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The Girl in Red

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Goodreads Choice Award
Nominee for Best Horror (2019)
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....

293 pages, Paperback

First published June 18, 2019

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About the author

Christina Henry

42 books6,234 followers
CHRISTINA HENRY is the author of the CHRONICLES OF ALICE duology, ALICE and RED QUEEN, a dark and twisted take on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, as well as LOST BOY: THE TRUE STORY OF CAPTAIN HOOK, an origin story of Captain Hook from Peter Pan.

She is also the author of the national bestselling BLACK WINGS series (BLACK WINGS, BLACK NIGHT, BLACK HOWL, BLACK LAMENT, BLACK CITY, BLACK HEART and BLACK SPRING) featuring Agent of Death Madeline Black and her popcorn-loving gargoyle Beezle.

She enjoys running long distances, reading anything she can get her hands on and watching movies with samurai, zombies and/or subtitles in her spare time. She lives in Chicago with her husband and son.

You can visit her on the web at www.christinahenry.net, facebook.com/authorChristinaHenry, twitter.com/C_Henry_Author and www.goodreads.com/CHenryAuthor.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,530 reviews
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,588 reviews153k followers
December 9, 2020
description

New week, New BookTube Video - all about the best (and worst) literary apocalypses to live through!
The Written Review

4.5 stars
description

Who's the wolf in the woods now?
Red, a young woman on her own, is travelling through the forest in a post-apocalyptic world.
...they had watched in horror as town after town and city after city was decimated by this sickness, this mysterious terror that had sprung up...
"The Crisis" (as she calls it) has already ruined most of the world and nearly all of her family and now Red is alone in the world - almost.
Grandmas didn't die from stuff like that. Grandmas went on and on, enduring year after year, shriveled and worn but somehow ageless.
Red's grandmother lives isolated in the woods, in a self-sustaining little cottage hundreds of miles away.

And once Red makes a plan, she sticks to it.

So what if she's alone in this world?

So what if her supplies are running low?

So what if everyone and everything out there is trying to kill her?

Grandma is out there, and Red is going to see her.

Only, her journey is not nearly as easy as she thought. The woods are teeming with wolves - both animal and human.
The fellow across the fire gave Red the once-over, from the wild corkscrews of her hair peeking out from under her red hood to the small hand axe that rested on the ground beside her.
But the joke is on them, because if there is one thing Red has been preparing for - it was the apocalypse.
He'd thought she would be polite, that she would offer to share her space with him. He'd thought she would trust him, because she was alone and he was alone...she was not following his script, and he didn't know how to improvise.
And there is not a thing she would not do to get to where she wants to go.
"I am going to my grandma's house, and if you try to stop me I will slice off whatever I can reach and leave you here to bleed to death."
In short - this book was everything that I could have hoped for and more.

I have read so (SO) many tellings (and retellings) of classic fairytales that it takes a really, truly amazing one to knock my socks off.

Well. Let me assure you - my socks are in the next country.

Once I picked it up, I could not put it down. I honestly cannot remember the last time I finished a book in a single day.

I am constantly frustrated by the absolute idiocy of main characters during apacolypse novels. I honestly wonder how most characters make it past Ch 2 and Red is wonderfully the complete opposite.

She's wholly refreshing, absolutely fabulous and perfectly educated.
One thing Red had learned from years of reading and movie watching was that people were far scarier than any disease...
Between her confidence, her logic and her stone-cold killer instincts, I was completely fascinated.
"I see two bodies with open chest wounds and some mars on the floor. Until I actually see an alien life form crawling on the ground, I'm not buying it."
The plot was fast-paced and exciting - even though this was a retelling, I still had no idea where the story was going and I loved it.

Highly, highly recommended.


I think I'm just going to have to buy everything Henry has ever written.
She had to get to her grandmother, and she still had a very long way to go.
With thanks to the publisher for a free copy in exchange for an honest review

All quotes come from an uncorrected proof and are subject to change upon publication.


YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Snapchat @miranda_reads
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,069 reviews38.2k followers
April 14, 2022
4.5 rounded up 5 stars to an apocalyptic, dystopian , bloody, vulgar, harsh, nerve-bending, nail-biting, heart-throbbing version of Red Riding Hood! I never see this coming ! This author is more merciless and definitely wilder than Grimm Brothers and I literally devoured each pages but I’m still hungry for more!

This book is gruesome, reminds of us so many “The world is ending” and “ contagious virus” theme projects starting from Bird Box ( Just like movie version the two children accompany Red are “ he” and “she” just like Sandra Bullock call them), “28 days later”, so much better version of Shymalan’s “Happening” ( the situation of abandoned houses, stores with full of dead people), Sodenberg’s ”Contagion” and finally this is not the dystopian movie but as it is admitted on the book, the creature’s technique of ripping apart of the people’s abdomens is totally great tribute to Ridley Scott’s “Alien”!

We have a remarkable heroine like younger but definitely rougher and tougher version of Sarah Connor( mostly the second movie and ore muscled version) meets girl version of Mad Max( let’s say Maxine )!

When I was a child I have read too many Grimm Brothers’ nightmarish fairy-tales and I was also disappointed about the naivety of red riding hood ( she cannot differentiate her grandma from a wolf, come on Red! Wear glasses!) but this super version of her , Red so smart, also intelligent ( a book worm, know-it-all kinda girl like Hermione Granger), a loner, isolated one because she has hard times to trust people completely. At more parts she makes you think she is the protector of her own family. She never acts like a young girl, she’s old soul, always calculating every move, knowing how to use sharp objects, she’s born as fighter and survivor.

Amazing heroine, gripping, fast paced story-telling, nonstop action capture your attention and hook you from the beginning. You don’t want to put it down. ( I confess I let my husband feed me at the dinner when I was frantically turning the pages! At least I was having sushi )
For most parts of the book I wanted to raise my punch at the air and scream” Yessss! Atta girl!”, some parts made my stomach churned, but at the end I can hear my own evil laughs because I enjoyed it.

Only the unanswered questions about the government experiments and the cause of the contagion a little disturbed my mind. But this book is about Red’s story and her surviving fight to reach to her grandma’s house.

