Red Velvet Crush
By: Christina Meredith
Available June 2016
Teddy Lee’s mother ran off when she was in second grade. And ever since, Teddy Lee, the often-overshadowed middle kid, has tried to keep her family together. But her older brother Winston usually keeps himself busy with smoking, drinking, and girls, and who knows what else. Her younger sister Billie is occupied with her shoplifting habit and boys . . . and who knows what else. So when Teddy Lee finally takes the songs she’s always written and forms a band, maybe it’ll bring everyone closer together, maybe it’ll be her time to shine. Unless Billie steals the spotlight—and the boy—just like she always does. Christina Meredith explores the complicated relationship of sisters—both the unconditional love and the unavoidable resentments—in a novel full of music, urgency, the first blushes of love, and the undeniable excitement of hitting the road.
This Blonde’s Review:
Teddy Lee is a middle child who is often overshadowed by her troublesome siblings. Her older brother Winston seems to finally be interested in something that isn’t trouble, but he’s pushing her to be in a band. When she decides to give it a try she thinks it’ll finally be something about her until her sister Billie steps in. Their relationship is toxic, anything Teddy Lee has Billie feels entitled to take as well. Teddy Lee won’t stand her ground and their father, who seems to tired to be a parent, wants everything to go easy.
Admittedly this book was disappointing to me. There was so much potential that wasn’t met. Teddy Lee’s life happens to her without much effort on her part. She falls into a band because her brother sets it up. Her sister is wild and irresponsible so Teddy Lee falls into picking up after her and shrugs off the things she does. Of course there’s also a guy, but he seems like an afterthought. He’s there but there really wasn’t much going on with it, he was more of a prop. They fall into a relationship, they fall into sharing a room, and the rest of what happens to them. There wasn’t much character building or connection.
I spent much of the book waiting for the big moment. I expected it to be something with family and for her to make some important decisions and take action. What could have been the big moment seems to have been dealt with using the same avoidance and acceptance techniques that Teddy Lee has used her whole life. It was disappointing to see the other characters make more decisions than Teddy Lee, leading this story to be about the way life happens to a girl and her desire to stay home.
There were baby steps for her growth, when she didn’t immediately forgive her sister for something big. Her sister went on her way without much consequence for her actions, but silence is still a bigger step than Teddy Lee had taken in the past. Taking steps to pursue her own interests and learn more about the things that matter to her at the end could have almost been enough to save the book. It followed Teddy Lee’s personality of doing things under the radar, so it still fit the story, but after so much had happened to her without her involvement in her own life, a whisper wasn’t enough to recover my interest.