Melanie is special. She doesn't really understand why, but she's kept isolated in an underground facility. She's strapped to a wheelchair - immobilized - and taken to the classroom with other children like her every weekday. She has several teachers, but her favorite is Miss Justineau. She loves Miss Justineau.
I can't really say much about the plot. You don't understand what's going on with Melanie and these other kids at first, and that's intentional. It just adds to the tension. The reader slowly realizes that the outside world is gone. There are hungries and junkers out there. And Melanie is very lucky to be in here. Or is she? Melanie's "safe" world is shattered (along with everyone else) and she becomes part of an unlikely group fighting for their survival.
The strength of The Girl With All the Gifts is the strong emotions I felt for the characters. Miss Justineau is so sweet and caring, but I really didn't like her. Most of the time she's unreasonable and makes stupid (deadly) decisions. For a while I thought I liked the evil Dr. Caldwell better, but not really. She's warped in her own way. Admittedly, their situation is stressful and desperate which doesn't bring out their best.
The concept behind the "end of the world" is also fascinating, and to my unscientific mind seemed plausible. The ending may not be what the reader hopes for, but I enjoyed the irony.
The narrator, Finty Williams, does a great job. The Girl With All the Gifts is set in Great Britain, so her British accent is appropriate. Some of the characters sounded a bit alike, but it wasn't difficult to figure out who was speaking.
Anyone who enjoys dystopian/zombie/thriller books will enjoy The Girl With All the Gifts, including teens. I'm still thinking about this one, and that's always a good sign.
Published by Orbit, Hachette Audio, 2014
Copy obtained from the library
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