Rated Reads

Bleeding Violet

by Dia Reeves

Rated: High

Hanna Jarvinen has just hit her Aunt Ulla over the head with a rolling pin and hitchhiked 100 miles so she can find the mother she hasn’t seen since she was a baby. Oh, yeah — and so she can avoid being put into a mental institution. She’s been diagnosed with a variety of ailments over the years but has most recently been labeled as bipolar. She does OK if she takes her medications, which she doesn’t always do. She hallucinates sometimes, and she can hear her deceased father talking to her when she doesn’t take the medicines.

In the little town of Portero, Hanna finds a woman who is stunningly beautiful but doesn’t seem to have a lot of other redeeming qualities, maternal instincts among them. Rosalee pushes her daughter away and finally only allows her to stay for two weeks, a period that can be extended indefinitely if she can make friends and fit in. Piece of cake, Hanna thinks, until she sees the weird things going on at the school.

And things only get weirder the longer Hanna stays in Portero. It’s a strange place indeed, and she feels almost normal in comparison. She has to dig deep to figure out not only how to connect to her mother, but how to save her.

Bleeding Violet is an interesting book, full of gory supernatural happenings and, well, trippy imagery. It’s not for the faint of heart. But for those who like quirky, this novel should more than satisfy.

Rated: High, for more than a dozen uses of strong language, other mild and moderate language, and sex and violence. The main character is a 16-year-old who has sex quite casually and does so several times throughout the book. Violence includes some deaths and a fair amount of blood, as well as references to a rape. What’s most disturbing about the sex and gore in the book is its casualness; it’s taken quite lightly, as if it doesn’t mean very much. Making matters worse, it’s a book aimed at teens.

— Reviewed by Cathy Carmode Lim

Cathy Carmode Lim has been reviewing books for newspapers for about 20 years, two of which she was a book page editor. She founded Rated Reads in January 2008.

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  • Bleeding Violet
  • by Dia Reeves
  • Rated: High
  • Genre: Young adult
  • Reviewer: