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Book Review: Girl with All the Gifts

Title: The Girl with all the Gifts

Author: M.R. Carey

Spec Spot

What's it about?

Melanie's known no other way of life then living on the base and, for the most part, she content sleeping in her cell, going to the school room at the end of the hall, and spending most of the rest of her time in her cell again. She's even okay being strapped into her chair everytime she leaves the cell. While she doesn't understand what she is, entirely, she does know that it's safer to be on the base then not, where hungries rule so much of the land, eager to feast on any living thing they can. But then, she finds herself running for her life, with her favorite teacher, Miss Justineau, Sarget Parks who wants her dead and Dr. Caldwell who sees her as nothing but a science experiment and a means to an end while Gallagher happily follows orders from Parks. It seems like only one person really cares about her and she learns more about what she truly is and how to safely embrace.

But as the group travels and fight infection, hungries and junkers, they each forge their own relationship with Melanie and realize that she might just be their key to survival, weather they like it or not. But will Melanie always side with them? Or will she eventually turn on them?


Favorite Character: I think I have two this time. The first one is Ms. Justineau. She was almost a softness that the story sometimes felt like it needed. She wasn't always the most logical or mythodical. She didn't always act on her own survival, but she seemed to be fueled, often, by emotion. She tried to do what she thought was right. She also was one of the few people who tried to look into a person really was rather then judge with just a few pieces of information.

My other favorite was Melanie (I'm sure that's no great surprise) but what I liked about her most was her strength, her loyalty and her determination. While so much about her was a mystery and so much of what they thought they knew came from generalizations, she continued to be her own being and prove that there are exceptions to the rules.

Least Favorite Character: Dr. Caldwell wins this title. I get that in order for her to do what she wanted to do, and what she'd made her life's mission to do, she had to distance herself but l couldn't help feeling like in the process she was cruel, cold, and almost narrow minded. She cared more about the science then anyone or anything.

Favorite Part: This is a hard one, partially because this book is pretty dark from the start but when i think about my experience reading it, I find that the times I smiled the most, the times I felt the most hope and joy was when Melanie was in school, especially when Ms. Justineau read the Greek Myths Melanie loved so much or when Melanie wrote her own story.

Least Favorite Part: Time in Caldwell's lab on the base. There are were more then one parts of this book that really bothered me, but this was the first one. I was disgusted by Caldwell's coldness that almost presented as lack of humanity. Sure, this feeds into some important philosophical questions but I couldn't help cringe at her cruelity.

I also really disliked a scene towards the end in which Caldwell makes some choices, again, in the name of science, that I also really disliked, which might be just a hair behind the time in the lab with Caldwell as far as least favorite moments.

Favorite Quote: "Of course she'd save the kids if she could, if there was any way, but you can't save people from the world. There's no where else to take them." (pg. 51)

Other Thoughts:

This book was...something. I'm not usually one for Zombies or Zombie-ish books but these Hungries didn't feel like any old zombies. And, while Melanie was a girl about 12 and she did feel that way at times, it didn't feel like a middle school book. It's dark and stealthily emotional. It's philosophical without telling you that it is, but it's hard not to question what is is that makes us human and, if it's more then biology, does that mean that beings who appear human aren't humans at all but monsters? What made Caldwell human and Melanie not when Melanie acted with more compassion and humanly then Caldwell did. And I spent about half of this book questioning if I really liked it, though I needed to know how the group faired so I wasn't going to stop reading. In fact, after I finished it, my husband asked a question he asks often after I finished a book, "Did you love it?" and I didn't have an answer for him other then, "I'm not sure. I think I need to marinate on this one." And, honestly, I don't think I realized how much I liked the story until we watched the movie and, well, let's just say the book was better! I may have spent an hour or two after my husband and I watched the movie telling him all the ways the movie was wrong and how it was in the book.

But..I don't think we're supposed to love it like our favorite fantasy or romance. I'm not going to get excited if I see Melanie merch and buy all of it I can find. I'm not going to obsessed with it, but I do feel Melanie and her found family (weather they willingly or unwillingly became a part of the closest thing to family she ever had) seep into me. I think about the ending and I'm still not exactly sure how I feel about it. I think about Melanie, who was so strong and humane when no one expected her to be; no one believed that she could be and I think about Caldwell. As cold and heartless as I find her, was she right? Was the science worth it all? Should she have spent time finding ways to do things differently? Sometimes my heart and mind struggle to find a compromise on that. Maybe I'm still marinating. Or, maybe there just isn't an answer. Maybe, sometimes just asking the question and exploring it openly is all we're really meant to do.

I think this is one of books I'll happily recommend to people who are looking for something different, or are looking for a good zombie apocalypse book. Sure, these monsters aren't called zombies and they don't act like traditional zombies but I loved that shift. I loved that reimagining. I don't think I'll read it again and again,but I don't think it's going to leave me anytime soon, either.


I give this book a


out of 10 greek myths

But that's just what I thought, what did you think? Did you hate it? Did you love Caldwell? Let us know in the comments.

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