Erica Chilson's Reviews > Paint My Body Red

Paint My Body Red by Heidi R. Kling
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I received a copy of this title to read and review for Wicked Reads

5 Stars

Suggested Young Adult age-range: mature 14 - 16 due to dark content, suicide, grief/mourning, and sexual content. More told than shown, but that didn't dampen the impact of the moral. Parents, gauge your child's maturity level, but I do believe it's an appropriate and necessary read to broaden all minds.

Genre: Young adult | Coming of Age | High School Graduate transitioning to college | Dark subject matter | Slight mystery/suspense feel | Realistic Romance | More heart-warming than heart-breaking |

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I wasn't sure what to expect when I began Paint My Body Red. I enjoyed the storyline- the location. Going against the norm, a girl who was born in Wyoming, raised in California, returns to her roots for a few months before she ventures to college on the East coast. Paige says goodbye to the demons of her past while giving her final goodbyes to her father, all the while reconnecting with the land and finding love where she least expected it.

My emotions ran the gamut from smiling to bawling my eyes out, and then back again in a roller coaster ride of emotions. I don't wish to ruin it by giving a play-by-play. But I will say there was no insta-love, no cheesy eye-roll-worthy teenage girl obsessed with boys inner monologue. No overplayed and overused tropes of jealousy and miscommunications to take the place of real storytelling. Fluid, the book flowed as reality.

Paige: a strong female lead. A good role model. Neither whiny nor perfect. Flaws forged the character into someone who acted and reacted most certainly human. As an eighteen-year-old, Paige doesn't fall into the trap of being bossy/TSTL/know-it-all/helpless yet does-it-all. Anti-cliche. The girl was a well-rounded character with traits that followed human nature.

Adult readers may find Paige's earlier actions hard to swallow, but one must remember what it felt like to be newly 18. In my 30s, I'm just now able to recognize things I would have been too blind to see in my late teens. Be empathetic while reading this very tough subject matter.

The parents were flawed as well- all the side characters were, but not overtly so. Even those who could have been vilified were painted with an empathetic brush. There was no right or wrong, only consequences and life lessons worth learning.

My only partial negative, I had difficulty engaging with the book in the beginning. Not the Now sections. Then was difficult for me to grasp at first. The flow was a bit jarring, the Now | Then | Now | Then in short bursts, sometimes only a half a page in a time-frame. I was never confused as to what was happening when. But by the middle of the story, the flow eventually evened out and became fluid.


I enjoyed Heidi R. Kling's voice, storytelling, even with the dark subject matter. I'd recommend it to those who need a highly emotional read, but be forewarned to keep the tissues handy. Anyone who needs a warm, cuddly read, please come back when you're emotionally ready.

Would I read more by this author? I intend to see what other stories Kling has written.
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Reading Progress

November 4, 2015 – Shelved
November 4, 2015 – Shelved as: 5-star
November 4, 2015 – Shelved as: abuse
November 4, 2015 – Shelved as: alpha-male
November 4, 2015 – Shelved as: angst
November 4, 2015 – Shelved as: coming-of-age
November 4, 2015 – Shelved as: college-student
November 4, 2015 – Shelved as: contemporary-romance
November 4, 2015 – Shelved as: cowboys
November 4, 2015 – Shelved as: dark
November 4, 2015 – Shelved as: disabilities
November 4, 2015 – Shelved as: digital
November 4, 2015 – Shelved as: grief
November 4, 2015 – Shelved as: bawled-until-dehydrated
November 4, 2015 – Shelved as: illness
November 4, 2015 – Shelved as: incest
November 4, 2015 – Shelved as: kindle
November 4, 2015 – Shelved as: mental-illness
November 4, 2015 – Shelved as: mystery-suspense
November 4, 2015 – Shelved as: romance
November 4, 2015 – Shelved as: suicide
November 4, 2015 – Shelved as: the-feels
November 4, 2015 – Shelved as: wickedreads
November 5, 2015 – Started Reading
November 5, 2015 – Finished Reading

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