You Are Alone In The Woods, Seen Only By The Unblinking Yellow Moon Your Hands Are Empty You Are Nearly NakedAnd The Wolf Is AngrySince Her Grandmother Became Her Caretaker When She Was Four Years Old, Bisou Martel Has Lived A Quiet Life In A Little House In Seattle She S Kept Mostly To Herself She S Been Good But Then Comes The Night Of Homecoming, When She Finds Herself Running For Her Life Over Roots And Between Trees, A Fury Of Claws And Teeth Behind Her A Wolf Attacks Bisou Fights Back A New Moon Rises And With It, Questions About The Blood In Bisou S Past And On Her Hands As She Stumbles Home About Broken Boys And Vicious Wolves About Girls Lost In The Woods Frightened, But Not AloneElana K Arnold, National Book Award Finalist And Author Of The Printz Honor Book Damsel, Returns With A Dark, Engrossing, Blood Drenched Tale Of The Familiar Threats To Female Power And One Girl S Journey To Regain It oh boy, oh man, many things about this book do not sit well with me I just finished it so my thoughts are still running pell mell through my mind, so full review to come once I can form the words into something coherent also, once my finals are over. You are the hunter, and this wolf, though he thinks he is the predator, is your prey. Elana K Arnold is one of my favourite writers of the twisted and disturbing I eagerly seek out her new books and always find myself feeling a little shaken at the end However, I ve said before of Damsel that it should have been marketed as an adult book, and I think that is even true of this one Arnold s novels get these gorgeous YA fantasy covers, but I think it leads them into the wrong hands.In Red Hood I think this is even of an issue This is a fantastic, gory, messed up fairy tale, but it also doesn t fully work as a high school thriller, in my opinion Though I will say the honest depiction of menstruation is definitely something teens are missing.Sixteen year old Bisou Martel has pretty much given up on getting her period when it suddenly arrives at the worst possible time homecoming dance, when things are getting sexy in the back of her boyfriend s car In a moment of panic, she gets out of the car and runs away into the woods There she encounters a vicious wolf, and somehow kills it The next day it all seems like a bad dream, but when the dead body of one of her classmates is found in the woods, Bisou has to wonder is she responsible There is a tree at your back It rises behind you like all of history your history, the history of girls in forests, the history of wolves and fangs and blood. It is a very loose Red Riding Hood retelling, which I personally prefer I have no interest in reading the same story over and over again It s also very chilling and creepy, even outright scary in parts I love how Arnold uses fairy tales to tackle issues young women face like periods, relationships, toxic masculinity, and the threat of violence, without seeming didactic or preachy Red Hood is searingly critical of rape culture and incels , at the same time as celebrating loving, consensual sex and relationships.The problem is, I think the conclusion the message of the book, if you will doesn t sit quite right for me It is clearly supposed to be about sisterhood and female empowerment, but it comes across as an endorsement of view spoiler murder hide spoiler I loved GIRL IN RED and now another captivating retelling is out there I want this wolf I want this hood I want every retelling of Grimm Brothers bloody stories I originally rated this novel 4 stars, but the I think about it, the I am bothered by and uncomfortable with the ending So I am leaving the rating off Maybe one day I will settle on something__________________Hoo boy, this review is a hard one for me to tackle I am a huge Elana K Arnold, but I am not sure I can get fully behind Red Hood, like I gladly did with Damsel Some people need to read this ARC and tell me if I m wrong.Red Hood is a sort of, kind of a retelling of Red Riding Hood set in a modern world The novel is definitely written in a fairy tale tone, almost entirely in second person I thought it worked well for the story s dreamy, but tense narrative.It opens with Bisou getting ready to attend a school dance with her boyfriend of 6 months She doesn t really love parties, especially not some of the guys at these parties After the dance Bisou and her boyfriend drive to nearby woods where things get hot and heavy And then suddenly and unexpectedly Bisou gets her first period she is 16 and a late bloomer at the most inopportune moment brace yourself for it Mortified, she flees her boyfriend, runs through the woods and encounters a wolf that she somehow finds strength to kill Next morning, Bisou learns one of her school mates is dead Was it Bisou who killed him the night before Let me tell you, there are many things Red Hood delivers on PERIODS They are described in visceral, bloody, BLOODY detail.Young love and first sexual experiences, which are both thrilling and terrifying.Toxic masculinity I feel like it is explored here intelligently than it ever was in another girlpower YA novel I like to rant about Moxie On the journey to learn about herself and her body, Bisou meets other women and becomes a part of a real life force to fight misogyny and violence against women What I do find problematic, is what happens after her coven of strong women is formed I just can t wrap my head around the fact that book seems to suggest that it s a triumph of sisterhood for these women view spoiler to stay on the path of violence, to conspire to kill men and dispose of their bodies, and as long as they do it as a unit, it s fine They now have a group of smart, talented women, with a slayer and a journalist, and all they are good for is killing and hiding bodies of rapists Not, see, track and expose these men and put them to jail, but kill in secret Throughout their lives hide spoiler Elana Arnold continues to flex on the entire book world by writing unflinching, raw, powerful novels about women taking