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Paint The Town Red

In Scarlettville, Gilbert Blythe would probably be jailed for calling a redhead "Carrots."

Paint The Town Red

BOOK REPORT for Red by Alison Cherry

Cover Story: Delia's Catalog
BFF Charm: Meh
Swoonworthy Scale: 4
Talky Talk: Easy Breezy
Bonus Factor: Gingers
Anti-Bonus Factor: Patty Chase Award for Awful Parenting
Relationship Status: Flirtation

Cover Story: Delia's Catalog

This may look like just an adorable teen fashion photo shoot, but WAIT, it's also relevant to the story! Because, see, the book is about a girl who lives in a town of redheads and dyes her hair to fit in. That's why she's being all SHHH, although I'm not sure why it's a sexy kind of SHHH. Oh yeah, and I'll take the basic black tank in size small, please.

The Deal:

As author Alison Cherry explained during her recent visit to FYA, Scarlettville is a strange sort of town. If you want to be popular, you don't need wealth or good looks or smarts. You need a mutation in your MC1R protein, because red hair reigns supreme. Unfortunately for Felicity St. John, she was born a "strawbie" (strawberry blonde), which wasn't good enough for her ambitious mother. So ever since she was a baby, Felicity has sported a luscious, entirely fake shade of red that gotten her everything-- high school status, a football player boyfriend and a spot in the Miss Scarlet Pageant. But suddenly, her life is on the verge of falling apart, because someone has discovered that she has a secret, and it's to dye for.

(SORRY, I COULDN'T HELP MYSELF.)

BFF Charm: Meh

I liked Felicity, but I didn't love her. She's a good girl, and I can't blame her for bowing down to the culture of Scarlettville and the weight of her overbearing stage mom. (More on that bish below.) I also can't fault her for acquiescing to the blackmailer's demands, because when your way of life is threatened, especially when you're a teenager, it's really scary. BUT. With that said, I wanted her to be more of a fighter. I wanted that spark of spirit to strike up earlier, and then I kept hoping it would burn brighter. I also found her lack of trust in her friends to be REALLY frustrating, although again, I get how adolescent self-esteem breeds paranoia. Overall, I just found Felicity to be... well, boring. When your secretly dyed hair is the most interesting thing about you, you're just not my bestie material.

Swoonworthy Scale: 4

Felicity has a hot jock doofus of a boyfriend, but of course, the real romantic interest is a boy who's just the opposite. Jonathan is artsy and sensitive and incredibly sweet, and he doesn't buy into any of the Scarlettville ginger crap. While there weren't any major flames of passion, his interactions with Felicity still gave me the warm fuzzies.

Talky Talk: Easy Breezy

Alison Cherry writes in an engaging, direct style, with energetic pacing and light flourishes of humor. She paints her characters with broad broadstrokes and keeps their emotions from straying too far into the deep end. Fun and frothy, this book makes for a quick, easy read.

Bonus Factor: Gingers

As a strawbie myself, I have a special affinity for redheads, and I can see why they're exalted in Scarlettville. I mean, think about all of the amazing gingers that have graced our culture: Anne Shirley! Ron Weasley! Pippi Longstocking! Little Orphan Annie! Simone in Head of the Class! Even though the point of the book is that it shouldn't matter what color your hair is, we all know that redheads are actually superior.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Patty Chase Award for Awful Parenting

Felicity's mom is a REAL piece of work. A stage mom in the worst sense, she's obsessed with reclaiming her glory days through her daughter, and anyone who doesn't have ginger locks is basically invisible to her. She's shallow, she's immature and I DESPISED her.

Casting Call:

Bonnie Wright as Felicity

Like there was anyone else.

Robert Sheehan as Jonathan

Thanks to The Mortal Instruments, I already know the dude can rock nerd glasses.

Relationship Status: Flirtation

When I heard about the premise of this book, I was immediately intrigued. It seemed silly, but in the best possible sense, and I liked its playful attitude. We bantered and smiled our way through several pleasurable hours, although nothing really happened between us. I was tickled by our interaction, but, like a passing fancy, it didn't leave much of an imprint on my heart.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from Random House Children's Books. I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). Red is available now.

Posh Deluxe's photo About the Author: Sarah lives in Austin, TX, where she programs films at the Alamo Drafthouse. Sarah enjoys fancy cocktails, dance parties and anything that sparkles (except vampires).