The Red Road by Jenni Wiltz
Decanter Press (January 26, 2015)
When I first read the synopsis for this book, I wasn’t quite sure what to think. It could fit into any number of different categories yet really isn’t truly any of them. In some ways it is YA but then in others it addresses subject more mature than even some adults want to face the realities of.
Once I opened it, Red Road turned out to be one of the most compelling, timely books I have encountered. While some of the material may be more mature than some adults may want to face there isn’t anything I would consider inappropriate for a teen audience. The maturity level merely refers to the realities we face in a world that continues to become increasingly more dangerous and evil.
The situations Emma is forced to face during her junior year go well beyond the worries of grades, college choice and scholarships or other funding for her post high school education. These situations and her choices regarding how to handle them have a profound effect on her relationships, school life, family and even subsequent choices she will make.
I found the characters compelling, the story extremely realistic, the tension of the situations and events palpable as I read. Jenni’s writing is some of the best I have encountered in quite a while and I plan to check out some of her other books. My only real complaint with Red Road is that I found the ending to have more loose ends left unresolved than I would have liked. Unfortunately if I went into detail about the loose ends here and why they bothered me it would be too many spoilers for a review. I can say that despite that issue the book is well worth reading and those who read it will just have to beg Jenni for a sequel to resolve the missing pieces.
About the Author:
Jenni Wiltz writes literary and historical fiction, thrillers, romance, and creative nonfiction. Both her fiction and creative nonfiction have won national writing awards. She holds undergraduate degrees in English and history and an MA in creative writing. Her work has appeared in Gargoyle, The Portland Review, the Sacramento News & Review, and several small-press anthologies. When she’s not writing, she enjoys sewing, running, and genealogical research. She lives in Pilot Hill, California.
Visit her at her website, JenniWiltz.com.
About the Book:
Honor student Emma knows more about galvanic cell diagrams than guns. College is the only way out of her gang-ridden hometown, but her parents can’t afford it.
When her unemployed dad lands a job as a census taker, things start looking up. But he’s sent deep into East Malo Verde, where gang members rule the streets and fear anyone with a badge who knocks on doors. One night, a gang member mistakes him for a cop and beats him savagely, leaving him for dead.
Her best friends, her mom, and the detective assigned to the case try to convince her to focus on school. But school won’t prepare her for a world that ignores a crime against a good man. Emma must decide what’s more important: doing what’s expected, or doing what she feels is right, even if it leads her down a dark and dangerous path of revenge. Even if it plunges her into the heart of the gang violence threatening to tear her family apart. (356pp, ISBN #9781942348009)
See other posts this week from the author and about the book:
And don’t forget about your chance to win this book plus two more from this author in a bundle. There will be two winners of the bundle and this book will be an autographed copy. Unfortunately its U.S. mailing addresses only, sorry.