The Red Word by Sarah Henstra | ARC Review

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Pages: 352
Publication: ECW Press
Release date: March 6, 2018
How I got the copy: ECW Press
Rating: 5/5

I discovered this book a few months before it's release date and I was already hooked by the topics it said to cover. So, once I started reading The Red Word I thought, "wow, this is going to be dense" but once invested in the characters and the storyline it isn't dense at all, it's smart, well-written, complex and an intriguing book.

The Red Word follows Karen, a Canadian, living in the United States for College, starting her sophomore year and re-entering the back-to-school revelry. She's a bit out of her element but is experiencing campus life to her fullest when she literally stumbles onto the lawn of Raghurst, a house of radical feminists, to potentially be their final roommate.

The Red Word is labeled as a campus novel, it covers many important topics and issues campuses face such as rape, feminism, wealth, hate, politics, friendship, relationships and I think it's an extraordinary book. One of the things I love about Karen as a character is that she has an insider and outsider perspective of being in the frat house, because of her boyfriend, and being inside Raghurst, because it's where she lives. We get to see inside both worlds through Karen's perspective and I think it's important to see both sides to understand and sympathize with the characters and the story.

This book will make you think, at first I could see so many problematic points happening at the beginning and I could only continue reading and hope it was part of the plot and character's development process. I also think the depiction of the outlook of these young women in college going through the situations and life were honest depictions. I believe the setting and the characteristics of the main characters and plot were well crafted and believable.

I find the way that The Red Word is written brings a sense of mystery to the story because it starts off with someone dying in the present and we're brought back to Karen's sophomore year when she met the person that has died. But not only because we're jolted to the past, there's something else, I think the way the author structured the book, that also left me with a sense of mystery while reading. It's a beautiful, honest and difficult book to get through.

I love this book so much. It's complicated, it's important and well-written. I couldn't wait to finish the book because I wanted to know how it ended but I didn't want to story to end. The Red Word is about friendships, relationship, college, rape culture, feminism, campus politics, complex realities, heartbreak, and consequences.

*A copy of this book was provided by ECW Press in exchange for an honest review*

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