Mini Review: Red at Night by Katie McGarry21:44
Title: Red at Night
Author: Katie McGarry
Date of publication: 01 April 2014
Genre/Themes: Young adult, Romance, Realistic fiction, Novella
My rating: 4 Stars
In Red at Night, Stella and Jonah are total opposites. She's the girl with purple hair from the wrong part of town. He's a high school senior who hangs with the cool crowd. Until a car accident leaves him haunted by guilt, and Jonah starts spending time at Stella's favorite refuge…the local cemetery.
Stella knows she should keep her distance—after all, she spent her girlhood being bullied by Jonah's friends. Once he's sorted out his tangled emotions, Jonah won't have time for her anymore. Too bad she's already fallen for him.
It's a cute realistic YA romance written in the superb style of Ms McGarry's books. It's a tender story of first love between two teenagers facing difficult circumstances in life. They have to make a choice that will turn them into the people who they want to be.
The character development is rich and detailed. With just a few words Ms McGarry creates memorable and very likable heroes and heroines. Jonah and Stella have unique voices and their life situations are engagingly and convincingly presented. The story is told from a dual POV focusing on the inner struggles of the characters who are trying to find their place in life.
I liked how Jonah was not this super villain who turned into a good guy overnight. He kept silent in the face of injustice and that made him guilty, yet he was a basically just an ordinary teenager, unwilling to go against the his group of friends, afraid to disrupt his nice, peaceful life. He was a good guy who just needed a push to show his goodness to the world. An unfortunate accident served as this push which led him to Stella. It was their friendship-turned-to-love that brought the change in him to fruition.
Stella was a great character - really unique, enduring a tough family situation. She struggled between hope and dreams on the one hand, and the harsh reality of being on your on with no family to support you. I liked how strong and confident she was, yet at the same time, vulnerable and scared.
Both Jonah and Stella felt very real and easy to relate to. Ms McGarry is a master at creating realistic and intriguing characters with just a few words and making the reader care deeply about them. Despite the short length of the book I felt involved in Jonah and Stella's story and wanted for them to overcome all the difficulties life threw at them.
I just have one minor quibble with the story and it has to do with the volunteering episode. Jonah suddenly realized that there were many poor children and that Stella was one of them and he was outraged by that fact. His reaction didn't feel natural to me, the message against poverty came off as forced.
It's a recommended read for fans of Ms McGarry's books and for anyone who likes a realistic YA story with good plot and great characters.
Note: This novella is part of Harlequin More Than Words and it celebrates the work of Goodie Two Shoes Foundation. You can check the harlequin site for similar novella offered for free.
My reviews of other books by Katie McGarry: