Shades of Red

Written by k.c. dyer
Review by Carol Anne Germain

This is the third installment of a time travel trilogy written for young adult readers. In this episode, Darrell returns to Eagle Glen School after a holiday break and rejoins her friends for more back-to-the-past adventures. She is feeling very guilty over the loss of her schoolmate, Conrad, who disappeared during one of the historical trips. Darrell is eager to rescue him and bring him back to the present.

So, with her friends and dog, she ventures into the Inquisition in Portugal and then on to King Henry VIII’s court. During the latter journey, Darrell receives a notebook written by Conrad during his many years trapped in the 1500s. In his notes, Conrad describes the severe violence of the era and states that even after observing such atrocities “that everyone – be they Catholic Christian or heretic, Jew or Moor – everyone bleeds the same shade of red.” Stark reality for teenagers, yet an interesting strategy for introducing diversity and tolerance.

Young readers will appreciate many aspects of Dyer’s novel, such as the interesting way the characters’ clothes and accessories are retrofitted to the respective time period after going through the time tunnel. Darrell’s prosthesis, for example, turns into a bound wooden ankle.