I love the ending! Never ending action, thrilling, captivating, shocking parts. I already added gruesome versions of Alice and Peter Pan’s stories. I need to read more from the author because I had so much fun!
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,424 reviews9,005 followers
January 18, 2023
Red's survival depends upon her getting to Grandma's house. Unfortunately, in The Girl in Red, this isn't some cutesy fairy tale landscape she's traveling through.



This is a post-apocalyptic wasteland, where a highly contagious disease has decimated the population.

The world has always been a dumpster fire, but now it's worse than ever, with enemies around every corner. Awesome.



A large number of people have been rounded up and placed into quarantine camps, but Red would rather take her chances on her own.



Alternating between 'now' and 'before', we get a pretty good idea of Red's home and family dynamic prior to the sickness.

Red, who has a prosthetic limb, after being hit by a car at the age of 8, is used to people underestimating her. This frustrates her and she feels compelled to be tough as nails in order to prove them wrong.



Highly risk averse, Red nevertheless feels prepared; certainly more prepared than your average Joe. She knows the rules. She has been studying post-apocalyptic horror movies and books for years.

Girl, same.



I loved this aspect of Red's personality.

Traveling with her whiny brother, Adam, Red needs to not only care for herself, but him as well.

Put simply, Adam is a huge pain in the ass. Red has the patience of a Saint, putting up with him as she did.



I loved how quickly the action kicked off. There wasn't any wasted time. Additionally, I thought that the post-apocalyptic world was well imagined.

The two timelines worked well playing off each other to reveal the entirety of the story. Watching Red's character gain strength over time was so satisfying.



This being said, I did want a bit more. I know that not every book can be 500-pages, but this was just so interesting and the ending, to me, felt rushed.



Overall, I think this is a solid story. I enjoyed Henry's imagination quite a bit.

This is my first book from her, but it definitely won't be the last.



A hearty thank you to the publisher, Berkley Publishing Group, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review.

I would definitely recommend this to readers who enjoy darker content and women protagonists who kick butt!
Profile Image for Jennifer.
1,721 reviews6,662 followers
July 2, 2019
"I am going to my grandma's house, and if you try to stop me I will slice off whatever I can reach and leave you here to bleed to death."
With alternating timelines that reveal the decimation of the world, Red is our consistent main character who shows that being a woman in a man's ravaged world is her very underestimated strength. She doesn't need guns or an intimidating appearance or even all four limbs. She has serious smarts and fierce intuition. The Girl in Red is a violent, post-apocalyptic retelling of the little red riding hood from once upon a time. Girls are stronger now, and their grandmothers can take care of themselves, too. Check it out.

My favorite quote:
"Red didn’t like to think of herself as a killer, but she wasn’t about to let herself get eaten up just because she is a woman alone in the woods."

Audiobook expertly narrated by January LaVoy.
Profile Image for Julia Ash.
Author 4 books221 followers
November 29, 2019
As a Little Red Riding Hood retelling, THE GIRL IN RED by Christina Henry earned 5 howling-great stars from me!

Twenty-year-old Cordelia, nicknamed Red, is a horror junkie. She knows every reason in the book why naïve people die during an apocalypse. That’s why she became a prepper. She has always known “Something Would Happen” and she has no intentions of being naïve or…dying.

So at the first signs of “The Cough,” Red finetunes her survival plan, convincing her family it is the only way to outsmart and outrun “The Crisis.” The plan is simple: avoid the government’s quarantine camps and trek off-road to Grandma’s cabin in the woods, some 300-miles away.

Despite all of Red’s preparations, she underestimates one variable that has no regard for her astute plans: the improbable. Turns out, Red never could've guessed what was hiding in the most unexpected places.

In an upside-down world full of “wolves,” will Red, her handy axe, and her family ever make it to Grandma’s? ALIVE?

BULLSEYES:

• The author is brilliantly masterful at conveying Red’s voice—the protagonist and narrator of this story. Red is fierce, stubborn, endearing, opinionated, and flawed by her own extremes. I LOVED this character and rooted for her every step of the way!

• The writing is exceptional. Enough said :)

• THE GIRL IN RED starts as an action & adventure apocalypse and breaks loose into horror! I wasn’t expecting this, but in retrospect, that’s exactly what the fairytale of Little Red Riding Hood does (minus the apocalypse)!

• The book's cover is spectacular.

DROPS (the axe drops from the target and doesn’t score):

• The story toggles between events “Before” and “After.” Since the entire book’s span is only around three months, I didn’t feel this strategy added to the tension. The out-of-order events made me work harder as a reader, which I typically don’t mind if I’m rewarded with a bump in tension.

• The book’s back cover copy makes it clear that men are a top-level enemy. “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…” At times, I thought this message went too, too far in the book.

• Not every question raised in the story was answered. Does this mean a sequel is in the making? I hope so!

• Based on the cover, I literally thought real wolves with red eyes would be involved! However, the artwork of the wolf is a metaphor. Too bad, because I thought a scene with a wolf predator would have been a great addition.

All in all, this Little Red Riding Hood retelling was an exciting journey of survival. And since the story hits on many important bullseyes, it scores as one of my favorite books read in 2019!
Profile Image for Charlotte May.
673 reviews1,028 followers
December 23, 2019
"People were far scarier than any disease or zombie or alien or face-eating monster."

THIS is the Christina Henry I love! I loved Lost Boy but didn't really think much of Alice or Red Queen so I felt this could go one of two ways. Thankfully it went the former and I was gripped!

Red is travelling to her grandmother's house in a post-apocalyptic world. A virus known as 'the cough' has swept the world and everyone is being rounded up and placed in quarantine camps. Red has no interest in being imprisoned so she is travelling through the woods, camping and surviving on what she can. Got throw back images to the Maze Runner series which I adored so that was cool.

The chapters flick between 'before' and 'after'. So before Red starts her travels, when she is with her family and then when she travels with her brother Adam.
In the 'after' chapters Red is alone - so we know something has happened to her family but we only find out when the story flashes back, this keeps you hooked as you want to know what has gone on.

Red is a great protagonist. She is a far cry from the 'special' or 'chosen one' this book seems to poke fun at main characters who do stupid things and endanger their lives. She meticulously plans every part of her journey, learns how to defend herself and how to survive in the wilderness. Red also has a prosthetic leg which is awesome rep - I loved that.

My only tiny gripe would be Other than that this was a great retelling and I would recommend to anyone who likes dystopias or apocalypse themed books.

