Monday, January 4, 2010
Review: Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves
Title: Bleeding Violet
Author: Dia Reeves
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pub. Date: 1/5/10
Main Themes: Supernatural, Monsters, Family relationships, Bipolar Disorder, Love, Possession
Plot (from back of arc):
Love... can be a dangerous thing.
Hanna simply wants to be loved. With a head plagued by hallucinations, a medicine cabinet full of pills, and a closet stuffed with frilly violet dresses, Hanna's tired of being the outcast, the weird girl, the freak. So she runs away to Portero, Texas, in search of a new home.
But Portero is a stranger town than Hanna expects. As she tries to make a place for herself, she discovers dark secrets that would terrify any normal soul. Good thing for Hanna, she's far from normal. As this crazy girl meets an even crazier town, only two things are certain: Anything can happen and no one is safe.
I'm kind of in love with this book. Every time I try to write my review though, I can't find the words. I think I've been left speechless. Or there are too many words and feelings bouncing around in my head. BLEEDING VIOLET pullled me in by its jagged teeth and I read it at a breakneck speed and with wide eyes. I'm not sure I've ever read such a strange tale; it was completely unique.
As I was getting ready to read BV, I kept hearing comments about the book. Other reviewers kept mentioning that it was such an odd book. I'd have to agree with this sentiment. It is hard to determine exactly what characteristic of the novel other reviewers are referring to when they say it is strange, in comparison to other supenatural and horror YA novels, but for me, it was Hanna. Dia Reeves' main character is not, in my mind, your typical YA character, nor your typical horror narrator. There is an unshakeable calm about Hanna and her ability to accept unexplainable phenomena is rather impressive. In the novel, Hanna has been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, and, after a shopping spree during a manic episode and a violent outburst, has run away to a small town in search of her estranged mother. Shortly after she arrives, Hanna discovers that she might have just found the one place that is crazier than she is. Does Hanna run away screaming? Nope. She doesn't even flinch. I loved that Hanna is such a strong character, at least on the outside, but she still has a soft center. Her ultimate goal throughout the book is to gain love and acceptance from her mother, who left Hanna and her father when she was only an infant. This is what makes Hanna a YA character and a character that a reader can connect with. The fact that she fights back instead of cowering in the face of freakish monsters and evil spirits... those traits just make her a badass. But the fact that she has Bipolar Disorder definitely sets her apart from other YA characters - and explains some of her behavior and tendencies.
There is also a romantic plotline in BV. I found Hanna's relationship with Wyatt to be both interesting and engaging. It was interesting because of Hanna's personality, her past, and, in ways, her future. Hanna's past relationships barely passed for actual relationships and her entire future, as far as she was concerned, seemed to be focused on her mother. So throwing Wyatt into the mix had interesting side effects. In addition, I simply enjoyed their love story. It wasn't typical, but it still made me smile and root for their budding relationship.
The superatural elements of BV were impressive. The novel has a definite horror vibe - I think it could definitely be made into a movie - and at times I felt like covering my eyes and reading through my fingers. BV isn't one of those books that will keep you up at night with the light on, but it is filled with creepy crawlies. And evil spirits. And hidden doors to other dimensions. Portero, Texas isn't my dream destination, but I can't help but be fascinated by it.
Ratings (out of 10):
Total: 50/50 (A)
Bleeding Violet is an amazing debut from Dia Reeves and if it isn't on your to-be-read pile, add it now! Start of 2010 with a great novel, start 2010 with Bleeding Violet!