I received this book for free from Entangled Publishing in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Paint My Body Red by Heidi R. Kling
Published by Entangled Publishing on November 2nd 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Source: Entangled Publishing
Buy on: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks
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...
“The world isn’t just black or white. Sometimes it’s red…”
Heidi R. Kling’s Paint My Body Red focuses on some serious subject matter. Paige has had a difficult time lately. There’s been a rash of suicides at her school filled with high achieving high school students. Kids who didn’t get into the “right” college, or were stressed out over taking the SATs. Kids from affluent neighborhoods, with doting parents, popularity, and straight A’s. Kids no one would ever think capable of throwing it all away on the train tracks. After the school and town falls to anxiety over why the suicides are happening, and how to prevent them, Paige’s mother sends her away to Wyoming to spend some quality time with her father with the hope of saving Paige from a similarly tragic fate.
The way the story is told is from Paige perspective as she manages life on her father’s ranch, and struggles to handle his terminal illness. To cope, Paige reflects on what happened to cause her mother to worry about her. She tells her childhood diary, and us, what happened to her, what secrets she’s keeping, and why she wants to run away from her problems. Paige’s story is a bit of a mystery. In the beginning you meet an anorexic teen who’s lost many friends to suicide, but through Paige’s recollections you learn what made her that way.
Kling handles the topic of teen suicide very well. She looks at how suicide affects everyone around the victim, as well as the possible motivations. Never does she vilify any of the people, but does cover the bases over why people may take their lives. Some due it out of lack of hope, some for attention or cry for help, and others because they have the need to be noticed in death the way they weren’t in life. Aside from suicide, Kling also very respectfully covers the topics of terminal illness, divorce, date rape, and eating disorders.
On the happier side of things, in the present day Paige meets and begins to fall for cute cowboy Jake. He’s someone who has been helping her father around the ranch, and helps her recapture her love of the place. The two have a romance that builds slowly, which I appreciated due to the nature of the story. What I loved the most was that Paige never once thought Jake could solve her problems. She knew only she can do that. Nothing makes me sicker than reading a story where a female character thinks a man can save her from mental illness. Kling was not only respectful of her story, but also of people who have suffered similar situations as Paige. I would recommend this book for anyone looking to read a story about people suffering from mental illness in a way that doesn’t vilify them or their disease. I also think this romance was pretty deep, and a great break from the fluffier romances I read over the summer.