Friday, April 29, 2011

Book Recommendation: Bleeding Violet

My latest stack of library books was a random assortment of titles that had been on my tbr list for a while and all happened to be available at the same time. Included in that stack was Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves, which I had seen mentioned a few times in various places but didn't know much about. The blurb didn't particularly grab me, so I was surprised—in a good way—when the book turned out to be something different from the usual urban fantasy.

Bleeding Violet is a quirky book, a bit off center from normal. It's about a girl named Hanna, who wears only purple and whose flavor-of-the-month mental diagnosis is manic-depression. She hallucinates, she's occasionally violent, and she's the most emotionally needy main character I've ever read. But the funny thing is, she's one of the most enjoyable characters I've ever read, too. Despite the above, she comes across as sane, sweet and self-confident.

On the surface the plot sounds pretty typical: outcast girl moves to a new town where she doesn't fit in until crazy things start happening and she turns out to be just what the town needed. But that's just the framework. Even if you've read that story line a hundred times, you've never read anything like this book.

For one thing, the town of Portero isn't normal. It's got monsters and mayhem, and strangers usually don't survive past the first few weeks. Whereas in most towns ordinary is good and freak is bad, in Portero freak is average and ordinary gets you killed.

Fortunately Hanna's used to weird. She's grown so accustomed to her hallucinations that at first she doesn't even realize there's something different about Portero. And when she does, she's still determined to stay. Her only desire in life is to make her mother love her, and if that means becoming the baddest monster-hunter in town to impress the woman, then that's what she'll do. (Her mother, incidentally, is her own brand of crazy, and just as interesting.)

The secondary characters were excellent as well. I would highly recommend this book as a study on “characters that work.” While the plot was fun, the relationships and flawed personalities were really what kept me turning pages. Brilliantly handled, with a satisfying ending. I really enjoyed this book.

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