Title: Paint My Body Red
Author: Heidi R. Kling
Release Date: November 2nd, 2015
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Genre: YA, Contemporary
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…
This was such an incredibly moving book; by the end of it, I was in tears. There were a lot of difficult topics at play in this book, and I thought they were all handled extremely well by the author.
“What made the difference between choosing to die and deciding to live?
Was it the weight of sadness that buckled them over and dragged them away from all sane, rational thoughts with an anchor of hopelessness so intense they just gave up fighting?”
The main issue in this book was teen suicide. Throughout the book, we learnt more about why Paige was so deeply affected by not only these suicides, but many other serious incidents. I don’t want to give parts of the story away, so I won’t say what some of these other topics are, but I felt that they all fit into the story really well. They were handled with grace, but weren’t sugarcoated. Everything was raw and real and in your face. I think this book has the ability to create a lot of discussions about all these really serious issues that many young people face.
When we first began to learn about how the suicides at Paige’s school started, it hit quite close to home. The first student to die was described as happy, popular kid, who seemed to have everything going for him. At my school last year, a boy just like that committed suicide. I didn’t know him, but no one could believe it; he had apparently been such a happy person who always had a smile on his face. So yeah, I think the message that the book is telling is incredibly important; you can’t know what people are feeling behind the wall they put up, the face they show the world.
I think what stopped me from giving this book five stars was that I had mixed feelings about the main character, Paige. I understand that she was dealing with a lot, but I did find her a little annoying at times. Generally, it was to do with her commentary on Jake – the oh-so-gorgeous cowboy. There was a bit of insta-love going on, which I am not a fan of, so that was probably why she frustrated me. As it got further into the book, I came to understand her a bit more, and I was a little less judgemental. If I were to read it again, I would probably be a bit more understanding, and enjoy the beginning of the book more.
I absolutely adored the last section of the book, as we found how exactly what had happened before Paige went to the ranch. I also loved how Paige had grown after her time at the ranch, and how her life was looking a little more hopeful. There was so much emotion in those last few chapters, and it was such a great ending to the story.
“Most importantly we live. We live like crazy”
Overall, I think this was an amazing story that handles tough topics with a lot of grace. I wasn’t too sure how much I would enjoy it based on the description, but I’m really glad I gave it a chance. I would strongly recommend it to people who enjoyed Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak, as it has a very similar tone.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*