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FICTION

Red Hood

HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. Feb. 2020. 368p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062742353.
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Gr 10 Up–Since Mémé took over guardianship from her Mama 12 years ago, Bisou Martel has lived a relatively normal life in Washington State. However, as new moon rises and junior year homecoming arrives, everything changes. Bisou finds herself running through the woods with a bloodthirsty wolf at her heels. The struggle that ensues ends with Bisou walking away victorious and full of questions. Her quest for answers unleashes truths about Mémé, Mama, and other women in her supposedly quiet town, leading Bisou to reclaim her tenacity while safeguarding those she holds dear. It’s unsettling how seamlessly Arnold incorporates dark fantasy elements of beastly wolves and cunning hunters into her all-too-realistic tale. Broken into three parts, the narration moves between second- and first-person, with a sprinkle of poetry, all of which perfectly fleshes out Bisou, Mémé, and Mama’s histories. This dynamic mix of narration beautifully enriches the mirrored hopes, fears, and overwhelming love that drives each woman. As Bisou draws closer to the women in her life, she begins to grasp the toxic culture that permeates her modern world, a lethal society where many have silently sacrificed a part of themselves because of fear, shame, or doubt. With an author’s note at the start, be aware that a few scenes dive into intimate, often uncomfortable moments.
VERDICT A fantastic novel in the #MeToo era, empowering women to share their stories by reaching out, speaking up, and demanding a change.

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