(Website, Twitter, Goodreads)Published by Entangled Teen on November 2nd 2015
Genres: Coming of Age, Contemporary, Dating & Sex, Death & Dying, Depression & Mental Illness, Family, Love & Romance, Romance, Siblings, Social Issues, Suicide, Young Adult, Young Adult Fiction
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’ve had this book on my TBR pile since I read Heidi R. Kling’s Not Okay, Cupid. Let me warn you, Paint My Body Red is nothing like that book. Cupid is lighter and focused around the romance between Hazel and Felix. Paint has a guy and a girl, but instead of one story, you get two.
Paige Mason was surrounded by death. When suicide became an epidemic in an affluent California town, her mother shipped her off to Wyoming to live with her father for the summer. That was story number one, the now. Paige’s dad had been diagnosed with ALS a few years prior, but the only contact that she had with him was through email. When she gets to Wyoming, she’s shocked at how much the disease has affected him. The story with her dad played as an undercurrent to her healing from the events that happened in California. She had to see him as a new man, not the man that went to the bottle when everything went wrong or whenever he so desired. Instead, he was only the guy that her younger self remembered the best: the one with catchy sayings and a big heart. He didn’t play as large a role as some of the characters, but he helped her heal and become a new Paige.
Also part of her now was Jake. I found it impossible not to fall for Jake. Even if you don’t love cowboys, you’ll love him. He had all the charms of a southern gentleman and the honesty of Veritaserum. In the midst of Paige’s darkness, he was the light that broke through and made her feel alive again. I loved every scene with Jake and couldn’t wait to see how their story would end.
Paige’s then followed her to Wyoming. In California, where trains were taking the lives of teens that appeared to have promise and hope for their future, she also had Ty, her stepbrother. Their relationship had draw. But if you’re expecting the type of relationship like in Estelle Maskame’s DIMLY trilogy, this was not it. This was dark and mysterious in the midst of the brightness happening in her now. I’ll admit, I didn’t think I would feel anything but disgust with Ty’s character, but call me shocked. I felt sorry for him. I pitied him. Kling did so well with his character, bending and shaping him so that it’s impossible to feel only disgust toward him once you get to know him.
Overall, I’m so glad that I read this book. It’s not one story but two, and each chapter of the then left me wanting for more. You have to read the whole thing out a pure curiosity about how Paige’s then affected her now. Paint My Body Red is full of hope and sadness, darkness and light. It’s a story of falling down as much as it is about building yourself back up. Kling has shown that she can write romance with heart and hope, but with this story, she’s shown us that she can also write something that makes your toes curl and want—need—to turn the next page.