The Children’s Hospital

I’ll admit, I bought this book 100% based on its cover.  There’s no description on the back, so I had no idea what it was about until I found the synopsis on Goodreads.  I wasn’t expecting anything, but it still probably wouldn’t have been what I was expecting.  

Chris Adrian wrote a modern-day Noah’s Ark story.  Instead of Noah and a bunch of animals, the “ark” is a children’s hospital full of sick kids, their  doctors, some family members, and a preserving angel.  The rest of the world is gone beneath 7 miles of water.  

The story changes focus between different characters.  Sometimes it’s the angel who is connected to Jemma.  Sometimes it’s Jemma (the main character) or another person in the hospital.  Occasionally it’s Jemma’s brother or a story from Jemma’s past.  It took me a while to realize it, but you can find out who the chapter is about based on the symbol on the page.

Essentially what happens is that this hospital, protected by the preserving angel, is the only vessel left in the world.  The people inside must form a new set of rules for their society and try to plan for what they’ll do if they reach land.  

Jemma, who is a mediocre doctor, develops powers.  She is able to summon a healing fire, curing every sick child of whatever plagued them before.  One of the children asks her if she’s Jesus, but she says she’s just Jemma.  

This story is so fascinating because it has very clear religious elements– angels, the flood, an “ark” of sorts– but it doesn’t read as if that’s the focus. 

My biggest problem with it was the ending. I was not happy with the way things turned out.  I don’t want to spoil it, but after all they went through in the hospital, I certainly wanted more for them. 

Still, it was a fascinating read.  Dark and twisted in some spots, but bright and humorous in others.  Worth the read if you’re looking for something weird but good.

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