back their power. Oh man So I really liked the writing in Damsel which is why I requested this one to read But I just couldn t finish this one because I didn t know it was written in second person POV I just can t do the second person I desperately want Elana K Arnold to focus the rest of her writing on endless feminist fairytale retellings There isn t always a wolf, M m reminds you, but there is always the threat of one RTC after a re read closer to release date but I came into this prepared to be salty and infuriated like I was with Damsel but instead was utterly blown away by the sheer power of this book I received a digital ARC from Balzer Bray via Edelweiss Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own Quotes are taken from an uncorrected ARC copy. Originally published on The Nerd Daily Review by Nathalie DeFeliceThis story can be described as bloody and brilliant My favourite thing about Elana K Arnold s books is that they re so unapologetically meant for the empowerment of young women I relished diving into the world of Red Hood after reading Damsel, because I couldn t wait to see what world Arnold would craft for us She manages to turn the narrative of the Little Red Riding Hood and imbues it with the strength of a woman instead of a man If you re not here to see fierce women take down toxic masculinity, this might not be the book for you However, if you re here to see women dismantle a hostile system never meant to empower them in the first place, then you ve come to the right place Now, if you re easily triggered by themes of sexual assault and murder, you might approach this book with caution I loved this book, but I will admit that it does come on strong, but if you think you can handle it, I highly recommend that you add this to your TBR.Bisou Martel has been in her grandmother s care since she was four years old They ve lived a nice and quiet life in Seattle, but on the night of Homecoming, she finds herself running for her life in the woods, chased by a wolf with a mouth full of teeth and vicious claws Bisou fights back, and as the new moon rises, so do questions about the blood in her veins and on her hands She ll navigate through broken boys and vicious wolves, and the lost girls who are afraid, but not alone This isn t the bedtime story that I grew up reading, that s for certain.Despite the modern setting, Red Hood holds a similar storytelling to Damsel, one that makes you feel as though you re in a dream Our narrator, Bisou, is getting ready for the Homecoming Dance with her boyfriend of six months Parties aren t really her thing, and she doesn t care for some of the guys that on her boyfriend s basketball team, but she s willing to put that to the side to hang out with him After the dance she and her boyfriend head into the woods where things begin to get heated, but it s at that moment that she starts her period It is at this moment that the true story begins, as she runs out of the car mortified, into the woods, where she encounters the vicious wolf and finds the strength to fight back The next day, she finds out that one of the boys at her school has been killed in the woods, but it can t have been Bisou can it I honestly can t go into too much of this story without spoiling some major plot points, but what I can tell you is that it is a story that sinks its claws in and doesn t let go Arnold doesn t hesitate in viscerally describing a young woman s menstrual cycle There is no shame in the act, and I found something so liberating about seeing how this is used as an empowering tool throughout the story Bisou is learning about her body, and that is completely okay Consent is another topic that is also thoroughly discussed in this book, and let me tell you, I was definitely here for some of the softer boys that Elana K Arnold presented to us.This story handles the topic of toxic masculinity very well in my opinion, particularly in how it affects young women From vilifying young women for their sexual nature or for speaking out against their aggressors, we get to focus on how it affects women More importantly, I got to see what happens when women support each other in the face of this It was so strengthening to see the female friendships develop in this way There were a couple of moments that I found questionable,but overall, this story was amazing.Something that I didn t love about this story was in the way that something was addressed I honestly can t say than this without spoiling the story, but I just think if it had been framed in a different way it might have made the story better While I loved how this story is told, I can also say that it may be off putting to some readers Which is okay, but I think everyone who is even remotely interested and wouldn t be triggered should read this.This story is a 9 10 for me It s captivating and empowering, striving to show women to support one another and fight alongside each other in the face of toxic masculinity I urge you to pick it up if you can, and definitely comment of contact me if you d love to scream about it alongside me Add it to your TBR I requested this book for one reason only because of DAMSEL It s a book a lot of people hate, or dislike, or just feel uncomfortable about And I don t begrudge anyone their feelings But somehow it just worked for me So when I saw yet another feminist sorta retelling by the same author I wanted it.But.I don t know, it was a push to get through this, I wasn t feeling motivated to read it, despite all the good in the story and what it was saying.I think people who disliked DAMSEL will enjoy this because it s a little less wild, a little less out there, and again, the dialogue is relevant and strong So if you were put off by the author s other works, but want to explore this kind of story, I would suggest giving this a try.Full review to come I received an ARC from Edelweiss and the publisher thank you in exchange for an honest review.
- 368 pages
- Red Hood
- Elana K. Arnold
- 22 April 2019 Elana K. Arnold