Monday 27 January 2014

Red by Alison Cherry

Top student. Beauty queen. Girlfriend of the hottest football jock: Felicity's got everything. And it's all down to her red, red hair.

Felicity lives in Scarletville, the world's only redhead sanctuary, where red hair is celebrated, protected - and the key to sucess.

But Felicity has a secret. A red hot secret. And if anyone finds out, she's finished.

Because Felicity's actually a natural blonde.

And in Scarletville, blondes need not apply.

Scarletville is a city where redheads have all the power and priority. Which means that every other hair colour are pushed to the back of the line and treated as second-class citizens. By using hair colour as an indication of superiority, it raised interesting issues of prejudice but I'm not sure it was addressed as well as it could have been, because it seemed petty.

Felicity was vain and self-absorbed; she only cared about keeping her secret so she can compete in the Miss Scarlet pageant. Which she was only a part of because of her mother, previous winner and pageant consultant, wants her to. I'm not sure if I liked Felicity; I felt sorry for her, you could tell that keeping this secret was stressing her out. But she was also frustrating because she refused to stand up for herself in case she lost her red-cred. Felicity's best friends were interesting characters. I didn't like Haylie but I did really liked Ivy. I'm not sure if we were supposed to but as a redhead who didn't care about the Scarletville ideology she was very refreshing, especially when Haylie was a bit of a bitch.

As for the blackmailer, Gabby was revealed much sooner than I thought but it actually worked to have a face for Felicity to fight against, and for Gabby to explain her reasons for this social experiment. As a brunette, Gabby had her reasons for wanting to disrupt the ridiculous social hierarchy of Scarletville. But I didn't really understand why, if the other hair colours didn't like the way they are treated, they didn't just move. It seemed weird that they could leave town easily and see that it was different out there. And Felicity was so shocked to hear people openly discuss dying hair when it is something that is so secret in Scarletville.

Red raised some interesting issues and I did like it but I think Felicity could have had a stronger backbone so she didn't feel like her world was ending when it was revealed her hair is a lighter red than everyone else's. It explored discrimination very well, especially when they leave town to go shopping and Haylie tries to jump a queue, but I would have loved Felicity to act differently and stand up for herself sooner.

Published  2nd January 2014 by Quercus. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review.


  1. I'm sorry you didn't really love this, but glad we shared the same views!

  2. Hmm, this sounds both interesting and yet odd. Not sure I'll give this one a go.