uses wads of rolled-up journal entries that Bryan finds in the wastepaper basket in his bedroom and how Scott lets him read the text exchanges they had. I like how literary means are employed to give Bryan a better picture of who he was and what his relationship with Scott meant to him. How sweet and cute they were together is juxtaposed with that arrogant side of Bryan when he was determined to keep things on the down low. I judge a lot of books by how quickly I'm able to move through them. If the author hooks me. If the writing style flows, the syntax clear, the voice engaging. And I liked being inside Bryan's head because I tore through chapter after chapter, watching in amazement how my Kindle app said I was at the 30% then the 60% then the 90% mark. Young adult novels are at their best when they sweep you into the school year and I felt the weeks between Halloween and Valentine's Day fly by right along with Bryan and Scott. It shows that no matter how much things change, so much stays the same. Anyone who's been through high school experiences the same types of things. It's only in seeing them in a new way—like addressing male homosexuality in a modern day setting—that gives high school a fresh twist making it relevant for today's audience. Kerick's a young author to keep an eye on.
TheCharacterConnection More than 1 year ago
Bryan Dennison does what not many teenage boys take the time to do. Make an examination of conscience. He knows he did something wrong. He just doesn't know what. He wakes up one morning with a clean slate. He can't remember the last few weeks, yet he can't shake this overhanging sense of guilt nagging at him that he needs to make amends for something—something big. So he turns into a Superman of charity, volunteering at a soup kitchen, picking up random pieces of litter, buying a homeless guy a meal, shoveling a neighbor's driveway even if it makes him late for school, but none of these selfless acts bring any sense of clarity. He's as lost as he ever was. Because what he did, he did to Scott, the boy he can't believe he's fallen in love with. Bryan is supposed to be Mr. Superjock, star of the high school basketball team. And he was, up until developing a fetish for red capes and sticking his neck out for others. Scott won't speak to him and the group of bullies he used to call friends lead him to believe they caught him making out with Scott at a party in a closet and that he'd better shut up about it before they tell the entire school. The transformative arc in Bryan's character doesn't come easy. He suffers all of the slights and barbs that come with being on the unpopular side of the cafeteria, but he never wavers. His newfound determination to be a better person is ingrained in him because he knows it's the only way he stands a chance at winning Scott back. He takes it a step at a time as he works his way there. He participates in a flash mob to serenade a teacher on her birthday. He goes roller skating with a group of kids, many consider misfits and outcasts. He spray paints (in washable chalk) inspirational quotes from Gandhi all over school property. But for Scott, it's not enough. He wants more. Forgiveness is equated with strength throughout the novel, as well as, "Being the change you want to see in the world." When the true scope of what Scott endured is revealed, it's quite shocking. It makes it hard to like Bryan as a character, no matter how much he's changed. But Scott shows that the only way he can save Bryan is to forgive him, or else he'll never be able to forgive himself. It's a generous gift that illustrates just how much Scott loves Bryan if he's able to do that. It's a beautiful message of hope and understanding. Scott has never been afraid to be himself. Years of bullying and abuse have shaped him into the survivor he is today. It takes Bryan longer to feel more comfortable about his sexuality and sharing it with the world. It's interesting to note that inwardly Bryan doesn't struggle so much with his attraction to Scott. He doesn't resist it in private. There's a flashback scene in Bryan's bedroom where he just wants to watch the look in Scott's eyes when he's touching him. He's not repulsed by his need to satisfy his desire, but he can't bear the thought of other people knowing about it. He's able to give his heart to Scott, even if he won't share a lunch table with him. Scott's demand for more from Bryan is the wind that unfurls the red cape tied around his neck. Love isn't found in denial. It's found in acceptance. Once Bryan's able to make that leap, it really is like he's flying, no superpowers required. He's a fully actualized person, something not many teen boys in young adult novels get to be. A doting son to his mother. A hero to his little stepbrother. A champion defender of his boyfriend. Yep, Bryan Dennison is a guy worth rooting for to get it right. 
Tzelibooks More than 1 year ago
Mia Kerick's The Red Sheet is a celebration of second chances and the gift of forgiveness. Showcasing an ordinary guy in Junior High having an extra-ordinary experience, it is a story of hope that the jerks in one's life can change for the better. I started rooting for the protagonist when I first met him because he was a really nice guy and I invested more on him as I watched him discover to his horror what a terrible person he originally was. Bryan Dennison woke up one fall day with an intense urge to tie a red sheet around his neck and wear it like a superhero cape. This intensity to be the hero started to permeate everything he did. He was so busy rescuing kittens from trees, helping elderly people cross streets, and picking up scattered trash for proper disposal on his way to school, that he kept coming late to school and getting detention. He doesn't understand why he is compelled to do this, especially since he knows that as an all-around jock and the best basketball player in Appleton High School, all this goody-goody behavior is a total 180-degree turn from the self-centered dude he remembers himself to be. When he sees Scott Beckett eating alone in the cafeteria however, his memories of one horrible Saturday night start to return piece-meal, and Bryan comes face to face with the kind of person he once was. If he can merge that past with the person he has become, perhaps redemption will be possible, and the red sheet will no longer be needed. I have read several stories by Mia Kerick and have always enjoyed seeing how she can take a troubled teen protagonist and show how they transcend difficulties they were faced with. I was thus surprised to meet Bryan Dennison in the beginning of this story, because other than a rather intense fetish for red sheets, he seems like a pretty normal guy. I ended up enjoying the little twist the author set up therefore, and I like the roundabout emphasis on a slightly different kind of bullying. I also like how the author shows the different gradients spectators that witness a bullying can be complicit in the act - Bryan's behavior is just as inexcusable as the actual person who did the bullying. Mia Kerick's skill in creating a familiar, amiable tone for her protagonist also welcomed me quickly into her story. The flow is laid-back and friendly, so that even if I am not quite sure what's going just yet, I am smoothly reeled into events and quietly investing on the different characters I am meeting. I was especially fond of the scene involving a flash mob as a birthday greeting for a favorite teacher: it was a great mix of the technological trends inherent in today's modern society and good old heart-strings pulling storytelling. The scene was not crucial to the main plot, but it established a few things about characters in the story, and endeared me to their cause all the more. For readers looking for a fun, heart-warming read, I would recommend The Red Sheet. That may be an odd thing to say considering some rather traumatic things happen to main characters and bullying is involved, but like I said at the beginning: this is a story about second chances, and the uplifting gift of forgiveness. Enjoy!
