Monday, February 13, 2012

Red Heart Tattoo

Red Heart Tattoo
Lurlene McDaniel
224 pages
Publisher: Delacorte
Source: NetGalley

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

When I was growing up I devoured Lurlene McDaniel's books, whether I begged my parents to buy them for me or I got them from the library.  I must have read Don't Die, My Love at least ten times.  So obviously when I found this book on NetGalley I was very excited.  I devoured Red Heart Tattoo just like the rest of 'em.

The morning before Thanksgiving break begins, a bomb goes off at Edison high school.  Red Heart Tattoo follows the lives of those affected both before and after the bomb goes off; several are wounded, some die, and one is blinded.

It's a simple plot, but such a powerful novel.  Getting to know the characters before the bomb goes off helps you get to know them, but reading about them after the bomb lets you get to know who they really are.  People aren't always what they seem - and that's why my favorite character was Roth.  He was what some would consider a troubled student, but I really enjoyed getting to know the real him by the end of the novel.

We all know school shooters/bombers have mental problems and most of the time want the attention, so I was glad not too much time was spent on the two bombers.  Instead, we saw just enough of them to understand why there was a bomb in the atrium and the rest of the book was focused on the people the bomb affected, both before and after the explosion.  Sometimes it's important to focus less on the "why" and more on the "how" it affects other people.

Overall, this was a fantastic little novel about a very serious topic - written in the gripping way Lurlene McDaniel does best.  This is surely to be a hit along with her other books like Don't Die, My Love.  Red Heart Tattoo will be out July 24.

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