The Girl in Red

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 18 Jul 2019

Member Reviews

This was a wonderful read in all of its horrifying, nail-biting, bloody glory. I love the fairytale retelling against the apocalyptic backdrop and I'll be turning the story over and over in my head long after I've finished it.
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‏I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book so I could give an honest review.

The Girl in Red by Christina Henry is a retelling of the classic story Little Red Riding Hood. In this version, Red is living in a post-apocalyptic wasteland caused by a highly contagious disease. Everyone Red knows has died but she hopes her grandmother will still be alive since her house is isolated. Most survivors have been relocated to quarantine camps but Red would rather go to her grandmother's house.

It is told using alternating timelines that reveal the beginning and the spread of the disease and Red's struggle to get to her grandmother's house in present day.

The book took some time for me to get into the story but it has a nice pace to it. You quickly realize it is not a mystery or suspenseful book. It is a believable retelling of the perennial classic Little Red Riding Hood so there will not be any twists and turns but involves a well-written and imaginative retelling.

The Girl in Red is one of the many retellings Christina Henry has written. Others involve the classic works of Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and the Little Mermaid.

The Girl in Red was a 2019 Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Horror.

This 200-word review was published on on 2/6/20.
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I am a member of the American Library Association Reading List Award Committee. This title was suggested for the 2020 list. It was not nominated for the award. The complete list of winners and shortlisted titles is at 
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The Girl in Red
Christina Henry
Berkley, June 2019
ISBN 978-0-451-49228-9
Trade Paperback

From the publisher—

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….

I read this book during the holidays and, weeks later, I’m still stewing about it. I guess that’s not necessarily a terrible thing because, after all, it means the book made a lasting impression on me but…

Red is a young woman who’s apparently alone in the world following the advent of a pandemic cough but we soon learn that’s not entirely true. The author switches the scene back and forth from just before to now and back again, a style that can be confusing but it works well here. Red is determined to get to her grandmother’s house deep in the forest but has a perilous journey to get there. Fortunately, she’s somewhat prepared for the dangers she faces because she prepared well, unlike her parents and brother (who is so clueless you have to wonder how he made it as long as he did even before the Crisis). To add to her difficulties, Red is an amputee and, not that it matters to the story but she’s biracial, a nice touch.

Red has a number of twisty turny encounters but she keeps going for weeks, fending off bad guys and monsters as well as the government that wants to put everybody in quarantine (but even the government offers a hero of sorts) and the nearly unbearable tension kept me reading far into the night. As post-apocalyptic stories go, this one is a doozy and I loved how Ms. Henry turned Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf into an even scarier tale. So, why am I so bent out of shape? Well, I can’t tell you specifically because it would be a major spoiler but let me just say that Chapter 15 has a whopper of a surprise and I was left wanting so much more. I’m really torn because until then I was completely immersed but that nonending left me cold. Fortunately, not every reader sees it that way; all I can say is Bah Humbug…but dagnabbit, this was good!

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, January 2020.
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Red is on her own, trying to make her way to her grandmother’s house. Danger could be around any turn. Sound familiar? This postapocalyptic Little Red Riding Hood-like novel has much more higher stakes. The Crisis has decimated most of the population. It started with a cough and now the military is rounding up survivors to put in quarantine, which is not an option Red is willing to consider. As Red travels by foot, she reminisces about the past, including what led her to her current situation and the fate she now faces. This now hardened woman is not the same person she was three months ago. The disease is not the darkest of enemies out there, Red knows. She has seen firsthand how cruel mankind can be. When she stumbles on a couple of children in the woods, she cannot just leave them there. They are scared and have little in the way of supplies. They do not know how to protect themselves. She also does not want to be deterred from her path. She must get to her grandmother’s house.

Red has had to toughen up and cut herself off emotionally for survival's sake. She has one good leg, the other being a prosthetic, which adds its own challenge on her journey. I really felt for Red from the start, understanding her need to distance her grief. She does not want the burden of caring for the two children, but she is good at heart and must at least help them prepare for the world they now live in. You can imagine The Girl in Red is full of tension given the circumstances. Christina Henry paints a very dark world Red is now living in: a deadly illness, government quarantines, government secrets, militia groups with ill intent, and the coming winter. The ending came all too soon, and seemed a bit rushed given the attention to detail throughout the rest of the novel. I was left a little unsatisfied the way things were left off. Even so, I really enjoyed The Girl in Red and look forward to reading more by Christina Henry.
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4.4 stars

I was super excited about this book because I totally loved the Mermaid!

