Sonya Sones made me cry today. Her new book, Saving Red, is a beautiful glimpse into the life of a struggling young girl whose encounter with a homeless girl changes much about her perspectives.
Molly has a secret. It’s not one she wants to tell anyone, but it is the reason she has an emotional support dog, Pixel, and also why Pixel is her only friend. Her mother is continually stoned, and her father is a workaholic. As part of a community service requirement, Molly helps with her city’s homeless count one fateful evening, and that’s where she first encounters Red, a woman not too much older than she is who sparks a need in Molly to take care of her. In fact, since she can’t save her own family, Molly makes it her mission to reunite Red with her family in time for Christmas.
While on this mission, Molly also meets a young man named Cristo. They are randomly seated together on the Ferris wheel and they are immediately attracted to each other. Molly has one “date” with Cristo before he goes away with his family to New York for a vacation. Cristo is on board with “Operation Red,” and tries to help Molly from afar.
There is so much to love about Saving Red. Sonya Sones has a gift with books in verse, and this one is no exception. The carefully crafted poems that weave this story lead the reader from one plot point to another. I could not put the book down. The characters are so deeply constructed that they feel like people in life, not just on the page. And when I reached the end (no spoilers, I promise!), which was INCREDIBLY satisfying, the tears sprang from my eyes.
Sonya Sones is far and away my favorite verse novelist, and Saving Red does not disappoint. I highly recommend this book.