As Red As Blood by Salla Simukka, translated from the Finnish by Owen F. Witesman
Review by Lauren
source: copy from publisher/Netgalley; all opinions are my own
Official Summary: 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.
Review: Lumikki Andersson is a tough teenager, living in a Finish apartment on her own instead of with her family. She does this because she doesn’t mind being alone, but also because she’s attending a top school that allows her to escape from her rough earlier schooling. I loved the character of Lumikki because she’s smart and physically capable of taking care of herself. She has closed herself off from people, but not in a way that means people don’t like her. She’s just there, in a sense. That is until she finds thousands of Euros hanging to dry in the school’s darkroom one morning and she realizes that they have been washed of blood.
This leads Lumikki to being entangled in the mystery of this money, unable to walk away because she genuinely feels bad for one of the people involved. She understands their fear, so she does what she can to help. First off, they have to figure out if the money was meant for this group or not. And if it was, why?
This was a relatively short book, but it’s very much a full story. It moves at a quick pace. You get to know the various characters/players involved quite well. I liked that you could see some of their perspectives, instead of only following Lumikki, though she is definitely the central point of this story. While this book is for young adult readers, I would like to note that it could easily be read by adults. Nothing is too overly gratuitous, but there is talk of sex, death, violence, and of course, blood. It’s definitely more of a mature YA read.
Lumikki is no Snow White, but she’s not above playing her to get the information she needs.
I’m definitely ready for the next two books in this wonderful translated trilogy from Finland!
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