Sunday, April 12, 2020

Review: Red Hood by Elana K. Arnold

Red HoodTitle: Red Hood
Author:  Elena K Arnold
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publishing Date:  February 25th  2020
Pages: 368
Genre: Fairytale Retelling
Series:  Stand Alone
Source:  ARC

You are alone in the woods, seen only by the unblinking yellow moon. Your hands are empty. You are nearly naked.

And the wolf is angry.

Since her grandmother became her caretaker when she was four years old, Bisou Martel has lived a quiet life in a little house in Seattle. She’s kept mostly to herself. She’s been good. But then comes the night of homecoming, when she finds herself running for her life over roots and between trees, a fury of claws and teeth behind her. A wolf attacks. Bisou fights back. A new moon rises. And with it, questions. About the blood in Bisou’s past and on her hands as she stumbles home. About broken boys and vicious wolves. About girls lost in the woods—frightened, but not alone.

I love retellings and this one looked really good and intense. I was very excited to get to. I read it a while back and I have put off the review because I  just didn't  know what I wanted to say about this read. I have such mixed feelings. I still don't know exactly what I want to say about this book but I will do my best. This has been a very controversial book for me. I haven't had these feelings for a book in a very long time. I will put my thoughts out there and hopefully not ramble too much. 

Bisou is a girl that has had a bit of a hard life. She lives with her grandmother since she was a little girl. Her mother was killed and her grandmother took over as her parent. She lives a pretty quiet life away from most of the world. She does well in school, she has a great boyfriend, and she is pretty happy with her life. Bisou is a late bloomer and once she experiences becoming a woman, her life suddenly changes. Wolves and boys and violence. This is now Bisou's world.

I am going to try and put all my thoughts into words. There were many things I enjoyed about this book. The mystery, the backstory, woman power. The pacing of the book, the writing for the most part. It was good. I was totally into this book. But I feel the negatives of the book, really just made it hard to purely enjoy the book. 

The characters, I will start with the characters. I loved the characters. I loved Bisou, I loved her grandmother, I really liked Bisou's boyfriend. The relationships in the book are really good. There is a real sense of loyalty and bonding. That I loved. The main characters all had their own strength and weaknesses. I felt they were flawed but in a real way. 

I loved the story of Bisou's grandmothers life. I enjoyed going back and seeing what she had done and why things were the way they were. 

The mystery was good, but it wasn't the mystery of the boy that was killed it was the mystery of Bisou's grandmother and the curse or blessing that is on Bisou's family. Also the mystery of Bisou's and her mother's past. I was totally into wanting to know more. 

What I didn't like. There was good girl power in this book and I enjoyed how the girls stuck together however, I felt as if this book was more on the side of girls good boys evil girls fight back and take over the world. I felt there wasn't enough balance of good and evil among the sexes. There is good and evil in all people in the world. The evil is shared among girls and boys. Its not the chromosomes that make you good or evil. I wish there had also been more of the lives that the boys lived.... what made them think they could get away with violence against other especially woman. I think we as a society need to focus more on why boys get away with what they get away with and what makes them make these violent choices as teens and young adults. Also... there are evil girls out there too. I am female here me roar, I am all about woman sticking together and standing up for each other but there are some bad seeds among us too. I think the message this book wanted to put across was well intended but not well done. 

Another thing I did not like... too much detail about periods and sex and all things I don't want to read about. There were some pretty disgusting things in this book. I do not need to see these nasty things in my mind. It was just too much. Also, I am all for a woman's sexual choices are hers, we shouldn't be treated differently on those choices.... however I am old school when it comes to ages of these things. I this book is a little much for teens, especially the younger ones.

I think this book could have been so good for girls if know there are others out there who would disagree with me and I am okay with that. But these are the issues I had with this book. Mixed feelings all around. There are some other books I read about girl power and girls standing together against violence against woman... one that comes to mind is Reputation by Sara Shepard. Loved that book... it was also marked for the college age kids. I really loved that one and the message was Strong but also done tastefully. I feel this book was a too much on the less tasteful for me.

If you took out the detailed period and sex scenes and the total man bashing.... the writing was beautiful and I was addicted. I had to finish the book. Side note... there was boy bashing but there was two decent male species that were highlighted. So yes not 100 percent boy bashing.  

I also strongly feel this should be more a new adult or adult read not a ya read. 

I think some might really enjoy but it was a little too much for me.... yet I somehow enjoyed it too. So I rated it a three which is confusing with the issues I had with it.... I think the fact I didn't want to put it down had something to do with it. Lots of stuff I didn't like but there were things that kept me reading. 

ELANA K. ARNOLD writes books for and about children and teens. She holds a master’s degree in Creative Writing/Fiction from the University of California, Davis where she has taught Creative Writing and Adolescent Literature. Her most recent YA novel, DAMSEL, is a Printz Honor book, Her 2017 novel, WHAT GIRLS ARE MADE OF, was a finalist for the National Book Award, and her middle grade novel, A BOY CALLED BAT, is a Junior Library Guild Selection. A parent and educator living in Huntington Beach, California, Elana is a frequent speaker at schools, libraries, and writers’ conferences. Currently, Elana is the caretaker of seven pets, only three of which have fur.

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