"The only consolation in being a survivor was that you'd survived."
Profile Image for Hannah Greendale.
692 reviews3,242 followers
April 16, 2019
It's like The Road by Cormac McCarthy went skipping through the woods to grandmother's house in this dystopian sci-fi retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood." Aside from a few hackneyed attempts to insert views on certain political agendas, this is a well-plotted, swift-paced story of survival. Red, a young woman of mixed-race with a prosthetic leg, is a fierce opponent for the fallen world's wolves.

Gruesome, outspoken, and forgivably predictable. The Girl in Red is a thrilling slasher.
You're a wolf and I'm a hunter. I'm no Red Riding Hood to be deceived by your mask. I know what you are.*

-
*Note: Quote taken from an Advanced Reading Copy.
Profile Image for Mischenko.
1,012 reviews97 followers
June 29, 2020
Well, I made a huge mistake purchasing this one because it wasn’t anything like what I expected. The Girl in Red is an apocalyptic story about a girl (Red) who needs to get to her grandmother’s house in the middle of an extreme pandemic that’s wiping out the population. It appears to be an airborne virus, but there are some strange mysteries here. This virus seems intelligent and appears to pick and choose who it exterminates, beginning with a simple cough. Sound familiar? As Red navigates dangerous ground, nothing appears to be what it seems.

This turned out to be meh at best for me because I just couldn’t get into this story, especially with the before and after time changes. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a unique retelling with a strong heroine that I admired, but it’s partially just bad timing for a story like this due to all the madness we’re experiencing right now in RL. Plus, I just didn’t enjoy the writing here, and the cover duped me into expecting something else.

There’s no doubt others will enjoy this, so definitely check this out if you’re into apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic fiction.

2.5-stars rounded up to 3
Profile Image for Norma.
551 reviews11.8k followers
July 6, 2019
Gripping, action-packed & frightening!

THE GIRL IN RED by CHRISTINA HENRY is a creative retelling with a kickass heroine and non-stop action that immediately captured my attention. I do believe that this is my very first retelling and what a way to start it all off with this book. I see more retellings in my future!

CHRISTINA HENRY delivers an interesting, terrifyingly dark, gruesome, and heart-pounding nightmarish tale here that was quite the entertaining, fast-paced, and well-written read. Red was such a refreshing and fabulous heroine! I loved everything about her character.

The tale is told from Red’s point of view in a before the apocalypse and after the apocalypse timelines which definitely created lots of tension and added to the suspense.

* Traveling Friends Read *

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Intriguing, eye-catching, suspenseful, foreboding, freaky, frightening and a fitting representation to storyline.
Title: Intriguing, classic, and fitting representation to storyline.
Writing/Prose: Well-written, engaging and readable.
Plot: Fairy tale retelling, fast-paced, intense, exciting, danger, compelling, suspenseful, action-packed, fabulous heroine, and gripping.
Ending: An action-packed, thrilling, bittersweet and an unresolved or open ending that came together really well for me and left me feeling quite satisfied. Of course I was left with a few unanswered questions though which I do believe works extremely well for a retelling of a fairy tale.
Overall: I was thoroughly entertained with this post-apocalyptic take on the classic fairy tale “Little Red Riding Hood”. Would recommend!

Thank you so much to Elisha from Berkley Publishing for providing me with a complimentary copy of this tale.

Review can also be found on our Two Sisters Lost in a Coulee Reading book blog:
https://twosisterslostinacoulee.com/
September 23, 2020
I cannot begin to tell you how incredibly disappointing this book was. I have read a few novels from Christina Henry before, and although I despised Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook, I quite enjoyed Alice and Red Queen I'm a sucker for anything remotely Alice related. This however, was not the kind of retelling I was expecting, and in my opinion, it felt somewhat lame.

Let's start with the positive, and there is only one positive I could retrieve from this bizarre mess, which is the front cover. It is beautiful, misleading, and it evidently hoodwinked me into buying the book in the first place. I cannot forgive myself for spending £7 on this. Really, I can't.

It was obvious from the first chapter, that this book wasn't going to enthrall me. I got these strange Walking Dead vibes almost immediately, and then, a few chapters later, I felt like I was watching a scene from "Alien" except, Sigourney Weaver obviously did it better. This kind of theme in literature has been done repeatedly, and it really gets tedious for the reader.

I feel like lots of random events happen for the sole reason of boosting the books page count, and not because it is actually worth my time to read it. There was a lot of misogyny present, which surprised me a little, as the main heroine is in fact "Red" who is female, and who I couldn't give a single shit about. She appears to hate anyone that comes within a mile of her, she has a voluminous ego that obviously weighs her down, and, she is frightfully judgemental of anything with a pulse.

One word: IRRITATING.

I got the distinct impression, that the fact she happened to have a prosthetic limb, was merely thrown into the story, in an attempt for the reader to like her more, just like her sexuality. It didn't feel real enough.

The writing style is plain and simple. Granted, I realise this is a YA book, but for me, it wasn't good enough. It's like this book was a first draft or something, not the final result.

This book had an interesting concept, that could have worked, but unfortunately, it was an unengaging, stereotypical, monotonous mess, that I dragged my crazy ass through for reasons that are my own.
Profile Image for destiny ♡ howling libraries.
1,610 reviews5,009 followers
February 5, 2020
Red didn’t like to think of herself as a killer, but she wasn’t about to let herself get eaten up just because she was a woman alone in the woods.

Every now and then, you find a book that is so special, so incredible, has such a massive impact on your life that when you turn that last page, you think to yourself, This is what stories are supposed to do to us. This is how it’s supposed to feel. Friends, I am so pleased to tell you that The Girl in Red was absolutely one of those books for me.

“Do you think I don’t know what kind of men this world has wrought? Every woman knows. And those men existed before everything fell apart.”

Let’s start by talking about my undying love for our main character, Red: she is so complex and real and flawed in the best possible ways. She’s snarky and angry and a bit of a know-it-all, but frankly, she’s generally right and nobody really listens to her, so I think she’s totally earned that arrogance. She’s a walking, talking amalgamation of so many reasons people have to discredit a person—she’s a woman, queer (bi or pan, I’m not sure), biracial (black/white), and disabled (she has a prosthetic leg from the knee down on one side). She’s a science-loving, conspiracy-theory-holding, horror-film-aficionado, too (and, frankly, I know many people who fit so many of the same descriptions as Red, so if your argument is that she’s “too marginalized” to feel like a real human being, I’ll ask you to go ahead and leave me out of that conversation, please and thank you).

