Monday, January 23, 2017

AS RED AS BLOOD by Salla Simukka

YA in the Alleyway is my meme to give young adult literature the spotlight it deserves. It also gives YA authors the opportunity to share their signature with the world! 

Here's is a very special feature. 

by Salla Simukka

Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: January 17, 2017 (1st published 2013)
Pages: 256

I'd like to thank the publisher for supplying me with an eARC in exchange for an unbiased review.

Description: Lumikki Andersson has made it a rule to stay out of things that do not involve her. She knows all too well that trouble comes to those who stick their nose where it doesn’t belong. But Lumikki’s rule is put to the test when she uncovers thousands of washed Euro notes hung to dry in her school’s darkroom and three of her classmates with blood on their hands. Literally.

A web of lies and deception now has Lumikki on the run from those determined to get the money back—no matter the cost. At the center of the chaos: Polar Bear, the mythical drug lord who has managed to remain anonymous despite hosting lavish parties and having a notorious reputation. If Lumikki hopes to make it out alive, she’ll have to uncover the entire operation.

Even the cold Finnish winter can’t hide a culprit determined to stain the streets red.


My Splat: Daring and evocative, Simukka has weaved together an intoxicating tale of corruption, family lies, and one girl who's strong enough to be true to herself.

Without a doubt, the author's voice is what struck me first. Commanding and raw with a flair of grunge, it threads through the first few scenes knitting the start of a complex tapestry that splinters in all directions. The opening was not what I expected when I was asked to read. The scene seemed to come out of nowhere and I couldn't figure out how it would fit into the blurb of story world. No worries. It does. I literally couldn't put this book down.

This story blooms through the everyday life of Lumikki Andersson and her subtle childhood connection to Snow White. Yes, the Snow White. Trust me, it's not what you think. Mentioning this detail doesn't give anything away other than to put on display a brilliant tactic the author uses to share her female lead with her audience. This tidbit also reveals an unfortunate plight many high school aged kids go through - the exact tidbit I'll keep secret so you can find out when you read it. The world building is solid, painting a vivid picture of a frigid Finland and Lumikki's what, where, and with whom. One fact I found interesting is that, regardless of being in her final year of high school, she lives alone in her own apartment and pretty much takes care of herself. Her parents are around. She actually has somewhat of a solid relationship with them, though there's this underlining tension she feels from them.   

Lumikki is a strong teen, a female individualistic with a nonchalant attitude. Wise beyond her years, she's what I'd call 'street smart' and she cares about things on her terms. Yet, beneath her survival exterior wafts a soft layer of emotions that she shares with very few; at the tale's onset - with no one. Why would she? In her mind it's senseless to invest herself in things or people that will soon change.  

A brokenness that I couldn't put my finger on shadows this female lead throughout most of the book. Hints were cleverly sprinkled around the main conflict and the world building, slowly building to expose Lumikki's inner feelings. 

Most notably is the structuring of this tale. Initially, the writing style tripped me up. It felt choppy, like thoughts left unfinished, but made me stop to think. To think, not to reread what was written. As jumbled as events might seem read individually they are that much rightly placed with considered collectively - here lies the rhyme to the author's reason. This method of scattering character and story details was effective and told me more about the world Lumikki lived in without saying a word. It was brilliant and intoxicating. Adding to this, the sentences aren't lyrically or poetically weaved together, but spoken plainly and boldly - just like Lumikki. 

I would recommend this book to young adults to adults, suspense and thriller admirers, and anyone with a love for edge like found in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.   
This is just a little side note. I'm normally not a huge fan of fantastic book stories adapted to film, but in this case I have to tell you that I'm thrilled this is being made into a movie. It has the right rawness with underlining feels that will attract a large demographic and audience. I think it will do amazingly well. 

What are your thoughts on books doppelganging to film?  


  1. I love a good suspense and the fact that it is set in Finland is intriguing in itself. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Sheri.

  2. That's an intense situation for a teen. Hope they do the book justice with the movie.

  3. Books turning into movies aren't necessarily a good thing. Although, I enjoyed reading the book and watching the movie Shudder Island.

  4. Sounds like an interesting story. Lovely cover. Some movies taken from books turn out good. I hope this one does.


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