What Red Was by Rosie Price
**TRIGGER WARNING*** This book, and therefore this review, talk about sexual assault.
It's one of those books that feels brave, raw and so needed.
When the arc of this book arrived on my doorstep I devoured it almost immediately. It's one of those books that feels brave, raw and so needed. Yes, it is about a serious sexual assault, but I think it's about more than that. It's about how we keep secrets, how we cover for others, how we are all connected, and how we often don't ask enough questions of those around us. It's a book about humans and experiences. This book doesn't try to cover anything up; the rape scene isn't necessarily brutal, its more matter of fact, not overplayed. It's probably one of the most 'normal' books I have read on the subject. And that I think is what makes it so effective; it's a normal girl, a normal situation and something that you can, unfortunately, imagine happening. It feels like you are witnessing an important story.
The aftermath is as heart-rendering and emotional as you would expect but with a quiet, understated, normalness about it. It just feels so real and you don't feel detached from the situation, which I think makes it an important book. You are left feeling shell-shocked, feeling a bit bruised but with, I believe, a much deeper understanding of what some girls go through.
The relationship between the two main characters is complicated, yet brilliant; you feel everything and often find yourself screaming internally at them to communicate more. You are left with the overriding feeling that if only they had communicated more, things may have been different.
There was a few places where I thought the story was a little slow and muddled and a few characters that I felt were unnecessary, but overall I thought it was a great read that really left you thinking about it afterward.
Please note though, as I said it's brutal in its rawness and very realistic emotionally, so I think it won't be the perfect read for everyone. However, for those of us who feel able to witness someone else's story, it's an important one to read.