It was always men like this, men who thought that they could take what they wanted and leave the broken scraps of people behind.

Now, beyond my undying adoration for Red and her brilliant, nurturing self and desperate commitment to survival and freedom, let’s talk about this plot. It’s a near-future apocalypse story, and it pains me a little to say how believable it felt. As someone who is typically also very distrusting of many of the groups of people responsible for the terrors in this story, yeah, I could absolutely see something like this happening and it petrifies me a little to think about. Especially when one considers the underlying theme woven into The Girl in Red’s storyline, which is that in any given apocalyptic scenario, the biggest horror will almost always be our fellow humans.

It was never the Event—illness, asteroid, nuclear war, whatever—that was the problem. It was what people did after. And people always reduced to their least human denominators when things went bad.

The stakes are so high in The Girl in Red and the threats never stop coming; if it’s not the epidemic that started the whole thing, it’s the twisted, brutalized manner Red keeps finding corpses in, or the homemade militia teams prowling for food and women to take, or the leering, stained grins on the faces of so many of the men she encounters. The commentary on rape culture is powerful here and Christina Henry always excels at interlacing a suspenseful, enrapturing storyline with themes of feminism and rebelling against the idea that anyone deserves to take advantage of another human being, ever.

“We all die at the end. What we do before the end is what counts.”

Finally, underneath the immersive setting and story, the lovable-yet-flawed protagonist, the feminist undertones, the mortifying descriptions of the epidemic, and the stunning and powerful writing style that is so uniquely Chrstina’s… there’s also a story of family, whether they’re bound to us by blood or not. Red’s entire reason for fighting boils down not only to survival, but to protecting the people she cares about, too. The familial love is powerful and endlessly heart-wrenching as it reminds us of the lengths we’ll go to and the risks we’ll take to keep our loved ones safe.

Red was going to live, and instead of triumphant victory it suddenly felt like a horse she’d have to drag with her all the rest of her days. The only consolation in being a survivor was that you’d survived.

There’s so much more I’d love to say about The Girl in Red, but let’s be honest: it’s a short story full of twists and turns, and there isn’t much else I can detail without going into spoiler territory. I think this book is probably a stand-alone title, but I desperately hope Christina Henry will at least consider a sequel, because there’s absolutely room for one and I need more time with this story. I know this is the sort of book I’m going to be raving about and re-reading for a long time to come, and I hope you will, too.

Thank you to Berkley for providing me with this review copy in exchange for my honest opinion!
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,372 reviews9,445 followers
July 30, 2019
Damn it to hell!!



I loved the authors Alice book and I love the hell outta this book cover!!! I put off reading it in case it was going to be more bullshit about my wolves (red riding hood lied, I own the shirt) but I borrowed the audio from the library just to see. I was thinking I would love it when it started out with a prosthetic leg Red taking out a jerk with an ax.

Then.... it starts that bullshit I hate in books these days and some people were so annoying I wanted to dnf the book. Sigh..... That being said, I did enjoy a few of the other characters and that bizzarre outcome.



Happy Reading!

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,394 reviews7,266 followers
June 18, 2019
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

PUB DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!!! If you were left feeling "meh" by The Mermaid, have no fear because Henry bringeth the darkness once again with this post-apocalyptic retelling : )

A review via giffery presented by Mitchell:



If you are anything like me, Christina Henry completely blew your mind when she proved in her darkly updated version of Alice In Wonderland that . . . . .



When she revamped Peter Pan . . . .



Mind = blown.

I was pretty much crapping my drawers to see what she would come up with next. And when I heard it was a new spin on P.T. Barnum’s famous Fiji mermaid, I was 100% ready for . . . . .



But then . . . . .



A kissing book? Helllllllllll nah! Get to the stabbing.

Despite that one missing the mark for me, I remained a loyal stalker fan and couldn’t wait to see what Henry’s warped little mind could conjure up next. To say The Girl In Red didn’t disappoint is a true understatement. Not since . . . . .



Have I enjoyed a Red Riding Hood retelling so much.

Immune to a plague that has decimated the population, Red knows her only hope is to make it to Granny’s cabin – a place she is certain she and her brother can survive this end of days. But the getting there is the hard part. The road less traveled is a must as they trek across country, and the dangers waiting in the woods are plentiful.

When it comes to Christina Henry, there’s only one thing to say . . . .



Many thanks to the publisher for providing an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review.

ORIGINAL "REVIEW" (SPOILER ALERT, I DIDN'T HAVE TO CUT ANYONE - THEY SENT ME A PHYSICAL COPY FREE!):



Who do I have to cut in order to get a copy of this? Name the name and I'll do it ; )
Profile Image for Tucker  (TuckerTheReader).
908 reviews1,574 followers
May 23, 2020

Many thanks to Berkely for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review


This book was one of my least favorites of 2019. See the rest on my video, The WORST Books of 2019! ☕☕

--------------------
"The wolf said, "You know, my dear, it isn't safe for a little girl to walk through these woods alone."

Red Riding Hood said, "I find your sexist remark offensive in the extreme, but I will ignore it because of your traditional status as an outcast from society, the stress of which has caused you to develop your own, entirely valid, worldview. Now, if you'll excuse me, I must be on my way.” -James Finn Garner, Politically Correct Bedtime Stories

I’ll be completely honest. (I don’t know why I’m saying that. I’m literally legally required to be honest). I am super disappointed. Notice that I rated this 3 stars. It was a solid five star read until the ending, which made the book completely fall apart.

So, what’s this book about
Girl in Red follows Red, a young woman on her own. She is evading the government because she knows they will try to put her in a dread quarantine camp. Red wants to avoid them not only because she knows they have an extremely high chance of getting infected by the Cough, a terrible disease that has wiped out a huge chunk of humanity, but also because she is on her way to her grandmother’s cabin. She knows the cabin is one of the few safe places left in the world. But she must get past many hurdles and barriers to get there. And on her journey, she loses friends, makes new ones and soon learns that this mysterious disease is only the tip of this iceberg of death.

