Red Hood – Elana K. Arnold ⭐️⭐️⭐️

It’s a dark and empowering tale of women defying stereotypes, a re-telling of Little Red Riding Hood.

Since her grandmother became her caretaker when she was four years old, Bisou Martel has lived a quiet life in a little house in Seattle. She’s kept mostly to herself. She’s been good.

But then comes the night of homecoming, when she finds herself running for her life over roots and between trees, a fury of claws and teeth behind her.

A wolf attacks. Bisou fights back. A new moon rises. And with it, questions.

About the blood in Bisou’s past, and on her hands as she stumbles home.

About broken boys and vicious wolves.

About girls lost in the woods-frightened, but not alone.

I love twists on fairy tales and this one is a twist on Little Red Riding Hood – a loose twist, but one nonetheless. An enjoyable read and an interesting take on this well known tale.

** PSA for trigger warnings of violence/sexual assault/blood/sex scenes/murder **

Bisou lost her mother when she was at young age. Her mother was murdered and Bisou was found covered in blood, curled up next to her mother’s body by her grandmother. From there in, Bisou lives with her grandmother and often keeps to herself mostly. She’s a quiet girl who happens to be going out with one of the popular boys.

Bisou’s homecoming approaches and with it the anticipation of what might happen between her and her boyfriend. It’s that typical awkward will-it-wont-it with the characters being in high school and Bisou has an awkward encounter of her own when her period finally comes with her boyfriend performing oral sex on her. Naturally she freaks out and runs off into the woods thinking the worst. Unfortunately for her, she runs into a huge Wolf in the woods and somehow, instincts take over and she kills the wolf and runs home.

Unbeknown to her, the wolf turned out to be a boy that she was in school with and had a small confrontation with the night before at homecoming. Curiously though, the things that killed him i.e. broken neck and eye gouge is what she did to the wolf. She puts two and two together and realises, though impossible that he was a wolf.

From there events develop further and with each period Bisou realises that she has heightened abilities and the power to stop attacks on the girls in the woods.

I’ve not read Damsel but I did enjoy this book, the camaraderie between Bisou and her friends and grandmother is lovely and I do really like the sisterly/feminine team/bond they have going on. I did find it a little unrealistic with her explaining to her friends about the wolves being boys and that they were so on board with killing them, that jump from information to murder was a little too quick for me considering that these are 16 year old girls. The fact that her grandmother used to hunt before Bisou seems to make this a ‘normal’ thing for the girls.

The story itself is a little jagged admittedly and the sex scenes are graphicly described and it does evoke the empowerment of women especially not shying about periods and to instead celebrate them. In all honesty the description of Bisou getting her period was probably one of the most accurate descriptions out there and it’s not dusted over or romanticized as I have read with other authors.

It’s a dark and empowering tale of women defying stereotypes, forming friendships, discovering themselves with the odd bit of murdering wolf boys thrown in. I’m not 100% on the ending but it was an enjoyable read. 

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