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Source: Bookurious Blog it Forward!
Publisher: Delacorte BFYR
Format: Hardcover, 224 pages
Release Date: July 24, 2012
At 7:45 a.m. on the day before Thanksgiving break, a bomb goes off at Edison High. Nine people die instantly. Fifteen are critically injured. Twenty-two suffer less severe injuries. And one is blinded. Those who survive, struggle to cope with the loss and destruction. All must find new meaning for their lives as a result of something they may never understand.While Red Heart Tattoo succeeds in portraying the grief and horror that comes with a tragic event, it ultimately fell flat for me.
Lurlene McDaniel's signature expertise and finesse in dealing with issues of violence, death, and physical as well as emotional trauma in the lives of teens is immediate and heartrending.
The novel opens with regular high school life. For me, this served two purposes. I had the chance to be acquainted with the characters and I also got to know them a little bit before tragedy struck. This way, when it did happen, the full range of emotions was felt. I will say though that at times, the first part of the novel dragged for me. It was interesting to a point but not terribly exciting.
When the book did start moving, in part two, was when I really started liking it. I really liked how the events were shown to affect the characters afterward. It felt very realistic and although it never got to the crying stage, I was emotional reading it. This look on the bombing - the way that people comprehended and coped with it - was probably my favourite aspect of the book.
Red Heart Tattoo features five different perspectives. While I appreciated the insight into the lives of different 'types' of characters, I feel as though it also prevented me from getting as deep into a single one as I wanted to. For this story, I would have preferred fewer points of view and a more in-depth look at just one or two characters to really connect with them on that personal level. By the end of the book, a lot of them still felt cookie-cutter and clichéd to me.
Overall, this is a heartfelt portrayal of a high school hit by destruction but not the book for me. I would have preferred more well-developped characters and a closer, deeper look into them.
Cover Comments: I really, really thought that this was a romance novel just from the cover. But... it's not. I mean, there is a bit of that but it's in no way the main point of the story. Not really a fan of the cover.