Girl in Red switches back and forth between before and after. Before being the time when Red is with her family which is made up of her mother, father, and brother, Adam. They are all trying to figure out what the best and safest decision is. After follows Red, by herself. It was brilliant how this format broke your heart from page one. The reader can easily put two and two together and see that the After Red is without her family, meaning that we lose them along the way which makes it even more emotional when we get to see them via Before Red.

Red -
"Cordelia was her name but Red was who she was"

Obviously, I can’t review this without talking about Red, or Cordelia as her mother calls her. She reminded me of me. Because duh. I can’t read a book without finding a character that reminds me of me. I think that’s one of the things I most enjoy reading. There’s nothing quite as… Fun no. enthralling no. Encouraging to see someone as diversely f**ked up yet lovable as you are. I was so entertained by the fact that she loves horror movies and genre fiction as much as I do. It felt very meta every time she referenced a horror trope. And that one scene where Adam mentioned Alien... Pure gold! Finally, I wanted to note that Red is either lesbian or pan. I don’t know which because it wasn’t specified but there was a scene in the book where she mentioned dating another girl her age but also said something about dating someone for their personality not gender (I’m paraphrasing here.) So, there’s that for a cool rep!

Adam - I was jolted by how much I ended up caring for Adam. My relationship with this character was literally the definition of enemies-to-lovers. Adam is pompous, self-righteous, and prideful. At first, I thought there wasn’t a decent bone in his body. But throughout the book, he slowly dug his way into my heart and is now the newest edition to my fictional crushes list

I recently (or if you’re reading this in 2047, not so recently) finished Hollow Kingdom, a science fiction humor novel which I didn’t enjoy that much, mainly because the science fiction fell short. Because of this, I was super worried that I wouldn’t enjoy the science fiction in this. And guess what.... I DIDN’T
GODDAMMMNNNITTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT

It had so much potential but because of how the book’s ending literally made it feel like someone had ripped the last 100 pages out of my ARC. Once again, I was let down by science fiction.

It wasn’t all bad, though. I really enjoyed the relationship between all the characters. Mainly, Adam and Red. Their sibling rivalry and playful banter was super funny and charming and just added to the overall tension of wanting the characters to stay safe.

Finally, I want to discuss the ending. Please note, THERE ARE SPOILERS AHEAD.

[Art by manuel augusto dischinger]
Once again, spoilers ahead. You’ve been warned. To say that I was pissed would be an understatement. I am writhing with anger and disappointment. When I was at the 99% mark, I didn’t even realize it because it felt somewhere near 60% - 75% So when the ending credits played, I was left thinking ”What the f**k just happened?” instead of ”That was so good!” Firstly, we never ended up finding out what caused the Cough or the creepy alien tapeworms. Like, that whole plotline was just thrown aside. Also, the ending was super f**king rushed. Sam, Riley, and Red set off on their journey and then a whopping five minutes later, they were at Red’s Grandmother’s cabin. WHAT? It honestly felt like Christina Henry was trying to cram a 500-page story into a 300-page book. I am very sad because instead of being able to think about all the good qualities of this book, I’ll only be able to think about the sh*tty ending.

Overall, this book had so much potential but completely fell short. Yes, the characters were great but, for once, I cannot in good conscious recommend this book because of its unsatisfying ending.

Bottom Line:
2 Stars
Age Rating: [ R ]
Content Screening - Educational Value: [Some survival skills are taught or referenced but not many] ~ Positive Message: [None] ~ Violence: [Body Horror, Murder, Gore throughout] ~ Sex: [None] ~ Language: [F**k, Damn, B*tch, Sh*t] ~ Drinking/Drugs: [None]
TW: Murder, Loss of Loved Ones, Body Horror
Reps: [Lesbian, Pan]
Cover: 4/5 ~ Characters: 5/5 ~ Plot: 1/5 ~ Audio: 3/5
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: June 18th, 2019
Genre: Science Fiction/Horror

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July 15, 2019
Well ok, that was something different from what I have been reading lately and I have been reading something different quite a bit.

The Girl in Red is an entertaining yet a little horrifying and creative, post-apocalyptic take on Little Red Riding Hood. Christina Henry is known for her retelling of fairy tales and this is a first for me. I am now curious about some of her other retellings.

I do secretly like post-apocalyptic stories and I have read a couple of them in the past but nothing like this one. I was pleasantly a little surprised by how much I enjoyed this one.

The Little Red Riding Hood here is this tale is far from helpless and the wolf is terrifying. Our main character Red is clever, brave, resilient with a strong personality and not afraid to show everyone just how strong it is. She is unique and entertaining with her sharp tongue and references to post-apocalyptic movies and books. We see a few different sides to Red here in this tale making her an interesting character.

The tale is told is dual timelines with before and after timelines creating tension and suspense to the story that had me turning the pages to find out how all this was going to wrap up. The ending came together well for me however stretch things a little over the top for me and I had to remind myself it’s a retelling of a fairy tale. Some things don’t really wrap up here as a lot was left unanswered and I do think it all works here since fairy tales don’t really need answers. I highly recommend!

Thank you to Elisha from Berkley Publishing for the opportunity to read something I won’t normally pick by providing me with a complimentary copy of this tale.
Profile Image for Jenna ❤ ❀  ❤.
744 reviews1,108 followers
October 17, 2020
Red Riding GIF - Red Riding Hood GIFs

Once upon a time there was a girl named Little Red Riding Hood. Her mother said to her one day, Red (she always called her Red for short except when she was angry and then it was "LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD GET YOUR ASS OVER HERE NOW"), Red, your dear grandmother is lonely and hungry and going through withdrawal. Here is a loaf of bread and 4 liters of vodka. Make haste and take them to her and be sure not to talk to any strangers on the way!"

Red was pissed off because she wanted to stay home and play her new video game and why should she always be the one to take Grandma her booze? Red didn't want to be punished so, grumbling, she rose and put on her bright red parka, pulling the hood up so high that it obscured half her face. Sometimes there were creepy wood choppers in the forest and they leered at her and called her Pretty Girl and Pretty Girl was definitely not her name.

Red didn't want any man calling her pretty. Maybe if she had a father she wouldn't mind him calling her pretty, but Red had never known her father. He was long gone by the time she was born. Her mother had lied and told Red that he was a hero who bravely died in the war.

