Thank you, Lydia and Titan Books, for sending me a copy of The Girl in Red by Christina Henry for free in exchange for an honest review.
I honestly couldn’t wait to get my hand on this as I loved The Mermaid and have The Lost Boy in my TBR pile. Christina has a wonderful talent for re-imagining classic fairytales and children’s books. Christina’s feminist re-tellings are just as enjoyable her fantasies and are unpredictable.
The Girl in Red is loosely inspired by European fairytale ‘Little Red Riding Hood’. Christina takes the tale of Little Red Riding Hood and turns it into a modern, apocalyptic story. Christina chose to relocate the story to a parallel modern-day USA, where a sickness, wiped out most of the population, leaving the country without power, means of communication, or local law enforcement. The government have set patrols to round up any survivors and depositing them in enforced quarantine.
However, Christina uses just enough of the original story elements we’re familiar with a red hoodie filling in for the hooded cape, the journey through the woods to grandmother’s house, and the dangers she encounters on her way there.
Now to our Red Riding Hood Cordelia, nicknamed Red, she is a strong woman in her early twenties and doesn’t trust that the government has her best interests at heart, so sets out on a mission to reach her grandmother, hoping that they will be safe in the wilderness of rural North America. Red just wants to survive, She's not trying to save the world, not trying to be a superhero. She is simply trying to survive and I loved every second of it. With society on the brink of extinction, survivors are desperate for survival, and Red's biggest threat isn't the virus it’s the people who are left.
Red is mixed-race, bisexual, and has a prosthetic leg and has a keen interested in facts and science and the will to survive at any cost. I think Christina has created a wonderful character that has a good representation. Red comes a gross as a strong-willed, independent lady, but as the book goes on, you get to see her softer side.
A lot of the tension comes from the format Henry uses the chapters alternate between Before and After points of view, I really enjoyed the After point of view but respected Christina’s choice to show how the outbreak crumbled society. This is an effective way to get your reader to keep turning the pages. It was very fast paced, which was great because it made me constantly want to keep reading. There was always something happening, that made me want to read more.