Red Heart Tattoo by Lurlene McDaniel
Delacorte for Young Readers – July 24, 2012
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Rating: This was an okay read for me. I am disappointed that it did not live up to its potential.
I received a copy of this book, free, in exchange for my honest review.
Read what this book is about here
The lives of Edison High School students are changed dramatically and permanently after a bomb is set off inside the atrium. Morgan, the student council president and Trent the football star are the cutest couple. Mark, another football stara dn Kelli, the tumbler for the cheerleading squad are best friends with Morgan and Trent. All are part of the popular crowd. Roth is the local bad boy, an image protected as a shield to cover childhood pain. Liza, best friends with Roth and carries a long-hidden crush and another dangerous secret. Executioner and Apocalypse are students that exist on the fringes of the high school world.
I have to admit that I was really looking forward to Red Heart Tattoo. I was excited that someone had decided to fictionally tackle the violence and terror of school bombings. Unfortunately, it fell flat in way too many ways for me to say that I enjoyed this story. I remember the Paducah, Kentucky School shooting of 1997. I remember the Columbine School shooting that followed two years later. I remember the icy fingers of terror that stretched across the entire United States and the extreme reactions that followed. There were the desperate attempts to protect all the students but also to understand how people could reach this point or terror, violence and deeply-rooted hurt.
I won’t remember Red Heart Tattoo. I don’t want to because it did nothing, it didn’t put me in the mind of the bomber(s) or the victims. While, I don’t think the bombing should be glorified, there should be enough to feel something- anything. Instead, it was treated as if the school shut down for renovations. The bombing barely touched the community surrounding Edison High School, so it’s not surprising that no one else cared about what happened. Even the ending upset me. Out 224 pages, the ending sounds more of a wrap –up summary than a conclusion. I don’t agree with the reason that was given by the bombers and the diagnosis given to the lead bomber. (“Because I can” and sociopath). I think that just shows how little effort the author did to understand the mind of those who perpetuate school violence. While narcissistic sociopaths may exist in high school, they tend to do things more complicated than bombings (tend to be more like a serial killer than a mass murderer). I’m not sure if the reactions of the victims were believable.
Besides not getting into the story, I feel a little offended that this wasn’t handled better. Maybe I feel this way because I remember, I’m not sure.
Recommendation: I would not recommend this book to anyone.
What’s Next? Her website has not been updated with any news of upcoming books.