Monday, 9 November 2015

Review: Paint My Body Red by Heidi R. Kling

Source: Received a copy from the publisher to give an honest review.
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC (Teen)
Release Date: November 2, 2015
Number of Pages: 350 (Kindle edition)

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N

Description from Goodreads:
The world isn't just black or white. Sometimes it's red...

They think I'm next. That I'll be the seventh kid to step in front of a train and end my life. With the rash of suicides at my school, Mom's shipped me off to my dad's Wyoming ranch for “my own safety.” They think I’m just another depressed teenager whose blood will end up on the tracks. They don't know my secrets...or what I’ve done.

I wasn't expecting Dad to be so sick, for the ranch I loved to be falling to bits, or for Jake—the cute boy I knew years ago—to have grown into a full-fledged, hot-as-hell cowboy. Suddenly, I don't want to run anymore, but the secrets from home have found me...even here. And this time, it's up to me to face them—and myself—if I want to live...
I have loved Heidi R. Kling's writing ever since I first read Sea, so when I heard about Paint My Body Red, I was extremely excited!!! The description sounded dark and edgy, with the promise of some romance involving a swoon-worthy cowboy, which sounded pretty amazing to me. Sure enough, I started the book, and couldn't put it down!

Paint My Body Red is about Paige. When she was younger, her parents divorced, and her mom moved her to California, away from her family's ranch in Wyoming. She goes back years later, after a series of suicides takes place involving students from her school, and when she gets to the ranch, she sees just how much it has changed and how her father's health has declined due to ALS. While the circumstances of her return were sad, I loved seeing Paige make herself at home once again on the ranch. I loved seeing her get to know her father again, and their relationship was one of my favourite parts of the novel. I loved seeing her get to know the woman that her father loved, Anna. And I especially loved seeing her friendship with Jake evolve. I just really loved this story! The characters immediately pulled me in, and I genuinely cared for Paige. It was amazing to see how time on her father's ranch helped her overcome what she experienced back in Palo Alto.

While there is a romantic element to Paint My Body Red, I loved that the story wasn't defined by romance. Instead, the story was largely about Paige healing and growing stronger on the ranch. The story itself was told in an extremely interesting way. Paige narrates the entire book, but it alternates between her present and the events that happened to her back in California, which she records in her diary. Writing out what happened acts as a catharsis for Paige, and her time on the ranch helps her ground herself. She's able to find happiness and joy despite the people she lost, and the abuse that she suffered. I absolutely loved this method of revealing Paige's past—it was unique and engaging.

I also loved the romance in the story, and thoroughly enjoyed Jake and Paige together. I loved their banter, and they brought out the best in each other. They worked extremely well together, and it was fantastic to see their relationship evolve from friendship into something more, especially since it was founded on trust. I also really loved that Jake was a cowboy! There's something so attractive about a boy with the manners of a gentleman, who is still willing to kiss the crap out of a girl. ;) Even better that he never pressured Paige, and that their relationship was never rushed.

Overall, I absolutely loved Paint My Body Red. I loved that it was such a dynamic story, and that it covered such important topics. Suicide, rape, depression, and life-threatening illnesses should never be brushed aside, and I thought it was amazing that Heidi R. Kling approached all of those topics in Paint My Body Red. This story is so important, and it delivers such a powerful message about life, valuing the life you're given, and working to overcome the things that hold you back. I thought that it was a complex, mysterious, and captivating story, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to everyone!

What do you think?
Does Paint My Body Red sound like something you want to read?


  1. I admit I am pretty unfamiliar with Heidi R. Kling's work, though I do have a vague recollection of seeing lots of praise for Sea. I am not usually one for these kinds of books that cover so many "issues" but I think if it's as well done as you say it is, then I think I could appreciate it! Thanks for putting this one on my radar, Ambur :)

    1. I think you'd definitely like this one, Eilidh! It isn't depressing, but it still manages to cover the harder topics in a really moving way! You're welcome! :)


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