{ARC} Review: Red Hood by Elana K. Arnold

Red Hood

Elana K. Arnold

You are alone in the woods, seen only by the unblinking yellow moon. Your hands are empty. You are nearly naked.

And the wolf is angry.

Since 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 alone.

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Publication Date: February 25th 2020

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Murder, Depictions of Blood, Domestic Abuse, Animal Death, Toxic Masculinity, Sexual Assault, Rape, Victim Blaming/Slutshaming, Gore, Abortion, Underage Drug Use/Sex

It’s been so long since I’d written a one star review… let’s hope I remember what I’m doing.

I’d been sitting on this review since January… and I still don’t know what to say. You’d think I’d be entirely into a book about a “little red riding hood” killing boys in a society where boys will be boys is not an ironic statement and about women taking back their agency and banding together… and I didn’t like it. Maybe it has something to do with the brand of feminisim that was being enforced, maybe it something else, but me and this book didn’t agree.

I just found myself wanting to get it over with? Not only was it slow as molasses, it just… I wasn’t engaged. This might be the first time I’ve read a book in 2nd POV present and I’m not a fan… which is surprising because before this, I thought I was open minded and it wouldn’t matter… you learn something new every day.

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There are so many discussions happening in this book: sex positivity and consent and incels and rape culture and the accountability of men. This book was definitely written to make you uncomfortable… and I undoubtedly was. Which is in no way a demerit to the story– it’s just not represented much with this intensity in YA as often, so I appreciated it.

Not only that, this book went there with the portrayal of menstruation, a very organic depiction of it, though I do believe it was a bit exclusionary, especially in a story essentially on the violence against women… to disregard an entire group of people. Admittedly, it’s not my place since I don’t identify as trans or non-binary, but it was something I had noticed and wished was included.

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But overall, there were so many things in here I just… I couldn’t get past? In addition to what I listed above?? Like the fact that there were two point five good guys out of the entire cast and they all were romantically involved the the main cast… I don’t know why that made me uncomfortable.

Or maybe it was the glorification of murder in general, of having our main character who is flawed become a hand of justice, with a fight hate with hate outlook. And it’s not how graphic things are portrayed, it’s how unnuanced the conversations of morality is and how black and white everything was. I am in no way excusing or dismissing the facts in this book: men get away with killing women all the time and they get away with it more often than not. That women are taught from a young age to understand the world is much kinder to its men… it was the fact that the female characters were hypocrites with their call for accountability.

I can’t say I hate this book. I can’t say I like it either. We’re at an impasse and I’m not recommending… but if you want to find out for yourself if this’ll be your thing, I support your decision.

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