YA Book Review

Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright

“Once upon a time there was a girl, and there was a wolf.” (Cartwright).

Red Riding Hood will take you on an enchanting journey in to a village haunted by a wolf. It is full of danger, passion, and betrayal. This retelling will feel like the true story of Little Red Riding Hood. It is both a lighthearted and Gothic faerie tale.

The Plot: Valerie and her sister, Lucie, have grown up knowing that, once a month, a sacrifice must be made to the wolf to keep the village safe. By Valerie’s 17th year she is used to the tradition and pays it no more attention, until her dear sister is found slaughtered by the wolf. Chaos ensues in the village as suspicions rise. Who is the wolf? Is it Valerie’s child hood friend, Peter, who returned to the village after 10 years? Is it grandmother? Whomever the wolf’s human form is, it can talk to Valerie, and it wants to take her with it.

I have read the negative reviews for this book and I have to say that I disagree with them. I loved this tale. Yes, it is predicable, and yes, if you have seen the movie you don’t need to read the book. But Red Riding Hood is an enchanting faerie tale, and faerie tales are meant to be whimsical and subjective. This retelling feels like it is the real tale of Little Red and the Wolf. It has a great story, well written characters, and magical and horrific details that add depth to the tale.

I loved the character of Valerie. Valerie is meant to be our Little Red and she is perfect. She is strong and caring, and knows that she is not your “typical girl”. She fights for what she believes in and stays true to her heart.

“Even at age seven, she knew that, somehow, she was different from the other villagers.” (Cartwright, p.3).

Henry is our beloved “good-hearted” character of the tale. He is soft spoken, kind, and caring. He is brave, but timid all at once. He is handsome and rich, and sought after by all the girls in the village.

“He was lanky and dashing, with cropped hair and a relaxed smile.” (Cartwright, p. 30).

Peter is the intriguing, dark, mystery man of the book. He has a gloomy past and has a strong connection to Valerie, even after years of being away from the village. He is brooding and handsome, and lends a sense of doubt to Valerie and the story.

“He looked wild and haunted, wearing all black, like a horse that could not be tamed.” (Cartwight, p. 39).

Yes, this one has a bit of a love triangle, and it is mildly predictable, but it is also full of twists. It is a magnificent, otherworldly retelling of a classic, beloved faerie tale. For those who have not seen the movie, I will always recommend this for a quick, whimsical read. For those who have, it is still a recommended read for those who enjoy faerie tales.

“And yet, she could feel something behind her, approaching.” (Cartwright, p. 328).



18 thoughts on “Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright

      1. Yes, I read the book before watching the movie, and I wasn’t disappointed with the movie’s adaptation, which can of course so often be the case. They really complement each other well, both the same storyline but worth the time for both still.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, in most cases I feel it can be more in line with the book. However it does make sense in some cases that with the much shorter time constraints sometimes stuff has to be changed to have it still make sense with certain stuff pulled.

        And then there was one exception I found to the whole thing – Maze Runner – they changed the plot in some ways to make it better, and I actually like how it works in the movie, makes more sense and is more believable to me.

        But I definitely agree that in most cases I’d like movies to follow the books a little more closely.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yeah, I agree. It makes sense to have to shorten or change stuff. I feel like as long as the movie keeps the characteristics and personalities close I’m good. And, as long as the plot seems like something that could have been written in the books I’m good too.

        This is why I could not get in to the Shadowhunters show because I felt like the story line and characters were off compared to how they felt in the books, and even the movie.


      4. I have seen a lot of people lately say that about the books. I read all except the last one about 4 years ago, so I am planning on re-reading the series to see if I still feel the same.

        But, the show for me completely changed the story plot and the character personalities.


      5. Interesting, yeah, I don’t like shows the change the plot and personalities. Except I heard Vampire Diaries TV show is way different from the books, but I haven’t read the books and I love the TV show so I’m staying away from the books so I don’t get frustrated lol.

        Liked by 1 person

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