Red Heart Tattoo by Lurlene McDaniel
One of my favorite authors to read as a teenager was Lurlene McDaniel. The books my circle of friends and I deemed the “cancer books” always had teenagers come down with some deadly ailment, and then either die themselves or survive and watch others die. Each book always resulted with me in tears. I haven’t read her in years, so I was excited to pick up Red Heart Tattoo and see if her works still caused the same reaction in me.
Morgan Frierson is starting her senior year of high school as class president and madly in love with her boyfriend of three years, Trent. At a pep rally she planned, fireworks are set off as a prank, causing mild panic. Morgan is determined to find out who ruined her pep rally, and soon discovers her suspicions on Roth, a tattooed bad boy who can’t stop staring at her.
Then the day before Thanksgiving break, their high school is faced with something much bigger than a prank: a bomb is detonated inside the school’s atrium, causing nine people to die, 15 to be critically injured, 22 to have less severe injuries, and one person to go blind.
Accusations fly all over the place, and broken hearts and bodies must heal. People are forced to move on with their lives, and find they gravitate toward people they wouldn’t have before the disaster.
Admittedly, it’s been at least 15 years since I’ve read a Lurlene McDaniel, but I found I wasn’t as emotionally affected by Red Heart Tattoo as I was by say, Sixteen and Dying or Let Him Live. Perhaps it was because none of the characters were staring death in the face as part of his or her life; this was a one-time tragedy that either took the life or didn’t. Granted, there were serious repercussions and injuries for a couple characters, but none so big I found myself devastated over it.
This is not to take anything away from this novel. As she did with a number of illnesses, McDaniel brings a very timely subject to life for the young adult crowd for which she’s writing. It’s definitely the 19 Minutes (by Jodi Picoult) for teens. With the unfortunate reality of school bombings and shootings, more and more teens have faced this real-life crisis, and may find someone to whom they can relate in this book. If nothing else, perhaps it will serve as an awareness tool for the age range most in need of one. There is definitely a need for this book on your shelves.
To learn more about this title, visit http://bit.ly/KeRPuv