And it was great! Christina is definitely one of my all-time fav writers!

I did enjoy it but it wasn't as exciting as I was expecting, I think it was maybe the pace.

The story does deliver all danger and action the blurb promises and the characters and story are really good! So if the pace had been faster I would have given it 5 stars. 

The writing was still SUPERB so I'm looking forward to reading more of Christina's books!
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I really enjoyed a great many things about this book. Characters were fleshed out and the plot was well spaced. Some of the secondary storylines could've used a bit more page space but all in all an enjoyable read!
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I received this book in exchange for a honest review from NetGalley.

I really really enjoyed this book, but the ending felt very rushed. i loved the characterization of Red and all of the various characters along the way (though some of them did feel like they could have been developed a little further). Overall this book just felt about 25% shorter than it needed to be.
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3.5 stars

This book combines two of my favorite "good times enjoyment" genres.
Fairy tale retelling
and the whole end of the world thing.

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.
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Red is alone in the woods. She is making her way to her grandmother's house in the woods. And she must look out for those who would see her and see an easy target, someone to eat up.

Red is amazing, I love her and her characterization. She is a paranoid girl who actually prepared for the apocalypse, or at least she is prepared to not believe the government when they say they must be quarantined for their own safety. As Red and her family try to get ready to hike out to Grandmother's house, she realizes that her family doesn't appreciate the danger they are in, that the world as they know it has come to an end, and it frustrates her to no end.

To me, Red is a character that a lot of people can relate to. She is someone who has been told her whole life that she cannot do something, that she is either too weak, too soft, too hard, too anything to be doing something correctly. She does all that she can to prepare, to be ready, to keep her family safe and sound and together. But when things devolved and her family ended separated from her, Red continues forward, she continues onto her Grandmother's house.
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The Girl in Red is a post-apocalyptic re-write of Little Red Riding Hood. Absent, however, is the vulnerable girl of the classic fairy tale. Instead, readers are treated to heroine with formidable survival instinct; a young woman channelling both the woodsman and the wolf: “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.” The Girl in Red is another of Henry’s classic tale reboots. She’s creatively and skillfully reimaged other stories including Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan. 

When a viral illness devastates the United States, Red seeks refuge in the remote cabin of her grandmother. To get there, she must embark on a cross country hike through dangerous territory. Armed with her beloved red hoody, a hand axe, and her exceptional survival instinct, Red faces unimaginable horrors throughout her quest. The plot unravels non-linearly between past and present. The story is terrifying, heartbreaking, and inspiring. 

The Girl in Red is a study in society. Henry bravely launches a scathing critique of contemporary society. Woven into the fabric of the story is critical commentary on consent, discrimination, gender equity, racism, and guns. The best, and worst, parts of society are magnified and completely terrifying: “ ‘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.’ ” There’s a twinge of optimism, though. Henry presents a diverse and inclusive cast of characters. While innocent victims abound, survivors are beautifully sensitive and intensely intelligent.
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It starts off slow and kind of dense, but once the action begins, it's hard to resist the story as it drives forward. It reads as a true epic, one that makes you feel the world really has been reshaped as you read it. Would recommend.
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DNF @ 8%

I don't know if it was me during the times I attempted to read this novel or if it was the book, but I struggled to really get a foothold in this story. I'm certainly not done with trying as I want to get into this book so badly, but I figured it best to put it aside for a few months and try again when I'm in a different mindset since it hasn't worked the last couple of times. If I'm able to get into it, I'll update my review then.
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Admittedly, I requested this book immediately just based on who the author was. I LOVED Lost Boy and I've been meaning to pick up more of her books. Once I settled in to read it and I realized it was a post apocalyptic story, I hesitated because I am just so over post apocalyptic stories. I rarely find them interesting and I mostly DNF them or avoid reading them on purpose.

However, Christina Henry's wonderful writing had me flying through this book. I loved the subtle retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. It was there and obvious, but also not an overwhelming presence. I especially loved the added detail that Red had a prosthetic limb. As a former nurse, I didn't have any reason to pause and research the medical conditions, which is something I find all too often in reading.