Red, though she was little, was not stupid and had gone to the public library where she used the computer to Google her father's name. There she discovered that she was not the daughter of a war hero at all but of a man rotting in prison.

According to the article, shortly before Red was born her father had killed a man during a drug deal gone bad. Red did not like to think of her father as a criminal and so had decided that, unable to find a job in this ruined economy, her father had resorted to dealing in order to make money to buy prenatal vitamins for her mother.

Red decided that the other man, the one who was knifed to death, had in reality attacked her father as he was walking away. Knowing he would either kill or be killed, he chose the former, wanting to survive to meet his unborn daughter.

Her Father withdrew the dagger he kept up his sleeve for just such a purpose and drove it deep into the man's chest. Red knew this to be true, despite what the newspaper article said. After all, she had heard what that weird orange-coloured man who lived in the big white house had said about fake news and how you can't trust the liberal media.

Red remembered all this now and grabbed a small knife which she shoved under her parka, before taking the heavy basket from her mother. As she set off down the path towards Grandma's house, bottles clinking against each other, Red swore and wondered why it was her bad luck to get stuck with a drunk for a grandma.

Other little girls had grandmas who were sweet and kind and who baked them cookies. When Red's grandmother baked, the house reeked of marijuana for days and there was no way in hell Red was going to put that foul-smelling stuff in her mouth, no way!

Red heard birds chirping and saw butterflies flitt.........


Say What GIF - NewGirl DamonWayansJr What GIFs


OK, OK, no, you're right! That's not how the story goes, at least not the parts about the withdrawal and vodka and GET YOUR ASS OVER HERE NOW. There are so many versions of this story though, and I've surely not come across them all, so perhaps there is a version with a drunk grandma, etc. The version by Christina Henry doesn't follow the usual script either.

In The Girl in Red, Red is not so little but she is headed to Grandma's house. A terrible virus has wiped out most of America's citizens and the few who have survived are being hunted down and rounded up by the government, or killed by gangs of roving and evil and crazed men. Because of this, it is not safe to go by car and Red needs to hike 300+ miles through the wilderness to her grandmother's cabin in the woods. Grandma is alone and waiting for her family to come join her where it is safe.

The trip is risky and Red faces many dangers along the way. Luckily for her, she has a hefty axe with which to fight off the evil men and any other creatures she might run into. It really doesn't make sense that she has the axe though, because in the beginning she has to hack a man to death. After that bit of bloody business, she grabs the dead guy's gun and, because she is so against them, throws that gun into the river rather than keeping it for protection.

Um.... OK..... I think I'd rather be shot than axed to death. It would be a lot less gory and probably quicker and thus less painful. Also, wouldn't a handgun be lighter to carry than an axe?? This was just an asinine addition to the story. Then again, people who like gory stories will appreciate the axe murders more than they would a single well-placed gunshot wound.

Anyway.... aside from that absurdity, this book is a lot of fun! Red is a major germaphobe, a characteristic I can highly relate to. Intensely fearing germs turned out to be a good thing for her, with a killer virus wiping out most of the population.

She encounters various people along the way to Grandma's house, some of them decent but more of them not. Red is a kick-ass, strong, and quick-thinking woman, the kind of heroine little girls ought to read about (though this isn't exactly a kid's story!!)

The Girl in Red is a fun and action-filled read and a terrific re-telling of Little Red Riding Hood. Christina Henry fans will be delighted with this book, as will those who enjoy fairy tales being turned on their head. Not quite as good as Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook but still an enjoyable read. 4.5 stars rounded up.
Profile Image for Koeur.
1,044 reviews18 followers
May 15, 2019
Review: This should have been titled, “Stumpy Red Riding Fail” or “A Post Pandemic Virtue Signalling Guide”.  The novel pretty much starts with the “Guns are bad” shtick. And I quote,“Red despised holding the gun, despised everything about it, hated how cold and hateful it felt in her hand.” Project much? I don’t know, it is hard for me to place a self-governing perspective on an inanimate object, but there you are.

The race baiting is off the charts and at one point I was thinking, “Just shut the fuk up already..”. And I quote, “Red had that indeterminate mixed-race look that made white people nervous….”. Really?  I don’t feel nervous around “mixed race” people. I thought they were just, people. I am mixed race, I don’t feel different towards anyone or assume that white people will turn on us all when the shjt hits the fan. Maybe since I don’t look mixed race I can blend in with all the evil WHITE rapey men. Well this racist author drags white people through the mud and elevates other non-white races in her little book of hate for most of the novel.  And here I thought segregationists were dead.

Moving on, I found that the geographical certainty that you find in most post-apocalyptic novels was absent. This usually lends a sense of validity to the novel while giving the reader some visual context to go with the story line. What the author did was make it vague enough to expedite the novel without any grounding in fact. Easier to write that way.

And then there is the constant blather about Red’s amputee status, stump soreness and prosthetic. On and on and on. The author doesn’t even know enough to determine the exact name for Red’s particular condition (Transtibial amputee). The author seems like she wanted to paint Red as this smart (3.8 GPA), mixed race (Dad white, Mom Black- both University Professors) can-do survivor gal with all the odds stacked against her. She not only is an amputee trekking across the wilderness but constantly avoids all the people who want to rape her, because where would the story line go without the want of constantly raping?

Lastly, what is fairly obvious is that the author knows fuk all about survival. The questions are many with regard to uncovered aspects of Red’s overland trek. The depths are never plumbed and help, in the form of available food, is readily available as are the gifts of convenient cabins and homes appearing out of the woods, stocked with food and water.  Throw in an amiable old prepper and, presto! What is also entirely unbelievable is her ability to take out grown WHITE men that have BAD guns or BIG knives with her little hatchet because she was taught a self-defense class in community college.

I liked when Red kept moving forward through the countryside as it helped ground her dipshjt personality (whiney and argumentative know-it-all). Then she suddenly kills three gun toting bad WHITE men with her little hatchet and back in the shjtter we go.

If you love your grandma, skip this.
Profile Image for Kayla Dawn.
291 reviews884 followers
January 18, 2020
This was just boring to be honest. The story took place in a very typical post apocalyptic world with the very typical bad and good guys. Nothing new or exciting.
The writing style was pretty good though and it was diverse so yay for that 🤷🏻‍♀️
Profile Image for Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader.
2,055 reviews30k followers
June 9, 2019
I read something a little different, and it really paid off!. ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

I’ve long wanted to read a Christina Henry book. I’ve even bought a couple for my shelf and just haven’t read them yet. I’m thrilled that The Girl in Red was my first because what a way to begin!

