A Novel

By Annie Cardi (Author)


Pub Date 12/31/2024

ISBN 9781454951315

Format Paperback


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A Christian girl is stigmatized by her peers after seeking an abortion in this modern retelling of The Scarlet Letter for the #MeToo era.  
Moving to Hawthorne was something Tess and her mom never anticipated, but after Tess’s mom loses her job, it’s their only option. Tess’s grandparents welcome them into their home, on the condition that Tess and her mom attend church, something Mom isn’t too pleased about. But Tess enjoys the church community, finding a place in youth group and the church choir. Faith fills a void Tess didn’t know she had.
After a very personal decision goes public, Tess faces daily harassment and rejection by her former friends, and singing in the church choir is no longer an option. When she meets some kids in the music room, her only place of solace in the school, she finds they don't judge her for what's happened, and she learns to find her voice again. Against the backdrop of the Spirit Light Festival, Tess will need to find the strength to speak out if she is to have any chance of ending a silent cycle of abuse in Hawthorne. 
Perfect for fans of YA books like Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson, or Exit, Pursued by a Bear, by E. K. Johnston, Red is a timely and relevant young adult novel about finding your voice and rising above shame. Anyone looking for teen girl books that explore the complex themes of reproductive rights, religious hypocrisy, and overcoming adversity will appreciate this story of judgment and redemption. 
"Keenly felt and achingly timely, Red is a must-read for anyone who has ever struggled to sing out."
—Katie Cotugno, New York Times bestselling author of 99 Days

“Annie Cardi crafts a deft explanation of faith, friendship, and the many ways we can show grace to one another.” Paste Magazine

“[A]n empowering modern take on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter that thoughtfully and with a gentle hand explores faith, abortion, and sexual assault . . . . Profoundly relevant and carefully handled, this emotional retelling of a classic novel includes the original’s depiction of shame and power of community while deftly incorporating discussions about grooming and finding self-worth. These heavier topics are expertly balanced with moments of joy . . . . Cardi delivers an impactful message through a heartrending, encouraging story.”Shelf Awareness

"Annie Cardi’s beautifully written story about reproduction rights is a multilayered read that speaks of religious hypocrisy while also exploring how a teen can rise above tragedy to become new and magnificent. I devoured it in one sitting."
––Sharon Biggs Waller, author of Girls on the Verge

“Cardi’s reinterpretation of The Scarlet Letter handles Tess and Alden’s relationship with nuance and compassion . . . . Secondary characters are given depth as well; neither her friends nor grandparents are depicted as merely reactionary zealots, but rather people with deeply held beliefs that are then upended by their love for Tess. Paired with All the Fighting Parts, this makes an excellent exploration of the power wielded by abusive religious leaders and how girls are too often taken with them when they fall from grace.”
––Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“[A] timely story. No doubt Red will end up being one of the most talked-about books in 2024.” 

"A heartfelt tale of an ostracized teen who finds caring people and a way through trauma."
––Kirkus Reviews

“This modern remix of The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne takes on the misogyny, abuse, and hypocrisy that can take place in some strict religious circles. Although Tess endures being slut-shamed, vilified, and repeatedly maligned, she digs deep—determined to keep moving forward . . . . Readers will feel gratified as Tess gradually finds ways to speak up about multiple misdeeds perpetrated against her. An encouraging view of finding ways to connect and climb again ­post-trauma. Purchase this retelling.”
––School Library Journal

“Tess’s thoughtfully wrought spirituality evolves alongside her emotional growth, culminating in a resolution that showcases the impact of community, and how their genuine support works to affirm, empower, and offer hope for sexual violence survivors.”
––Publishers Weekly

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Annie Cardi is the author of The Chance You Won’t Return, which received starred reviews from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly and was named a Bank Street College of Education Best Book of the Year for 2015. She has an MFA from Emerson College, and she currently lives with her family and dog in the Boston area. 


Title Details

Pages 256 pages

Trim 5.5 x 8.25 x 0 Inches

Territories World

Category Young Adult

Age Range 14 to 18