ARC Review: Red by Alison Cherry

November 16, 2013 Review 40 ★★½

ARC Review: Red by Alison Cherry
Red by Alison Cherry
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Delacorte
Source: Netgalley
Pages: 320
Release Date: October 8th, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Felicity St. John has it all—loyal best friends, a hot guy, and artistic talent. And she’s right on track to win the Miss Scarlet pageant. Her perfect life is possible because of just one thing: her long, wavy, coppery red hair.

Having red hair is all that matters in Scarletville. Redheads hold all the power—and everybody knows it. That’s why Felicity is scared down to her roots when she receives an anonymous note:

I know your secret.

Because Felicity is a big fake. Her hair color comes straight out of a bottle. And if anyone discovered the truth, she’d be a social outcast faster than she could say “strawberry blond.” Her mother would disown her, her friends would shun her, and her boyfriend would dump her. And forget about winning that pageant crown and the prize money that comes with it—money that would allow her to fulfill her dream of going to art school.

Felicity isn’t about to let someone blackmail her life away. But just how far is she willing to go to protect her red cred?

I received this book for free from the source listed above in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


I was not entirely impressed with RED, even going in with relatively low expectations. I was expecting a fun, light novel but this one was a little too cliquey and middle grade for me. There is a great moral and life lesson attached though, which was RED’s redeeming quality.

RED takes place in the town of Scarletville, where, you guessed it-everyone who is anyone is redheaded. Felicity has the most coveted hair in the whole town, and is revered by her fellow redheads. The only problem is Felicity’s hair is absolutely fake, and someone knows her secret.

mean girls

RED basically tells the story of one big clique. Our main character, Felicity, is the girl we love to hate from the usual YA novel. The gorgeous one who is smart and has everything. RED is unique in the aspect that we actually see the world out of the usual antagonist’s eyes: what is is like to be in a clique? To feel superior to others? To have the constant pressure of being perfect and not disappointing anyone? Unfortunately, it takes blackmail and a huge life lesson for Felicity to learn that all of these things are not what is truly important in life.

mean girls 2

Felicity’s mother is not a good role model at all. Even for the purpose of this novel, I found myself absolutely hating her. She was not supportive of her daughter’s true dreams and encouraged negative values. Nothing like a real mother should be.

Because of the obvious moral lesson here, RED impressed me with its coming of age story. However, it was not the most entertaining journey. I can recommend this one to younger teens but would otherwise suggest skipping out on it.

Rating Report
Overall: 2.5

40 Responses to “ARC Review: Red by Alison Cherry”

  1. Cait

    I’ve heard of this one before, but not read a review yet. I’m not very…impressed. lol! The premise doesn’t sound very strong. Everything is based off red hair??! To me, it doesn’t sound very contemporary (too fantastical, perhaps?). And the cover seems too old to hit with the MG audience. Still! Good review! I had to laugh at the Mean Girls GIF!!!

    I’m not sure if I’ve commented here before…so hi!! I’ve been following silently for a little while. ;) I’m from and I just ADORE your blog title!!!

    • Alise

      Haha, yep! It’s definitely contemporary but the whole concept of “you are only cool if you have red hair” is a bit juvenile so. That’s what I thought about the cover too but the story inside just seems so… immature.

    • Alise

      Typically, those subjects would be serious but they were almost treated satirically, which I did not like at all. Thank you!

    • Alise

      Exactly! I have no issues with MG or YA but it seems like that transitional period just never works out for me either. Thanks!

  2. Romi Foster

    I find it interesting that you felt like this was too middle grade, because that is certainly not the vibe I get from the cover, though I can understand how it could be. The one thing that really flummoxes me about this is that the girl gets ger hair colour out of a bottle, and yet her mother doesn’t know… how long has she kept this secret, was she born with red hair and then it went blonde or a different colour in her youth? That seems a little odd.

    Sorry that this wasn’t as great as it could’ve been!
    Romi Foster recently posted…The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer…

  3. Sunny

    I thought it sounded interesting because it seemed different, but yeah, I’ll be skipping it. It’s great that you liked aspects of it, but I think I would be a bit too bored with it. UGH on horrible YA mothers too!

  4. Juhina

    My sister read this and enjoyed it but she did say that she couldn’t take the whole reds being royalty seriously. I might not enjoy it as much since I am 6 years older than her but i’m glad there is a moral to the story.

    great review,
    – Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

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