You close your eyes and upon opening them, you find yourself transported to a forest of fairytales. The branches of these trees are etched with happily ever afters and once upon a times. This forest glitters with the magic and thrill of these golden, polished words that stretch beyond the boughs of these woods.
Yet, these aren't the woods you think you know.
If you look past this place of enchantment, your eyes will drift down to the fallen leaves that litter the forest floor. Should you brush them aside, you'll find that the undergrowth is soaked with the blood of the heroines and heroes that have made their way through these paths. Before long, you can hear their shrill cries whisper through the winds in the woods and a cold realization grasps at your heart that so many voyagers have walked this path before you.
The road leading to a happily ever after is fraught with the dangers of the woods. Many do not make it through to see the other side of these dense trees and you'll find that in life sometimes there is no such thing as a happily ever after.
At least, not the gilded happy endings we've come to hold dear.
Just know that in these woods you might catch the glinting eye of the big bad wolf.
For me, five star reads are stories that make a great impact through their plot, character development, championing of themes, and an author's voice.
Red Hood by Elana K. Arnold was one of these books for me. Arnold is an author who takes us to a path less traveled where the truths of the world catch you with the briars and thorns that line the path to the dark heart of the woods. Before long, red lines cross your arms and legs and tell the tale of those whose fates are lost to all save the trees who have witnessed their struggles. Before long, Bisou's story becomes your own and you walk through her path where the big bad wolf pads alongside you. Fear overcomes you when you first catch sight of the gleaming bone teeth. The feeling grows and grows until the moment dread becomes a reality: the wolf has turned on you.
Except instead of a scream of terror, you let out a battle cry, and let the roaring of your blood unleash its power.
You become the hunter and not the prey.
It will no longer due to be the victim in this story. Now it's up to you to write your own and change the ways of the wolves that haunt the forest in a perpetual search for new prey.
Bisou and Arnold's voices herald forth the voices of all the women who have been lost to the claws and teeth of our society's wolves. Instead of remaining spirits in the shadows, they will now follow your life with a spark that will grow through time.
It's time for the big bad wolf to be afraid.
"Maybe this is why people make up fables and myths and fairy tales: to fill in gaps. To answer unanswerable questions. To shelter their fears, and their hopes as well."
"It isn't safe for a girl to be alone in the woods."
"There is a caginess inside your heart; an awareness of danger, and a desire to avoid being found out. Does that make you monstrous? A monster?"
"...Virgo is a truth teller, and tis blood moon that's coming, people say it's a time that will force us to do our shadow work, you know, and deal with truths, even uncomfortable ones."
"It's one thing to tell a girl how not to get raped or harassed - is anyone telling the guys not to rape us or harass us? I'm tired of being quiet. I'm tired of keeping secrets. I'm tired of feeling ashamed for choices that other people make about me for me."
by Elana K. Arnold
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retellings, Fairy Tales
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.
Elana 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.
ELANA K. ARNOLD is the author of critically acclaimed and award-winning young adult novels and children’s books, including the Printz Honor winner Damsel, the National Book Award finalist What Girls Are Made Of, and Global Read Aloud selection A Boy Called Bat and its sequels. Several of her books are Junior Library Guild selections and have appeared on many best book lists, including the Amelia Bloomer Project, a catalog of feminist titles for young readers. Elana teaches in Hamline University’s MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults program and lives in Southern California with her family and menagerie of pets.
Win a copy of
RED HOOD by Elana K. Arnold
Starts: 18th February 2020
Ends: 3rd March 2020