The Girl in Red
From the national bestselling author of Alice comes a postapocalyptic take on the perennial classic "Little Red Riding Hood"...about a woman who isn't as defenseless as she seems.
It's not safe for anyone alone in the woods. There are predators that come out at night: critters and coyotes, snakes and wolves. But the woman in the red jacket has no choice. Not since the Crisis came, decimated the population, and sent those who survived fleeing into quarantine camps that serve as breeding grounds for death, destruction, and disease. She is just a woman trying not to get killed in a world that doesn't look anything like the one she grew up in, the one that was perfectly sane and normal and boring until three months ago.
There are worse threats in the woods than the things that stalk their prey at night. Sometimes, there are men. Men with dark desires, weak wills, and evil intents. Men in uniform with classified information, deadly secrets, and unforgiving orders. And sometimes, just sometimes, there's something worse than all of the horrible people and vicious beasts combined.
Red doesn't like to think of herself as a killer, but she isn't about to let herself get eaten up just because she is a woman alone in the woods....
Author: Christina Henry
Paperback, 304 pages
Publishing Date: June 18th 2019
Original Title: The Girl in Red
ISBN: 0451492285 (ISBN13: 9780451492289)
Survival, endurance, and more survival! Oh, and did I say survival yet?
This post-apocalyptic take on the Grimm's classic "Little Red Riding Hood" had little to do with a sweet little girl and her little basket of precious goods trotting through the forest to visit grandma's house. That is unless you want to parallel a world fallen to disease from a deadly virus, riots and armed patrol clashes, and a government cover-up as the stroll through the forest.
Red, yes she likes wearing a red sweater, and her family must decide what to do when a virus of epidemic proportions hits their area. People are dying left and right and patrols are collecting the infected victims to bring them to a camp for supposed care. But one of her family members has 'the cough' and they all know it can spread rapidly. When patrol vehicles with guns show up at their house, Red and her brother have to make a quick decision.
Notable and likable about Red's character is that she is always prepared. Her prosthetic leg isn't a big hindrance to her and she takes off with her brother just in time before they hear wild gunfire coming from the front of the house.
Food is scarce, houses have been abandoned and dangers by armed men hide around every corner. They decide to try and make it to their grandma's house but neither Red's brothers' unpreparedness nor his unwillingness to cooperate with her are a match for what deadly detriment will await them.
Red must survive. She becomes stronger and stronger as she goes. A fleeting reprieve to her aching and hungry body is a short shelter she can find safety in with two children she pics up on the road. Her dislike for guns is tested over and over, but her ax will ultimately come in handy when she has to fight the big bad wolf in disguise!
This novel has a YA vibe and is a fast-paced apocalyptic story once it really takes off. If you are looking for a book with a bad-ass strong female character with a disability on top of that and who is the daughter of a racially mixed and intelligent couple, then you have found your next read. Red is fierce and strong-willed but her soft side shows through when it is needed.
In terms of a fairy tale retelling, the novel does not end as one might expect but rather capitulates on the character's feats during the journey through the desolated apocalyptic world. So, no wolf is going down the well with rocks in its' belly, I can already tell you that.
To find out more, go ahead and get your hands on 'The Girl in Red' and brace for an unexpected ride...but instead of a basket with cookies, you may want to prepare with some antibiotics and a weapon ;)
I read this book as a group read with 'The Traveling Friends' on Goodreads. It's been a pleasure, as always :)