In a town where being a redhead is everything, a teen struggles with her identity.
In the book’s unsubtle analogy to the theme of racial inequality, Scarletville’s residents profess no prejudice toward those not redheaded, but reality proves otherwise. No dissident, Felicity’s mother has spent years prepping her daughter to win the popular Miss Scarlet pageant, but she’s also been secretly having Felicity’s below-par strawberry locks dyed just the right copper red. Felicity has performed well and won many pageants to please her superficial mother, but her mother’s discouraging attitude toward Felicity’s pursuit of studio art causes growing resentment. Though she has remained with her hunky, superficial boyfriend, Felicity is attracted to Jonathan, a talented art student and a staunch supporter of rights for blonds and brunettes, as well as redheads. The real trouble starts when Felicity’s dye job is discovered. Felicity’s efforts in support of hair-color equality begin only when her own rights have been trampled—they are more self-serving than altruistic. There’s not a lot of rich nor particularly original description here, and many analogies are stretched farther than a jumbo-sized hair elastic. Though the ending isn’t predictable, it isn’t satisfying enough to justify this long journey. And it’s hard to get past the laughable premise; if this were a futuristic novel in which oppression was the law or even if it were simply exaggerated more for effect, it would be easier to buy.
Not satiric enough to succeed in its evident aim. (Fiction. 12 & up)