'Forever Red' by Margaret Stohl: EW Review
SHIELD agent Natasha Romanoff — otherwise known as The Black Widow — can’t seem to shake her ledger of red, but that’s not going to stop her from saving the world. In the character’s first YA novel, Beautiful Creatures author Margaret Stohl weaves an imaginative tale that blends the beloved redhead’s comic background with a fresh retelling, via the help of “Red Widow” Ana Orlova and her mysterious friend, Alex Mason.
While Natasha’s tactical SHIELD life is balanced out with the adventurous nature of the two teenagers who become caught up in Black Widow’s web, Stohl also touches on the Natasha’s vulnerability, breaking down her stoic façade with flashbacks to the days before she came to SHIELD. From the most lonesome corners of Russia and Istanbul to the familiar terrain of New York and Philadelphia, Stohl explores Natasha’s past, present, and future by bringing readers on a journey that is intricately detailed and thrilling to read. In this world, superhero posters adorn the walls of childhood bedrooms and people like Iron Man are national icons. Natasha’s alter ego is conveniently left out of the idolization, but as Forever Red proves, you don’t have to be popular to be a hero. You just have to be inspiring to the people that think of you as one.