Elana K. Arnold's (Damsel; The Question of Miracles) Red Hood is a literary and emotionally complex novel centered on gender dynamics and power.
When "once upon a time" begins, Bisou is 16 and is on her way to a dance with her kind, handsome boyfriend, James. When the dance is done, Bisou and James eagerly slip off to his car where James, for the first time, pleasures her--and Bisou, for the first time, gets her period. "You have a long relationship with blood," the narrator states, "but not your own." Mortified, Bisou runs into the woods where she is confronted by a wolf. Instinct takes over and she kills him. The next morning, Bisou learns that one of her male classmates was found dead in the woods, his wounds identical to those she inflicted on the wolf.
Told almost entirely in spectacularly effective second-person, Red Hood doesn't simply invite readers in, it makes them the protagonist: "you are both a girl and not a girl. You are a hunter, and this wolf, though he thinks he is the predator, is your prey." Occasional first-person sections reinforce the mood and theme of the work--"who's afraid of the big bad wolf/ i am afraid/ of everything"--and add an additional layer of mystery to Bisou's startling legacy. Alongside the painful and traumatic, Red Hood also discusses periods, sex and desire with a candor and directness that can potentially do for contemporary readers what Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret has done for readers since 1970. Deeply and darkly enticing, Red Hood isn't a modern retelling so much as it is the story we should have had all along. --Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness