|Quarantine: The Loners|
July 10, 2012
416 pages, Hardcover
Synopsis: It was just another ordinary day at McKinley High—until a massive explosion devastated the school. When loner David Thorpe tried to help his English teacher to safety, the teacher convulsed and died right in front of him. And that was just the beginning.
A year later, McKinley has descended into chaos. All the students are infected with a virus that makes them deadly to adults. The school is under military quarantine. The teachers are gone. Violent gangs have formed based on high school social cliques. Without a gang, you’re as good as dead. And David has no gang. It’s just him and his little brother, Will, against the whole school.
Review: From page one, this book grabs you and doesn't let go. What starts out a bit jumpy, smooths out about 30 pages in and compels you to keep reading. The plot, although reminiscent of Trapped by Michael Nothrop and Gone by Michael Grant, still manages to be original enough that you really have no idea what iS going to happen. In a sea of predictable dystopian novels, that is so refreshing.
Having two degrees in biology and biomedical science, it was really hard for me to suspend reality and look past the absurdity of the plot. Even the most virulent of diseases out there would not infect anyone quick enough to kill them in seconds. Hours? maybe. Seconds? no. And if it only kills people past puberty, then why wouldn't the girls, who on average are a year or two ahead, show signs way sooner than the boys? Despite being so preposterous, I somehow was able to move past my incredulity as I became engrossed in the story.
My only other major complaint is that there weren't enough good moments and romance to offset the horrific and graphic violence thrown to you in every other scene. In movies, non-stop action is fine, even desired, but when reading something over the course of days, a nice respite from that is very welcome. It was almost as if the book was written with the intent to make it into an action movie, and humanity was just another casualty of that war.
Overall, gripping, fast-paced, and unpredictable -- it's going to be difficult to wait a year to see what happens next.
Quarantine: The Loners: 3.5/5 stars.
Cover: 4/5 stars
Audience Rating: PG-13 (Strong graphic violence involving teenagers, adult themes, language)