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Book pick: ‘Red’ serves up creative twist on ‘Red Riding Hood’ tale November 13, 2011

Posted by Diana McCabe in Book picks.
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Looking for a fun, fast, creative werewolf read? Check out Kait Nolan’s RED, a tale that weaves werewolf lore with a coming of age story that is a page turner.

RED’s heroine is Elodie Rose, a teen with a big, bad secret. The 17-year-old is about to turn into a werewolf any day. But she and her father — who live deep in the woods hidden from view — have tried to stave off her transformation by all means possible, including keeping her away from any romantic relationships that might trigger the change from human to wolf.

Elodie’s fears are rooted in family history. Her mother — a wolf — left a note for Elodie that her father gave to her when she turned 13. The letter detailed how Elodie would one day change into a wolf and that any contact with guys would speed up the change. And where is Elodie’s mother? Elodie was told her mother committed suicide so that her mother could avoid the curse of her ancestors. Her mother was afraid she would turn into a monster and kill everyone.

Talk about a heavy load for a teen girl to shoulder.

But Elodie’s luck is about to change. She meets a boy named Sawyer — who happens to be a full-blooded werewolf and comes from a family of weres. Like Elodie — he lost his mother, but in a tragic accident. His father, also a wolf, conducts research on wolf populations.

Neither Elodie nor Sawyer have any clue what the other really is and that’s the part of the story that is fun as each dance around each other. Nolan tells her story by alternating chapters between Elodie and Sawyer and these are in the first person. I like this format but for some reason I got a little confused sometimes switching back and forth. I think — even thought the chapters are clearly labeled — it sometimes wasn’t exactly clear at the onset who was talking but as the story progressed it was easier for me to follow.

In the meantime, there is a killer on the loose in the community (this is actually told quite well in the story so ignore my clumsy quick introduction of the plot here!) and it turns out this person knows about Elodie’s history and is hunting her down. That plot point is where the rest of the story unfolds.

The twist/allegory on RED RIDING HOOD at times is a bit heavy handed. Let’s face it, Red Riding Hood wasn’t supposed to go traipsing about in the woods. That tale was a warning to young women. And in RED, the message of chastity is pretty clear — remain a virgin or else you turn into a wolf and people hunt you down and you die.

There’s also the typical teen bullying angst between girls in here, which is kind of ho-hum. But Elodie is a strong character. She’s trying to figure out what’s happening to her. How to deal with life.

What I really liked about Nolan’s story are the relationships. Elodie is close to her father. He’s raised her all alone. He tries to protect her and she tries to protect him. In so many YA novels, the parents are MIA, but not here. And when Elodie realizes she’s changing, it’s not just into a wolf — but she’s growing up from girl to young woman. And there is a time when daughters leave their fathers and strike out in the world on their own.

I’ve never read a book by Nolan, but I follow her on Twitter (@kaitnolan) and would never have known about this book if she hadn’t written a Tweet promoting it. (Hint to all authors — we are out there and reading your Twitter feeds!) I don’t know if there will be a sequel. (I asked Nolan via Twitter but never heard back and can’t find any reference on her website.) But she also has another paranormal fantasy series — which I will now read — called MIRUS.

The other really cool thing about Nolan — she’s an e-book author. I love traditional hardcover books, but I must admit that I mostly read on my iPad now and rarely buy a paperback or hardcover book. I bought RED via Kindle on Amazon for $4.99. And while some folks don’t seem to care for ebooks, I love them.

You should check out Nolan’s website HERE. She — like many writers — holds down a day job(s) while working on her writing. (She also writes about cooking and her GIT (Goddess in Training) program so I sense she’s like so many of us — trying to balance work, life and health/fitness!)

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Comments»

1. Diana McCabe - November 13, 2011

Anyone out there read Kait Nolan’s other series? I thought this YA novel was an interesting read, especially if you’re looking for something fast and a little bit different. Not your typical whiny teen either. I think Nolan will develop as a writer, too.

Let me know what you think!

diana

2. Kait Nolan - November 14, 2011

I actually did respond to your tweet, but I suspect Twitter ate it. It’s related to Gremlins, you know. Anyway, at this time there are no plans for a sequel to Red following Elodie and Sawyer, but I do intend to write some other YA fairy tale adaptations. I’ve got a few other things in the pipeline and I am, as you surmised, juggling lots of other life stuff that tends to get in the way! Thanks for the review!

Diana McCabe - November 14, 2011

Thanks for stopping by the blog Kait and updating us on what you’ll be writing. (Yes — we understand about Twitter and gremlins!)

Diiana

3. Emma - November 14, 2011

I’ve been reading great reviews of Red, must get my open copy and dive in.

Diana McCabe - November 16, 2011

It’s a fun and quick read! Let me know what you think!

diana

4. Emma - December 12, 2011

Read this book over the weekend and I loved it. Hope there will be a sequel eventually as I would love to follow Sawyer and Elodie through their final year of highschool and beyond.

Diana McCabe - December 12, 2011

I asked the author about a sequel and she said no plans for one. I hope she changes her mind!

5. Emma - December 19, 2011

Me too. I’ll have to read her other works in the meantime


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