Thursday, September 15, 2011

Review: Bleeding Violet

Title: Bleeding Violet
Dia Reeves
Simon Pulse
Release Date:
January 5, 2010

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.

Bleeding Violet is dark, surprising, and wholly unique. The first few chapters merely hint at the weirdness to come, which includes flying leech monsters, hallucinations, a strange romance, and plenty of inexplicable craziness.

Sensitive and volatile, Hanna is a main character that defies stereotypes and simple categorizations. She is stubborn, unapologetically promiscuous, and at times morbidly whimsical, yet her naivety is somehow convincing as she navigates the complicated paranormal politics of Portero, Texas, the place she is determined to make her new home. Her simplistic, often childish yearning to be loved by her mother grounds her sometimes too-intense personality and endears Hanna to the reader even when her actions are clearly ill-fated.

In terms of pacing, Bleeding Violet is driven by Hanna’s manic-depressive mental fluctuations: when she’s at her most agitated, the book speeds by with surprising alacrity, only to slow to a more comfortable pace as Hanna calms down. The violence, sexual themes, and general craziness of Bleeding Violet are more intense than most YA books, but Dia Reeves manages to blend these elements in a way that is disturbingly fascinating, if often discomfiting. This is reflected in the paranormal setting, which entrenches the reader in a vague, brutal town with even more callous residents. At times, it’s difficult to connect with the characters simply because their decisions and lives are so far outside the realm of normal rationale.

Despite this, Bleeding Violet is refreshingly unique, with its gritty lack of realism and darkly lush setting – the perfect background for Hanna’s mentally unstable but ultimately charming perspective.

Rating: 3.5/5