Red by Alison Cherry, published by Quercus on 2nd January 2014
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.
I loved the premise for 'Red' because I've always wished that I had red hair! The main character Felicity lives in Scarletville - the world's only redhead sanctuary. Redheads in the town are admired. They are envied. They obtain everything they go after. Felicity is Queen Bee at her school and a dead cert to win the local pageant. She has everything she could ever want, except for one little problem...her hair colour isn't real.
When I started this book, I thought it was going to be quite predictable. Girls clawing their way up for their chance at popularity is something which comes up a lot in young adult novels. However 'Red' was different and put a new spin on a common theme. Felicity may appear to have it all and she may be dating the most popular guy in school but she isn't a mean girl and she genuinely cares about her friends. She's actually a very good person who finally learns to stand up for herself and what she believes in. She's always tried to conform to her mother's wishes because she knows how important it is to her that Felicity follow in her footsteps and win the pageant. Felicity however has other interests which she wants to pursue. This says a lot about being your own person and not the person that your parents try to make you into.
The theme of the story is about looking below the surface and seeing what is inside people rather than just what is projected on the outside. There are several characters in the book who actually defy their stereotypical image and turn out to be quite different to my first impression of them. One of these is Jonathan, who is a fellow student that works alongside Felicity on the school art show.
There are a lot of issues to consider in 'Red' about the way in which society treats people because of the way they look and their appearance alone. This is something which I think will appeal to teenager readers. Debut author Alison Cherry has written an enormously enjoyable book and I hope to read more by her in the future.