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Red - the Novel

Red by Annie Cardi

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Publishing Date: January 30, 2024


5 reasons to read RED: 

1. Controversial: Some time ago Judy Blume had Margaret asking God about natural changes in our bodies, Annie Cari has Tess make decisions about hers with a controversial topic such as abortion (and sexual abuse) 

2. Bravery - Tess courage she never runs away with her faith strong and as a support for her path to returning to her life 

3. Speaking up: It will enrage you but also it is a novel to inspire voices to never go silent again 

4. Relatable- at least one or 4 we know went through the same 

5. An example of a supporting parent in a difficult time for a teen 

My review

This was a YA novel that in many moments was hard to read because it is very emotional and relatable. But even when it infuriates us, it is also well-balanced with hope and bravery. It is relatable because even if we haven't been through Tess' situation, we know at least two or three women close to us or friends, colleagues, or just in our community who have experienced it, and bullying, shaming... loneliness, despair, guilt, harassment instead of empathy and comprehension...

Women who had to find their path back to sanity and enjoy life again. 

If they are young or if they have daughters gift them one copy of this book. 

One day Judy Blume had Margaret address God because of the changes in her body, things people didn't speak about in the open, now Annie Cardi brings a controversial topic to focus: abortion and victims of sexual abuse... with a powerful voice in Tess, hoping others find theirs and stop another name to join the long lists of victims by speaking up. 

Tess is an amazing character who makes a choice about her body and gets mistreated by her community. She never runs away and she never loses her strength or faith. She faces everything with the support of her mother and new friends who bring music to her. 

There are so many lines I wanted to quote it's worth underlying a few. 

Tess knows God is not in the people or in the unkindness they show towards her, even when they think they speak for Him. 

I wish many had someone who could truly stand with them and help as Tess had her mom. Tess is very brave and one step at a time she stands for herself always being kind and forgiving towards those who matter. 

I praise the author for dealing well with the writing in a way that balances it all well when revealing more information about who was who and what values he had. 

Thank you publisher for the ARC copy. 


Moving to Hawthorne was something Tess and her mom never anticipated, but after Tess’s mom loses her job, it’s their only option. Tess’s grandparents welcome them into their home, but with the condition that Tess and her mom attend church, something Mom isn’t too pleased about. But Tess enjoys the church community, finding a place in youth group and the church choir. Faith fills a void Tess didn’t know she had.

After a very personal decision goes public, Tess faces daily harassment and rejection by her former friends, and singing in the church choir is no longer an option. When she meets some kids in the music room, her only place of solace in the school, who don’t judge her for what’s happened, she learns to find her voice again. Against the backdrop of the Spirit Light Festival, Tess will need to find the strength to speak out if she has any chance of ending a silent cycle of abuse in Hawthorne.

Content Warning: Religious Themes, Abortion, Bullying, Slut Shaming, Trauma, Grooming, Sexual Assault

TBR & Beyond Tour with @tbrbeyondtours & @anniecardi (


Book Links:

About the Author:

Annie Cardi is the author of The Chance You Won’t Return, which was named a Bank Street College of Education Best Book of the Year for 2015. She holds a MFA in creative writing from Emerson College and a BA from the University of Virginia. Annie lives near Boston with her family and a portrait of a sea captain.


Author Links:

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