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Seeing Red


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About the Author

Peter Lancett is a writer, fiction editor and film maker, living and working in New Zealand and Los Angeles. He is Series Editor for Cutting Edge, and the author of Seeing Red, another compelling title in the series. He is also the author of the highly acclaimed Dark Man series, winner of the Educational Books Award 2006. Hanging In The Mist, his third contribution to Cutting Edge, is due out in Autumn 2010.


Gr 9 Up-A turbulent relationship with a girl who used to cut herself troubles 16-year-old Tom Hathaway in this novel aimed at reluctant readers. The premise is intriguing, the print large, and the paragraphs short, but the dated slang and sometimes strange tone might put off teens looking for the advertised "gritty, quick read." Tom is from a wealthy family, but his parents are distant and uninvolved. Obsessed with brand names and expensive clothes, he doesn't fit in at his public school in an unnamed suburb that seems vaguely British. He quickly falls for a mysterious girl named Sylvia, who shows him the scars on her arms where she used to cut herself. However, the romance doesn't go smoothly. Tom also discovers that his beloved older sister is pregnant and wants him to accompany her to an abortion clinic. His interest in The Catcher in the Rye might explain some of the slang-the story is peppered with "goddamns" and "Christs," Tom refers to people as "morons" and "phonies," and the things he likes are "lovely." Many of the cultural references are to old cartoons, movies, and TV shows-Tom and Sylvia see Lawrence of Arabia at a movie theater, for example-and while their interests make them unique as characters, teens expecting more contemporary references will have trouble relating to them. The pace of the story is slow at times, though it picks up when Tom starts cutting himself, destroying his relationship with Sylvia. Teens who ask for short, gritty urban fiction might prefer the "Bluford High" series (Scholastic) or Saddleback's "Urban Underground" series.-Miranda Doyle, Lake Oswego School District, OR (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

"Seeing Red was one of the most unusual and unique books I have ever read. It made me realise that inner beauty matters more than what's on the outside and that personality is the most special quality that anyone can ever have. This book made me think about how other people might feel in difficult situations." Megan Blyth, Holy Rood High

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