Sones, Sonya. Saving Red. New York: HarperTeen, 2016. Print.
image from: https://www.fantasticfiction.com/s/sonya-sones/saving-red.htm
"Right before winter break, fourteen-year-old Molly Rosenberg reluctantly volunteers to participate in Santa Monica's annual homeless count, just to get her school's community service requirement out of the way. But when she ends up meeting Red, a spirited homeless girl only a few years older than she is, Molly makes it her mission to reunite her with her family in time for Christmas. This turns out to be extremely difficult - because Red refuses to talk about her past. There are things Molly won't talk about either. Like the awful thing that happened last winter. She may never be ready to talk about that. Not to Red, or to Cristo, the soulful boy she meets while riding the Ferris wheel one afternoon.
When Molly realizes that the friends who Red keeps mentioning are nothing more than voices inside Red's head, she becomes even more concerned about her well-being. How will Molly keep her safe until she can figure out a way to get Red home? In Sonya Sones's latest novel, two girls, with much more in common than they realize, give each other a new perspective on the meaning of family, friendship, and forgiveness."
I read this at the beach. It is a novel in verse, so it was a quick read, even though it looks like a thick book and is 432 pages in length. I was reading this at the same time listening to Every Last Word which was curious because the stories blended together in my head a little. I think the first connection is that "Red" has mental illness.
Molly is doing her required community service when she first sees Red. Molly's curiosity and personal family history propel her to seek Red out and try to help. I don't want to give too much away, but I will say Molly's brother Noah is always on Molly's mind. Little hints are dropped through the verse that Noah has disappeared or died. As a reader, I wasn't sure until more of the story is told.
Molly meets Christo--a very generous, rich boy who helps Molly and her "Saving Red" mission. I wasn't sure why Sones introduced this "mysterious" boy only to have him leave on a trip. I think Christo's help could have been accomplished in other ways.
I liked the Free Day idea--the girls go around town looking for freebies (food, haircuts, etc) and they even find a Little Free Library where Red gets I'll Give You the Sun--a book currently on my audiobooks pile!
This book officially releases in October, and I will be buying it for the school's library. It's great to have a few books read before the students, and this is one I'll recommend.