Suspect Red


By L.M. Elliott

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It’s 1953, and the United States has just executed an American couple convicted of spying for the Soviet Union. Everyone is on edge as the Cold War standoff between communism and democracy leads to the rise of Senator Joe McCarthy and his zealous hunt for people he calls subversives or communist sympathizers. Suspicion, loyalty oaths, blacklists, political profiling, hostility to foreigners, and the assumption of guilt by association divide the nation. Richard and his family believe deeply in American values and love of country, especially since Richard’s father works for the FBI. Yet when a family from Czechoslovakia moves in down the street with a son Richard’s age named Vlad, their bold ideas about art and politics bring everything into question. Richard is quickly drawn to Vlad’s confidence, musical sensibilities, and passion for literature, which Richard shares. But as the nation’s paranoia spirals out of control, Richard longs to prove himself a patriot, and blurred lines between friend and foe could lead to a betrayal that destroys lives. Punctuated with photos, news headlines, ads, and quotes from the era, this suspenseful and relatable novel by award-winning New York Times best-selling author L.M. Elliott breathes new life into a troubling chapter of our history.

  • "A tense, engrossing story that effectively captures the suspicion and paranoia that prevailed during American history's darkest chapters."
    Kirkus Reviews
  • "Elliot does a masterful job of incorporating fictional people into a historical scenario. Even with the heavy historical references and background, the story of Richard and Vlad shines through... Libraries with or without good historical fiction sections will enhance their collection with this selection."
    School Library Connection
  • "Riveting...Elliott's technique and methodology are superbly appropriate."
    The Huffington Post
  • "This historical novel is filled with Richard's naive, offbeat historical setting...Richard's literature-driven ideas...and his rare friendship with Vladimir make his experiences as memorable as they are painful. The book's formatting is integral to its impact. Each chapter begins with red and black graphic art, articles from the era, and primary source photographs. The red pages add to the ominous paranoia presented in the book."
    School Library Journal

    "Elliott does a fabulous job of giving a British perspective to American viewpoints during the war."
    Library Media Connection
  • AccoladesTayshas List 2018, selectionNotable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 2018, selection2018 Grateful American Book Prize, winnerBank Street: Best Books of the Year for Children, 2018, Ages 14 and up list

On Sale
Sep 4, 2017
Page Count
304 pages

L.M. Elliott

About the Author

L. M. Elliott was an award-winning magazine journalist in Washington, DC, before becoming a New York Times bestselling author of historical and biographical young adult novels. Her works include Under a War-Torn Sky, Suspect Red, Hamilton and Peggy!, Walls, and Bea and the New Deal Horse, have won the Scott O'Dell, the VLA Cardinal Cup, and the Grateful American Book Prize for historical fiction, and been named NCSS/CBC Notables, Bank Street College of Ed. Bests, and Kirkus Bests. Visit her online at

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