17 year old Elodie Rose is on the cusp of becoming a werewolf. She and her dad have spent the last few years preparing for this inevitability, ever since they received the sinister note left by her dead mother explaining Elodie’s hereditary curse. The note made it clear that having sex would finalise the transition from human to monster. Elodie desperately wants to remain human and has led a solitary life, keeping away from friends and boys, following her mother’s advice to the letter. So what’s a girl to do when she meets the strong and gorgeous Sawyer?
Why five stars? I’ve always favoured vampires far above werewolves until I read Red. Kait Nolan’s reimagining of the Little Red Riding Hood fairytale has awakened an interest in the werewolf genre. Elodie is quite shy and introverted but she has an inner core of steely strength. When push comes to serve she can stand up for herself and those she loves. Sawyer is the masculine, heroic young man all teenage girls dream of, a true gent, strong and forceful but gentle, kind and devoted. Of course this is fiction. Most 17 year old guys do not find the ‘one’ or in this case their mate at such a young age but Sawyer’s loyalty to Elodie never wavers.
Many YA novels I’ve read of late have shied away from sex and even talking about sex. Red doesn’t. While there are no explicit scenes, the reality of raging teen hormones is acknowledged. Teenagers kiss and touch, and passion can lead to young lovers getting carried away, something that almost happens to Edodie and Sawyer while skinny-dipping. Elodie is a product of her parents’ lack of precaution. She doesn’t want to make the same mistake as her mother but her physical attraction towards Sawyer is undeniable. I also like the normal dialogue. Teens curse, and so do Elodie and Sawyer. The topic of suicide is often taboo when it comes to YA books but not in Red where thoughts of suicide have plagued Elodie her whole life.
I know I love a book when I find it hard to put it down longer than the time it takes for me to make a cup of tea. Red is such a book. I found myself talking the ears off my friends about it. I’d love to read a follow up, set maybe a couple of months from where it left off, focusing on their last year of high school. Call me a sucker for a good love story, but I’d like to see how these two consummate their relationship and deal with the fact that they have mated for life.
Above all, Red is a well written book; it’s clear this book was edited well, something I always appreciate The readers are also treated to both Elodie’s and Sawyer’s perspectives. I enjoy hearing from the male point of view. One thing I did find over the top was the constant underlining thread of sex=bad. Have sex and you will become a werewolf, i.e. a monster who kills people. Sex in horror has always led to catastrophe. Remember Buffy? She slept with Angel and he lost his soul, Bella lost her virginity to Edward in Twilight, became pregnant and almost died, in horror movies only virgins are safe from the murderer’s clutches. I understand the need to urge caution when it comes to teens exploring their sexuality but I would like, just once for a YA story to allow characters who are mature, in love and committed to one another to have sex without the threat of nasty repercussions.
Excellent story and a fantastic read! *****
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