The Girl in Red is a post-apocalyptic spin on Little Red Riding Hood. It’s no longer safe to be in the woods. The creatures come out at night, and sometimes there are men worse than the creatures. Ever since the “Crisis” happened, the woman in the red jacket (“Red”) has no choice but to enter the woods at night.

Those who survived the crisis now live in quarantine camps where disease and death are formidable adversaries. Red is trying to survive.

Imagine all the evil men and cruel beasts and mash them together and then you may have identified Red’s true adversary. But Red’s no weak woman. You’ll see.

The Girl in Red is hauntingly dark and beautifully written. Red is a character to absolutely love. She’s a fighter and as tough as they come. I loved the pace and the ending came on fast, too, almost leaving an opening for a sequel maybe?

This is a book you can easily binge. I would start it when you have time to keep going because the pace and suspense keeps you completely engaged, and I know I couldn’t bear to put it down! The Girl in Red is a magnificently compelling and smart retelling of one of my favorite fairy tales!

I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.

My reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com
Profile Image for Shelby *trains flying monkeys*.
1,560 reviews5,818 followers
October 29, 2019
3.5 stars

This book combines two of my favorite "good times enjoyment" genres.
Fairy tale retelling
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and the whole end of the world thing.
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Throw in a meth lab or two and I would have been in heaven.

The story is the story of Red. She knows the world is ending when everyone starts getting a weird "Cough"....but no one takes her prepping serious. After all she is the girl with only one leg. *Get used to hearing about her one damn leg because the author thinks we all have dementia and repeats it endlessly.*

Then the world really does sorta end. Her family lives in a small town so they've escaped for the most part the worst of the epidemic so far. They all decide to walk to Grandma's house.

Stuff happens.



I know right? It's actually a page turning story. I liked it for the most part. I just hated being treated like I was completely stupid by some of the repeat til my eye twitched stuff. I had actually planned to go sorta ranty on this review about the things that bugged me but then I realized that it was one of the better re-tellings that I've read and kept my big mouth shut.


Booksource: Netgalley in exchange for review.
Profile Image for Jasmine from How Useful It Is.
1,217 reviews334 followers
May 30, 2019
I started reading The Girl in Red on 5/27/2019 and finished it on 5/30/2019 at 12:55AM. This book is a great read! I love reading the author’s other book called The Mermaid as well. I have heard Alice is another blogger’s favorite and I can’t wait to read it too. This book has a lot of narrative because the main character is traveling alone but her thoughts are interesting so it wasn’t all dull. The main character loves horror movies and she learns her survival skills based on it. I like how this book focuses on siblings not getting along but having to be around each other and their bickering. It’s more realistic than those siblings who goes above and beyond for each other. I’m not into horror stuffs so the horror movies and bits of death in this book is a bit gory personally for me.

This book is told in the third person point of view following Red (Cordelia), 20 as she navigates through the woods on her way to see her grandmother with a prosthetic leg no less. It’s during dangerous times, 3 months after the Crisis and she’s traveling alone on her own among the sick and the rapist. She has an ax with her for protection and her intelligent to keep herself from getting killed. After the first chapter, the story goes back to before the apocalypse where Red lives with her professor parents and older brother Adam. Red likes camping and as soon as she’s aware of the sickness, she prepared herself for survival even when her family hesitated or believed the government will save them. The book is organized by having each chapter before the apocalypse and the next chapter after the apocalypse.

The Girl in Red is very well written and a fast paced read. I like the diversity in this book and how an American kid craves eating kim chi. I don’t like how Red’s parents are so unprepared for the future when they are educated professors but I’m glad that their ending were meaningful. The organization of this story is excellent because it creates opportunity for conversations. As much as I enjoyed Red’s thoughts, I don’t want to spend too much time in it. I like Adam, Sirois, and Riley’s easy personality and fun humor. The ending is bittersweet and it’s up to readers’ imagination. I hope DJ has a happy ending though I would have liked to meet Red’s grandma. I like how the wolves are portrayed in this story and I highly recommend everyone to read this book!

Pro: fast paced, page turner, siblings who doesn’t always get along, diversity, humor

Con: none

I rate it 5 stars!

***Disclaimer: Many thanks to Berkley Publishing for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.

xoxo,
Jasmine at www.howusefulitis.wordpress.com for more details
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Ria ♡.
891 reviews94 followers
July 11, 2020
I've had this book since it came out last year AND I DIDN'T KNOW IT HAD QUARANTINE CAMPS AND A PANDEMIC. What timing for me to pick it up to read now.

This was such a unique take on red riding hood I loved it so much. It was so intense and had me worried through the entire thing about if she was gonna make it to grandma's house or something horrid was going to happen first. Red was such a strong determined main character and I really enjoyed reading her story. I really love this though I do wish it went more into detail about some elements of the story instead of just ~it's classified~ (I HAVE QUESTIONS!!) and that there was a sequel to be honest. It did feel like it ended kind of open and I'd honestly love to read another book in this world so I can hope!!

I really need to go back and read Henry's Peter Pan retelling and the sequel to Alice BECAUSE I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS WOMAN'S WRITING AND IDEAS
Profile Image for Sheyla ✎.
1,801 reviews454 followers
April 14, 2019


"Red was going to be the final girl, the sole survivor of a massacre, just like in horror movies."


In this new post-apocalyptic world, there are three evils. The Cough who's wiping up millions, the unknown monster and the evil Humans. Or more specifically the evil male humans who would do anything to get a hold of women and children.

Our protagonist goes by the name of Red. Her real name is Cordelia and her mom calls her Delia. Yet, she only responds to Red. As you can guess, she wears a red hoodie. When Red was eight, a car hit her and she lost her leg. She wears a prosthetic leg but she doesn't have time to wallow in self-pity. The accident made her stronger. She becomes a survivor. Her love for horror movies and biology help with her self-preservation.

A new plague has come over the world. It started with a simple cough. Whoever gets infected, won't survive the virus. Red's plan is to move from their home to the safety of her grandmother's house. She's packed and ready to go. She just needs to convince her parents and her brother Adam to hurry. She knows they are running out of time.