The story was fast paced, but gave us enough time to get to know the characters. The alternating timelines kept me engaged and one timeline often alluded to the other to keep me reading between chapters. My heart broke with Red when certain major events happened. I also appreciated her preparedness and her pragmatic approach to the disease and getting to Grandma's house. Overall, Henry didn't disappoint me at all and though this isn't my favorite new book, I absolutely enjoyed it and will be picking up more books from the author.
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I really enjoyed this book. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, Red is a college-aged girl who has to fend for herself as she makes her way to her grandmother's home. I was initially concerned that this book would be a too literal take on "Red Riding Hood"--Red wears a red hoodie, calls bad men "wolves," and is heading to her grandma's--however, any references were subtle and helped to build characterization. I felt invested in the character of Red and her journey. I could easily visualize the action and think this book would make an awesome movie/TV show.
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Didn’t get past the first chapter of this. More apocalyptic sludge and violence. Just not for me, perhaps.
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Christina Henry is one of my go to authors and this book did not disappoint. I loved the post-apocalyptic world and the way she handled the main character. Bought a copy and have hand sold several to my regular customers. I can't wait to see what comes next! 5 stars-and if I could give it higher I totally would.
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This is realistic post apocalyptic. My rating 4.25.

Red is a young woman who survived the ‘Crisis’. A terrible coughing virus has destroyed society as it used to be. Red had hoped that her family – parents and brother - could get to her grandmother’s house. But now she is on her own in a red jacket trying to avoid the predators, the marauders and the government (maybe?) troops.

Red is pragmatic and knows to scavenge for items needed to survive. That includes blankets for warmth, canned goods for food and an axe for protection. Red is determined but she will face terrible odds, not just in lawless people but in a deadly monster that she would never have believed in if she hadn’t seen it with her own eyes.

I initially thought this might be a fairy tale retelling, but the similarities are limited. After all, in this story the wolves may have to be afraid of Little Red. I choose not to describe more of the details to avoid spoilers. I liked that this post-apocalyptic tale has a lot of realistic elements. The author also deals nicely with several timely issues like racism and sexual orientation. Red is a wonderful character of intelligence and strength in a desperate situation. The ending leaves some questions, but the story is really about a frightening journey which shares sorrow and hope. I recommend this to fans of the post-apocalyptic genre.

Source: 2019 NetGalley.
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What a fun and chilling retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. I really enjoyed this novel and will look for other books by Christina Henry to read. A little disappointed that we never find out where the cough outbreak came from or what people were doing to fight it so that was frustrating. But in general, a book I will recommend to many of my customers.
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I love fairytales and folklore with a passion, on the same token I adore the postapocalyptic genre so this postapocalyptic take on the  classic "Little Red Riding Hood" caught my eye. First off, having the protagonist  be a biracial disabled young woman with a prosthetic isn’t common. It was welcomed and I really enjoyed the development her character had throughout the book.  Red is a survivor, a realist and most of all, now alone. No family. No friends. Just her and her common sense and stubbornness that’s kept her alive. In this new world where an infection decimated the most of the population, known as  the Crisis changed the world as everyone knew it. 

What I loved was the pacing of this book until—well, the climax which fell flat but surfed to a fantastic but realistic ending. (Fell flat as a character from earlier in the book appeared and changed the course of what was happening—very jarring)There is a HUGE defining moment after a bout of action that really makes Red, or Cordelia stand out and shine. There’s flashbacks here and there that take into account the early days of The Crisis that cut in and out and are as heartbreaking and that are informative. I can appreciate the progression of the virus *small spoiler* it evolves-- although the author doesn’t give much detail into more backstory for the virus which may frustrate some readers.  

This is a dark and gritty tale and I figured that going in yet there are a number of caution warnings which should include some racial violence/individuals with racist leanings that participate in an event that we, thankfully, don’t get full details on but it stunned me into putting down my kindle. It did its job in producing such a visceral reaction from me, but hey—it does factor in in who I recommend this read to. The Girl in Red is a well written book with a unique premise that draws you in with plenty of moments where I had to highlight  line after line that gripped me. The postapocalyptic take on the "Little Red Riding Hood is worth picking up—the situations Red finds herself in and how she reacts are realistic, engaging and emotionally provoking. We get a character that I mostly enjoyed following as her character development is top tier and in the end, her victories, while hard won are earned which makes the ending so satisfying.
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