on January 20, 2015
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Death - Afterlife - Amnesia - Friendships - Love...
Six friends agreed to play a game.
They all chose to die before they turned 30, but they don't remember why.
They planned the game before they were born.
The Home Series Book 3 - Rhapsody in Red
A child inherits a world already defined by their elders, and after battling ridicule for years, Joanie hid behind a comedic facade to finally win friends. Now her unraveling world threatens exposure and heartache. Longing to break free from the stifling secretive darkness, she has to play the rebel’s game in order to win at love. But can cheating really lead to the happily ever after she wants?
We’re given only one life. One chance to get it right. What if you don’t like the cards you were dealt? What if you’re born into a life that has predefined structures that you’re not aware of? What if because of that you hide behind a made up image in order to protect yourself? Have you ever been bullied or teased? How did you react? What do you do to protect yourself? Unfortunately for many kids who are bullied their home life isn’t that much better. What does a kid who’s raised in a tumultuous environment filled with negativity, self loathing, ridicule, look like?
In the third installment of the Home series, Stephanie Andrassy addresses all those things. Rhapsody in Red is Joanie’s story. Joanie whom you’ve all met already in the first two books, you probably remember her as the fun red haired beauty. The life of the party, she comes across as witty, fun, beautiful. And she is indeed all those things…on the other side. At Home Joanie is everything she wasn’t in “real” life. Oh she’s still funny and she still has the same personality, but at Home she’s thinner and she just can’t shake her old self. The girl who hides behind comedy. This girl who still sees fat when she looks in the mirror.
I connected with Joanie in a way that I haven’t in any of Stephanie’s other books. Joanie is in my open the most complex character in the Home series. She’s a direct result of her environment. Her parents sheltered her, treated her differently, coddled her with food, and did nothing to help her cope. At school she’s teased, bullied, even shunned. It’s not until she’s a bit older that she develops her own way of coping, humor. The humor though doesn’t cover up what she sees in herself. There’s self doubt, self loathing, no self confidence. No one really knows Joanie, no one could possibly love Joanie. Joanie sees herself as less than. Only at Home she has friends, and even male suitors who all seem to love her. But how can they love someone who doesn’t even know who she really is?
How far would you go to understand the why’s and why nots? Why did her parents ply with her food as a child to reward or soothe? Why didn’t anyone help her? What secrets are being kept? Who is Joanie really? Stephanie takes us on a beautiful journey of learning to love yourself. She makes us all dig deep in order to understand not only Joanie’s story but maybe even a little about ourselves. Stephanie’s writing is like no other I’ve come across. Her descriptive prose transports you immediately to another place and time. I always feel like I’m in my own little cocoon when reading her books. Whether we’re in an apartment or cafe, a city or prison, Boston or Italy, you will feel like you’re right there. Reading her books are like my homecoming, this is where my friends are, where everything is safe and right.
Rhapsody in Red is some of Stephanie Andrassy’s best writing. As her beta reader, I truly see her growth in not only her characters but her writing. We’re not done with the Home series and I’m so excited to read more about this group of friends.
*A copy of this book was kindly provided by the author in exchange for an honest review*