Paint My Body Red
Release Date: 11/02/15
Summary from Goodreads:
They think I'll be number seven. Unlucky number seven.
Dead teenager number seven. With the rash of suicides at my school, I've been shipped off to my dad's Wyoming ranch for “my own safety.” My mom worries I'll be next—another depressed teenager whose blood will end up on the train tracks. But she doesn't know my secrets...or what I did.
Everything has changed at the ranch since I was there last. The staff is gone, and there aren’t any visitors. The place is struggling, and ALS is destroying my dad. The one bright spot in this mess is his new—and only—ranch hand, Jake. He’s gorgeous, cheerful, healthy and sane. Shadows don't haunt his eyes and eat away at him in the night.
But the ranch and Jake can't save me from the darkness inside, or the knowledge of what I've done. This time, it's up to me to save myself...
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Blood as Family in Paint My Body Red
Paint My Body Red is about a lot of things. It’s about death and terror. It’s about grief and bravery. It’s about love…but really, in the end, it’s about family. And what makes a family.
Blood is a big theme in the book. It’s in the Crazy Horse quote in the beginning; it’s on the cover, and it’s mentioned in every chapter (I’m not 100% sure on this. I actually haven’t gone through and checked, but I’d venture to guess.) But what just dawned on me, seriously, just now, is the deeper meaning of blood in this book. The family meaning.
I was asked to cast the perfect actors and actresses for a potential Paint My Body Red film (from this post to Hollywood’s ears!), and I commented that Anna was the heart and rock of the 8 Hands Ranch, even though she’s not blood related to anyone there. See, Jake lost his dad early on in life, and has since seen Gus Mason, Paige’s ailing father and patriarch of 8 Hands Ranch, as a father figure. Gus, in turn, took little Jake under his protective wing years before. Jake’s mother fell to alcoholism and isn’t in the picture much, so Jake had to grow up way before his time. He’s physically young, but an old soul. He’s seen a lot.
Anna is also a mother figure of sorts to Jake. She cooks, cleans, and tends to the ranch. At first, Paige has no idea who she is. She asks over and over, “Who IS Anna?,” but no one tells her. Anna, it turns out, has a much greater stake in 8 Hands Ranch than Paige initially realizes. She’s part owner of the ranch and Gus’ long term partner. They don’t mention anything about a wedding or engagement. It’s just understand Anna and Gus are together. They are a team. It’s unspoken much like Jake and Paige’s relationship almost as soon as Paige arrives tattered and way-to-thin and depressed from her struggles in California.
The only people on the ranch who are truly “blood” relatives are Paige and Gus. Father and Daughter, but long estranged from each other. As challenges bring each of the members of 8 Hands Ranch together, they rebuild a family. From broken pieces of scattered glass, they make a life. They might not all be true blood, but they are family.
About the Author
Heidi Kling writes fantasy novels set in a contemporary world and contemporary novels about girls in fantastic situations. The bestselling Spellspinners series (Coliloquy/Vook), is 9-book series leading with Witch's Brew. The Gleaning, Devil's Frost and Beautiful Monster are out now with more adventures to follow. Her debut contemporary, Sea (Penguin), was an IndieNext Pick, Northern California Book of the Year nominee, Gateway Reader’s Award choice and Scholastic Readers Pick. Her forthcoming contemporary novel, Paint My Body Red, launches with Entangled Teen Fall, 2015.
Told in dual narratives, several more installments are planned in this "Romeo and Juliet with magic" series readers compare to stories by LJ Smith, Cassandra Clare and Melissa de la Cruz.
After earning her MFA in Writing for Children from the New School, she returned to her native California. She lives with her husband, two children and the cutest accidental puppy mix ever, Sailor Lily, just over the coastal mountains from the sea.
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