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Red Heart Tattoo Book Report

Red Heart Tattoo Lurlene McDaniel Pub Date: July 24, 2012 Rating: PG Coffee Beans: 3.5 Spoilers: Nope Favorite Line: Girls clustered like a bouquet of spring flowers to admire the pearl. (pg 81, ebook) Disclaimer: I received this ARC free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for this honest review. Publisher’s Summary: 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.

My Review: An inspirational YA novel about the aftermath of a school bombing, Red Heart Tattoo is a story that follows the lives of a handful of high school students in the months leading up to the disaster and how they heal and cope after the catastrophe. I didn’t know when it was an inspirational novel when I started reading it. By now, you all know how I choose books: Cool cover? Check. Promising synopsis? Check. Count me in. I’ve been on a contemporary kick right now, so this was a good candidate. The more I got into it, the stronger my hunch became that that’s exactly what this was. Not that that’s a bad thing at all. Then, in the “about the author” section, it was confirmed. Why did I think this was an inspirational novel? Let me count the ways.

  1. There was little kissing (despite the high school setting)

  1. The main couple made it plain to each other and to the reader they had ground rules that they weren’t planning on doing the dirty and their rules about not spending too much alone time together

  2. The writing wasn’t quite at the level of excellence I’m used to

Moving on…sort of. The writing. I liked the plot and storyline. The characters were somewhat run of the mill, though. I liked that the story was told from several points of view, giving us a deeper look into the characters that we otherwise wouldn’t have gotten (although, there was a lot of head hopping in the same scene, so at times it was confusing). The writing was okay, which supports my long held suspicion that writing doesn’t necessarily have to be superb to be published; it only has to be fairly decent…as long as the premise is unique and fresh. Which I felt this one. I kept thinking throughout the book, “She’s so close, I can feel that this isn’t quite there.” It certainly didn’t stand up to some of the brilliantly written books I’ve had the pleasure of reading lately. I got the feeling it’s aimed more towards the younger age range of YA. I thought the way she covered the tragedy at the school was good, focusing on the individuals and how they were effected emotionally as well as physically; how they survived and got through it; and how they went on with their lives. In the end, I enjoyed the book. I read it in an afternoon—only took me about 4 or so hours to read it, so it’s an easy, not too deep (about 6 ft or so) book. Give it a shot. You may enjoy it or think of someone who would really enjoy it. Happy reading, my friends!

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