Author: Janie Chodosh
Genre: Young Adult Mystery
Length: 250 Pages
Release: February 2017
I receivevd a copy of this novel from the author. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
In this second installment in the Faith Flores series, Faith continues to use science to solve the mysteries that others have written off. She's observant, eager to learn, and ready to face a challenge.
In Code Red Faith is away from home for an internship when a girl she meets at a party dies of a drug overdose. When Faith gets dragged into the middle of the events, she can't let it go. A newly found relative was also drugged and things have gotten personal, so Faith uses the skills she's learning through her internship to run her own investigation.
This follow-up to Death Spiral is not nearly as dark as that first book, which make parts of it easier to read and more enjoyable. But it also loses some of the intimacy of the first book, since the investigation is not as closely tied to Faith as her mother's death was. Still, the lighter tone helps this one be more accessible to a wider audience of readers.
The family dynamic in this novel, while not quite what I was hoping for, was very interesting. I wanted more Aunt T--the aunt who took Faith in when her mother died--but instead we find out more about Faith's father and the side of the family she knew nothing about. While I thought that some more explanation about Faith's parents would have been nice, it was good to see Faith opening up to a new set of people and learning how to be part of something bigger than just a duo.
Janie Chodosh has done an excellent job of making this series both science centered and understandable. Everything seems plausible and it only requires very basic knowledge of science to follow this aspect of the story. It doesn't get overly technical but it also doesn't completely gloss over everything concerning GMOs and genetically altering plants and what people can do with this. I particularly liked that it gave two views on genetically modified organisms and had Faith feeling conflicted--both sides contained logic and both sides believed their arguments.
There are a few things I was not particularly happy about with this. One of them is Faith herself. A majority of the time she didn't feel like the same character from Death Spiral. I know several months have passed, giving her time to change, but it felt too drastic. She was too open with people, too friendly. It didn't feel like the Faith I came to know in book one.
I was also very disappointed with the romance aspect of the novel. And unfortunately this often overshadowed the parts that I really enjoyed with the mystery and the family aspect. The relationship that Faith develops with Clem didn't feel natural, nor did it feel like something the Faith first introduced would have done. It made complete sense for her to question her relationship with Jesse. But having a second love interest was not a good way to handle these questions. After what happened in book one Faith's seeming lack of connection with Jesse was a big disappointment. And Clem himself didn't ever feel real to me like Jesse always did. He felt like a character on a page; Jesse felt like a person.
I am hoping that more stories with Faith are on the way because I would like to see what direction she takes next. It would be great to see more exploration of relationships introduced in these first two books, particularly those involving Anj, Jesse, Aunt T, and her newly found Flores family.
This is a fun, well researched, nicely paced series and I look forward to more adventures with Faith in the future.
You can find all of the buy links for Death Spiral and Code Red on Janie's website: Janie Chodosh