Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Review: A Touch of Scarlet (Unbound #2) Eve Marie Mont

The compelling heroine of Eve Marie Mont’s novel A Breath of Eyre returns to find truth and fiction merging through the pages of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic, The Scarlet Letter…

Emma Townsend is back at prestigious Lockwood Prep, but her world has altered immeasurably since her tumultuous sophomore year. The best change of all: her boyfriend, Gray. And though Gray is leaving for Coast Guard training, Emma feels newly optimistic, even if the pain of her mother’s long-ago death still casts a shadow.
Yet Emma isn’t the only one who’s changed. Her friend and roommate, Michelle, is strangely remote, and old alliances are shifting in disconcerting ways. Soon Emma’s long-distance relationship with Gray is straining under the pressure, and Emma wonders if she’s cracking too. How else to explain the vivid dreams of Hester Prynne she’s been having since she started reading The Scarlet Letter? Or the way she’s found herself waking in the woods? As her life begins to echo events in the novel, Emma will be forced to choose between virtue and love. But can she forge a new future without breaking her heart? Goodreads 

First of all, I love, love, love the concept behind the Unbound series.  Honestly, what is cooler than classic literature literally coming to life to teach modern lessons? I'm just jealous I didn't think of it first.

Before I really dive into the review, I have to say that unlike A Breath of Eyre, A Touch of Scarlet deals heavily with sexual issues. Now, I probably should have seen that coming, considering that it pays tribute to a classic centered around adultery, but I had a dumb moment and I really wasn't expecting it. I was, however, pleasantly surprised with how tactfully, honestly, and maturely the issues were presented.

I'm going to try to do this without giving away as much as possible. The main issue in A Touch of Scarlet is homosexuality. Let me say right off the bat I do not agree with homosexuality. But, I don't agree with adultery either. The main lesson here is that there are very wrong ways to go about disagreeing with a person's choice or standing up for what you believe in. Just like Hester Prynne's scarlet "A", humiliating, shunning, or insulting another person is never the right way to handle a situation.  (steps off soapbox)

I really loved Emma, even more than in the first novel. I can really relate to wanting to make everyone happy, yet having to draw a line somewhere to stay true to yourself. Although I didn't like the casual attitude towards drinking and illegal drugs, I know that is the reality of many teens. I respected Emma's way of dealing with peer pressure, and the way she stayed true to herself in her own relationship issues.

Something else that seemed more apparent in A Touch of Scarlet was the mystical/magical element. From Emma's connection to Gray, to her visions, to Michelle's aunt, it was very obvious that there was more going on than medicine can explain. Anyone who can take classical literature, Haitian Voodoo, and a New England prep school, smash them all together, and make it work has earned my respect.

I'm not 100% sure how I feel about some of the new friendships, but it looks like I'll have more time to make up my mind in the next installment!

Rating: 4/5 stars

YA notes: sexual references, mild language, drug/alcohol use.

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. Expected publication: March 26, 2013

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