Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her ‘our little genius’. Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh. Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children’s cells. She tells her favourite teacher all the things she’ll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn’t know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad. – Goodreads.com
I admit I read a couple of reviews of this book before I began reading it myself. The reviews were fabulous and hinted there was a big secret that shouldn’t be spoiled by reviews that might give it away, so I immediately stopped, anticipating a mind-blowing twist in this novel. About ten pages in, I figured it out and assumed since it was that easy, there must be something else. But there wasn’t.
Without giving anything away, this book is about a topic that’s pretty popular right now, but is explained in scientific terms that made complete sense and I liked that. Although the story was told in varying POV’s, I especially enjoyed learning how Melanie perceived her world and had to make decisions far beyond her years. I also found it fascinating being in loathsome Dr. Caldwell’s head to understand how she justified her actions. The relationship between Melanie and Sergent Parks was fascinating, and even touching at times as it evolved, although the primary focus was meant to be on the interaction between Miss Justineau and Melanie. I thought Parks was more of a realist, while Miss Justineau occasionally refused to see logic, although I really admired her spunk.
While this book had several ‘rush of adrenaline’ moments, adequate pacing, and kept my interest, I thought the title, and even the cover were misleading and probably missing this novel’s target audience. On the other hand, those who were misled but stick with it may be surprised at how much they enjoy this book.
I would recommend The Girl With All the Gifts to sci-fi, horror, and dystopian readers – it was a different take on a subject that’s been around for quite some time and was an engaging read.
This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.