The Girl With All The Gifts

I’ll be posting 10 or so new blogs about books and media that are somehow related to HELLWORLD (which you can pre-order now!). Up first, a wonderfully written novel that should please fans of my novel SICK.


Melanie gets strapped to a wheelchair every day in order to go to school with several other young people. They exist in an apocalyptic world where most of humanity has died off…or rather, “died” with air quotes because a lot of folks infected by the disease that wiped humanity out are out there, and they’re hungry. What Melanie doesn’t understand at first is that she and her classmates are being used—that is, dissected—in order to try and find a cure or a way to stop the progression of the disease.

So yes, technically THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS is a “zombie” novel. But it’s really so much more, and so much better, than that.

Written by M.R. Carey and now a major motion picture with Glenn Close, THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS succeeds on its surface as a horror novel, full of dread, panic, and just enough gore for the gorehounds to enjoy. If that’s all a reader wants to take from it, so be it, but they’d be missing a whole lot.

Carey ( excels at writing three-dimensional characters, people so real you’re sure you know them, and all the more infuriating (in a good way) when they behave as real people actually do (especially real people under mortal stress). If you are a writer in need of a crash course in plotting, this would be great book to study: the main characters are under constant threat, which keeps the energy and pacing high even though Carey’s writing is blocky (big chunky paragraphs rather than the short, zippy grafs I like to use myself). Something else that sets this novel apart from other genre novels: There is no predicting the outcome.

Fans of any genre tend to know where things are going. It doesn’t stop us from reading more in that genre, of course. In fact, there’s a certain comfort to the predictability. Not so with THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS. I can’t recall the last time I read a novel where I thought, with virtually every turn of the page, “What in the hell is going to happen to these people??” That’s not an easy feat, but Carey does it wonderfully.

I took notes in the margins of this novel to refer to later. I’ll leave with my one-word summary, scrawled in black ink at the bottom of the last page:


Highly recommended for you fans of SICK! For you writers, head over to for short post on using this novel as a reference!


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