rickofoly More than 1 year ago
Oh wow! How does one review a book about bullying other than to say Mia Kerick chose a most interesting path with which to tell such a story.  A total Jock waking up with no memory of anything before that morning and the fact he wants no NEEDS a Superhero Cape in Red and to do good deeds. This book is also about first love, redemption and finding out who you really are as a person. I found all of the characters engaging. I knew these people in school.  It was a relief to see such a topic handled with such care, love and oh wow so much humor. I found myself chuckling through much of the novel. This is a book that could easily be handed out at Junior and Senior High School's especially for all of the LGBT kids that need to see they aren't alone and as the saying goes "It gets Better." I will read this again it was so fun. The Red Sheet makes you want to run to the store and get a Red Sheet all your own so you too may do good in your city. Seriously it does. Look forward to reading more of Mia Kerick in the future.
Mkannah More than 1 year ago
Review from Little Whimsy Books First and foremost, I was with filled with awe, very much awestruck as I’ve finished reading the book. No wonder this book was suggested by most of its readers and reviewers to be read by all kids, high school students and of course, teens. I don’t usually read books with stories that contains things about bullying and the like because things like that just make me depressed and sad but this one’s an exception as just by reading its synopsis caught me by the very first time. The synopsis very much summarize the the book’s content and all, but if in this case you would like me to kind of give an outline of what’s it really like, well then here it goes. Bryan Dennison kinda had like a slight memory loss of what and why he did things he never thought he would in the past and his motivations of doing it why. At school, he tried to get Scott’s attention, love and all but in Scott’s defense he don’t believe Bryan’s sudden transformation because of the past where Bryan bullied him. As Bryan tries to achieve Scott’s attention and Scott continuously being suspicious by the abrupt transmutation of Bryan, the story starts growing there. This book isn't like any other books. It’s written with love, treasured and touched with care. Two big thumbs-up for the Mia writing this book with tenderness and warmth. I could also raise my two feet if giving my two thumbs up doesn't convince you to read Mia’s book ‘The Red Sheet’. Generally speaking, this book is very worth your time and your love. Thank you to the publisher and to Mia for providing me a copy in exchange of my honest review.
Literary_Classics_Reviews More than 1 year ago
Seventeen year old Bryan is the big man on campus... literally and figuratively.  Standing at 6 foot, 4 inches tall, he's the high school basketball star and part of the elite "super-jock crowd." When Bryan starts to develop a friendship with a gay boy named Scott he keeps it a secret from all his "jock" buddies.  But then one ill-fated Saturday night he experiences a life-changing event that is so traumatic his memory entirely blanks out what happened.  As Bryan tries to piece together the fragments of what took place that evening he begins seeing things from a fresh perspective, and he doesn't like what he sees. As Bryan comes to terms with who he is and who he is not, he learns to embrace a new life in which he allows himself and others to be true to themselves. Author Mia Kerick has written a powerful coming of age, coming-out novel that is well written and deeply profound in its sincerity. Young Adult Audience - This book contains some graphic content which may not be appropriate for a younger audience, but the overall context is well written and tastefully represented.
Books_on_Silver_Wings More than 1 year ago
Review posted on Books on Silver Wings blog. Byran likes Scott in secret. He gets a sudden obsession with red sheets (as a cape) and being a superhero. He has no memories of his past behaviors as a bully, especially towards Scott, but he has a crush on Scott and Scott wants nothing to do with him. Byran's behavior is unrealistic and weird to me so I can't really connect with him and understand his dilemmas. Even his mother thinks his new behavior is out of character. It seems like he is possessed by aliens or something. I'm giving props to Scott for being cautious about Byran's new and improved behaviors.  Even though Byran's personality went through a big change, he is still an awkward teenager. I love how he enlists his teacher's help to get more chances to interact with Scott. He forms a social justice team, comes out of the closet, and becomes a superhero in the end. I like that he is concerned with doing the right thing that is just and moral.  Byran's biggest obstacle is Brandon, who is the biggest homophobe and a superjock at the school, but may also have a crush on Scott.  He is the bad guy in the story, yet he's in a very similar situation to Byran. This story could have easily been about Brandon's transformation from superjock to superhero.  The story is super slow paced with Byran discovering his love of red sheets and lost memories and testing if he can fly. The story finally picks up the pace and reveals what happened that night with Scott and Brandon that led to him subconsciously repressing his memories. Once that is out of the way, Byran and Scott can move forward and forgive past transgressions.  The story gets very inspirational with Ghandi quotes and Bryan's self discovery. Even though the beginning is slow paced, I enjoy reading the love story from the bully's perspective.  *review copy received in exchange for an honest review*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago