"The world isn't just black or white. Sometimes it's red...
They think I'm next. That I'll be the seventh kid to step in front of a train and end my life. With the rash of suicides at my school, Mom's shipped me off to my dad's Wyoming ranch for “my own safety.” They think I’m just another depressed teenager whose blood will end up on the tracks. They don't know my secrets...or what I’ve done.
I wasn't expecting Dad to be so sick, for the ranch I loved to be falling to bits, or for Jake—the cute boy I knew years ago—to have grown into a full-fledged, hot-as-hell cowboy. Suddenly, I don't want to run anymore, but the secrets from home have found me...even here. And this time, it's up to me to face them—and myself—if I want to live..."
Wow. Paint My Body Red is definitely one tale that'll stick long after I finished reading its last page. The best parts are its plot, character, and the main character's relationship with the sort-of antagonist. And I can't forget about the main character's friendship with a wild horse!
Here we go. Let's dive in.
First of all, I want to say that I'm not an expert at abusive relationships involving rape. (It has never happened to me, thankfully, and what I know comes from secondhand sources.) But what happens in Paint My Body Red seems realistic, and the main character's (Paige's) very wrong relationship with her stepbrother (Tyler) is horrible and downright frightening. The power play between the victim and the abuser is disgustingly fascinating, and I can't help but hope Tyler goes and die a very painful death. Preferably alone. Where he can rot while his soul wanders the earth forever and never rests.
(Okay, I clearly took too much time reveling in that.)
Paige is healing from her nasty experiences in the present. She meets Jake, and suddenly, she is thrown for a twist. She doesn't know where to start, and she is very, very likable. Though she starts off as slightly naive, she becomes stronger. She doesn't get broken down, and it is clear that being on the ranch is doing good things to her. Being friends with a wild horse is helping her heal even more.
Jake is sweet and kind. He's an old friend of Paige, a blast from the past. I wish the author dived a bit more into his character, because he has a whole bunch of potential. (Though the ending part of the book doesn't exactly make him likable. The girl you're in love with was worried about you, Jake! Call her!)
Six suicides. Contrary to what the synopsis sounds like, it's not from supernatural causes. I heard from somewhere that suicide rates peak up when someone kills themselves. It's quite ghastly (but I have to raise my eyes at that large number. Six suicides in a single school? A bit far-fetched).
The plot goes by quickly, and it's split between the past and the present. The present parts are simply the best, which is all I have to say on that subject. The ending, on the other hand, falls weak at some areas, but it gives a good send-off.
Overall, Paint My Body Red is the kind of book that has that one relationship that haunts people. The descriptions are quite freaky, and the story never makes me bored. Not for a moment. This one is definitely for those who have a strong stomach for darkness and duplicity.
Rating: Three out of Five