The Girl in Red is an epic journey through a post-apocalyptic world, following a twenty-something protagonist as she fights her way through the dangers of rural America. From the start, the book doesn’t shy away from the gruesome realities of desperate people doing anything to survive. Red kills when she has to and is always a step ahead of those around her. It’s inspiring to experience the story through such a strong protagonist who doesn’t take crap from anyone. She is constantly second-guessed by the men who pop in and out with their guns and antiquated notions but she prevails nonetheless.
The story is written in such a way that it begins to creep into the back of your mind, sending off a myriad of worries to your brain as you imagine what you would do in such circumstances. Would you realize what was happening and prepare for the end of the world? Would you have what it takes to survive in the wilderness against enemies who would imprison you? Would you know what to do when the going gets tough? I was left looking around my house, realizing how unimportant most things are when an apocalypse is top of mind. It’s safe to say I was in a sort of panic by the end of the book, and that kind of realism isn’t easy to find.
The book got to me on such a deep level because of the realism infused into Red and her thoughts about the world. She’s a skeptic who knows a lot about everything and uses that knowledge to survive. We get the details about what happens when major governmental systems begin to shut down. We see the terrors of walking in on a plague scene and fearing you may have been contaminated. The most terrifying aspect is the shift in how she views other people. In our daily lives, people are everywhere and, many times, it’s a welcome sight. There’s a subtle shift in Red’s post-virus world and suddenly everyone else is an enemy. It leaves you thinking just how delicate society really is.
Overall, The Girl in Red is the kind of apocalypse fiction that will leave you thinking long and hard about the realities of a post-civilization life. If you’re like me, you may find yourself looking through your cabinets and adding a few cans of food during the next trip to the grocery store.
The Girl in Red
By Christina Henry
Published by Berkley
NOTE: I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.