While completing community service for school, Molly encounters a homeless teen named Red. Molly is immediately intrigued by Red’s wild ways, but soon realizes that she is not just quirky-she is also sick. Red has schizoaffective disorder, and she hears voices that are sometimes entertaining, but are sometimes frightening and dangerous. With Christmas approaching, Molly becomes determined to reunite Red with her family in time for the holiday, but getting Red to divulge information about her home life won't be a simple task.
I’m a big fan of books written in verse – it’s always interesting to see how the author creates an entire story using relatively few words. Saving Red manages to be fun and heart-wrenching at the same time, a quick read that’s to the point yet still packed full of interesting characters and complicated situations. Molly herself suffers from panic attacks and has a therapy dog, and her family is going through its own tough time relating to a relative suffering PTSD. There are plenty of serious topics dealt with here, and while the story is set around the holidays (Molly wants to reunite Red with her family for Christmas, while her own family celebrates Hanukkah, and the story itself ends at the start of the New Year), it’s not a holiday-centric read. That said, there is a cute, super-sweet romance between Molly and a boy named Cristo, and Red and Molly often have a good time together. There are certainly a lot of heavy moments here, but ultimately Saving Red is about hope, and the book ends on a bright note.
Meredith (Staff) (Queen's Square Library)