The road to her grandmother's house is full of dangers. Evil men are lurking everywhere. Red won't trust anyone. She's ready to defend herself at any cost. Yet, a greater danger is out there. She can feel it.

The Girl is Red is the retelling of Red Riding Hood. We all know there is a wolf somewhere out there. Red is desperate to seek the comfort of her grandmother's home. Red was not your typical heroine. She knows all the dumb mistakes characters make in the horror movies she has watched and she won't make any of them. Stay together, be patient, avoid the highways, pack the right survival kit, defend yourself ask questions later, don't trust anyone, trust your instincts, all things Red follows are what differentiates her from the rest. Yes, she has weaknesses but not the dumb ones.

As secondary characters go, Sirois is an intriguing one. I wish I had seen more of him. I hope there is a second book to learn more about him. There are so many things that were not explained in The Girl in Red that a sequel is worth it. Even the end felt anticlimactic. Anyway, I hope there is more.

"Good luck to you then, Red Riding Hood."


Cliffhanger: No

3/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Berkley books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

MrsLeif's Two Fangs About It | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Profile Image for Debbie.
686 reviews427 followers
July 17, 2021
A well-written, action-packed retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" with a dystopian flavor!

"Thumbs Up" from me:
1. it's amazing how many books have been published recently, prior to COVID-19, with a somewhat prophetic leaning;
2. the plot is a fast-paced, engaging and thrilling adventure with "Before" and "After" dual timelines;
3. a strong-willed, independent young woman named Cordelia (aka "Red") with a prosthetic leg! had me rooting for her as she went along her perilous journey fraught with every kind of danger imaginable; and,
4. narrator January LaVoy (who also narrated The Ten Thousand Doors of January) kept me captivated with her outstanding expressiveness! She knows how to do a read-aloud!

Tiny "Thumbs Down" from me:
Even though Red is one kick-ass heroine, there were times I would think, "Lighten up, already! Didn't your mama ever tell you that you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar?" It seemed like everyone needed a lecture at some point from "know-it-all" Red!

Note: I was kind of hoping that D.J.'s character would Just thinking ...

If you like movies along the veins of "Alien" and "Mad Max", then this story would be right up your alley!

Thanks, Jenna, for bringing this story to my attention with your own interesting retelling! :-)
Profile Image for Carrie.
3,038 reviews1,499 followers
June 18, 2019
The Girl in Red by Christina Henry is a post apocalyptic Little Red Riding retelling. Take a minute and imagine Red as a totally kickass heroine who just happened to be a doomsday prepper and the end of the world as we know it had begun….

Red, even though technically an adult now was still living with her parents when the news first began sharing stories of a new viral threat that was beginning. Folks would come down with a cough and soon they were gone without a cure in sight. Red knew what this meant, even though they were in a small town her family wasn’t safe, if only she could get them to see it.

Red began training herself for a long walking journey knowing it would be tough with having a prosthetic leg from an accident as a child. She packed herself a huge backpack and knew just where her family should head, her grandmother’s house which was self sustaining and miles away from anyone. Red was determined to not be the victims she read about in all her fantasy novels, it would just be a matter of getting everyone to listen.

The Girl in Red was told from Red’s point of view in a now and before style picking up with Red on her journey and going back to before things got bad in America. Having read a lot of fictional world ending tales I just have to say what a breathe of fresh air it was to have a lead with intelligence and not doing exactly what they shouldn’t. A book like this usually will feel rather slow but this one actually never really felt that way with something always happening in both sides of the story so I flew right through it. Definitely would recommend checking out this creative retelling!

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.com/
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,115 reviews1,975 followers
July 2, 2019
A retelling of a fairy story set after the apocalypse. Sounds weird but it did not surprise me as I had already read a book by this author called Alice. She excels at writing the gruesome and gory plus her book covers are brilliant! Alice (The Chronicles of Alice, #1) by Christina Henry

The Girl in Red was not quite as good as Alice but it was still an excellent read. Red was a very interesting character indeed and it was so nice to read about someone who did NOT open that door or go down into that basement when it is obvious to everyone that would be the wrong thing to do. She was sometimes a little over the top with her attitude and some of the axe sequences were a tad unbelievable, but it's a fairy story after all, if a very bloodthirsty one!

So - a great book right up to the end when the author appeared to just stop writing. That was not an ending!!! Is there going to be a part 2?
Profile Image for Becca | Pages & Postcards.
61 reviews90 followers
June 25, 2019
DNF @ 30%.

Okay, this might be harsh, but I have a lot of thoughts. Be warned: ranting and spoilers ahead.

First of all, the info-dumping. Good god. There was so much background information bogging down the story, and yet none of it actually provided any real understanding of the plot or setting.

Second of all, Red is a very unlikeable character. She's a know-it-all, multi-talented teenager who is somehow able to out-fight and out-smart everyone around her. All of her convenient knowledge of medicine, diseases, and survival is apparently self-taught, and all of her fighting abilities originate from one self-defense class she took in college. The early chapters with her parents are especially frustrating to read because of how much smarter she seems, even though they are both college professors. She somehow knew everything about everything, and it was all just very unbelievable.

Also, the family dynamic is very...bizarre? Red's mom gets sick and her dad decides to stay behind with her while Red and her brother continue on a dangerous trek. He intends to either get sick and die with her, or kill himself if he survives. Excuse me but, what??? You're going to voluntarily die with your wife and leave your children alone to fend for themselves? Red isn't much better. When her and her brother are about to leave the house and a group of racists come to their house to kill them all for being black (?), and her entire family goes outside to meet them instead of hiding like Red told them to (???) she seriously considers sneaking out and leaving them all behind. This seems like very odd behavior for a supposedly strong, close-knit family.

The issue of racism is handled poorly, in my mind. The fact that Red is half black, half white came up so frequently that I felt like it was being shoved in my face.

Ultimately, this is a gory dystopian survival story about a deadly sickness and a girl who seeks to find safety at her grandmothers house, deep in the woods. I really wanted to like this (as I was fascinated by the premise of a dark Little Red Riding Hood retelling), but couldn't connect with the characters and the story couldn't hold my interest.
July 2, 2019
3.75

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!

Intrigued yet?

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 :)
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