Bleeding Violet

I read Bleeding Violet, by Dia Reeves last night. If you like Gail Giles, Buffy the Vampire Slayer  and Eternal, you’ll probably like this book.
Hanna’s father really loved her. But he died a year ago. Her aunt wants to have her committed and her mother, whom she hasn’t seen since she was a tiny infant, doesn’t want her. She doesn’t do herself any favors by whacking her aunt upside the head with a rolling pin and hitchhiking to the fictional East Texas town of Portero, where her mom, Rosalee, lives. At least she packed her meds. Hanna, who only wears purple clothes she makes herself, has bipolar disorder (she prefers the term “manic depressive”) and is prone to hallucinations and having conversations with people who may or may not be there. And then it really gets weird. Portero is riddled with dimensional doorways and sometimes things, nasty, horrible things slip in through the doors. The Mortmaine (they wear green, like Celtic fay) are Portero’s warrior class who must frequently swoop in to rescue the hapless citizens. Wyatt Ortiga is a Mortmaine initiate who sporadically attends high school, when he isn’t training or rescuing, and he is a major blip on Hanna’s radar from the moment she lays eyes on him. Does Hanna’s dysfunctionality doom the romance from the start, or does she find a soulmate?
This book is gritty and authentic. It is tragic and hilarious. Complex, deeply flawed characters in a surreal setting make this a compelling read (I read all 454 pages in one night). There are some very weighty issues – mental illness, suicide, abuse, sex and death in this story, but the novel isn’t about them – they are context. It is about finding one’s place in the world and redemption. It is about using innate talents and abilities (which may be disguised as disabilities) to do the right thing and save the world (or at least the little town of Portero). It is about embracing your inner Freak.