Monday, January 28, 2013

Review: Quarantine: The Loners by Lex Thomas


Lex Thomas
Publication Date: July,2012
Publisher: EgmontUSA
(Dear Cassie)

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:

Take every clique from your average High School, throw them together in a desperate life or death situation where they've been quarantined from any adult interaction and you have one hair raising thrill ride. Mix together Mean Girls with The Hunger Games and a little bit of The Stand thrown in and you have the plot of this book.

I've had Quarantine: The Loners since last summer to review. For one reason or another I'd start it and put it down promising myself I'd pick it back up up at another date. 7 months later I finally finished it and I must say damn this book was good. Why was it so good? Well, read on and you will find out.

The Plague- We don't really learn to much about the origins of the mysterious disease that infects the teens. We do however learn that the teens are toxic to any adults or young children, killing any who come in contact with them within seconds. The disease also turns the teens hair white making those infected easily identifiable least to me it seems this is why this happens. The effects it turns out aren't permanent and teens will eventually shed the disease. On the downside, as soon as it leaves the teens system they have a very brief window of time before succumbing to the affects themselves. Not good when you are quarantined inside with those carrying it.

The Cliques- The Freaks, Jocks (Varsity), Sluts, Pretty Ones, The Loners, Geeks, and Nerds are the main groups in Quarantine. They are the type of cliques you'd see in any average High School at any given time under normal circumstances. Now throw in the life or death situation, no adults to monitor these teens, and plenty of hormones and emotions running on high, it's no wonder they'd all band together how they did to survive.

The Characters- I loved David he was the sole voice of reason consistently throughout the book. Being a Senior already at the start of the book you'd think he'd be at the top of the pecking order but due to events the night before the Quarantine he is kicked down to the lowest rung of the social ladder and to cap it off he's also hated by his former friends. Sadly, if it wasn't for his brother starting HS the next day he might have avoided all those months of isolation that day. Speaking of David's brother. He went from someone David could rely on, to one who I wanted to smack more times than I could count. He does redeem himself towards the end though, so I can forgive him. I also really enjoyed seeing the personalities from various cliques. Zachary and Violent in particular were my favorites. Even though they weren't featured prominently the brief glimpses really glued the story together nicely.

The Evil Teens: Every good story needs a villain, you would think it would be the virus but nope it's the teens at the top of the pecking order. Varsity and The Pretty Ones made life miserable for everyone. Which of course is bad for the characters, good for us as readers. I really can't wait for the next book, I hope some of the characters involved in making David's life miserable get their comeuppance, especially with that ending!!

Now even though I loved this book, it did have a few small flaws. The first being I just didn't find it believable that a whole school could be quarantined and not one parent tried to make contact with the teens inside. The students had drops frequently so why no letters or hell even personalized care packages. Just seemed odd to me. The only other flaw I had was I felt the book was to long. While the pacing was OK some parts felt as if they dragged on and added very little to the overall story. Condense the story down to around 350 pages and I'd probably have given this 5 stars.

Overall Quarantine: The Loners was a highly enjoyable book. I'd definitely recommend picking Quarantine: The Loners up and giving it a go. I believe any age group will find this story enjoyable but it definitely will resonate better if you've been through the hell that is High School. In the end I will be rating Quarantine: The Loners by Lex Thomas ★★★★.

*I received this book to review from Netgalley. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated in any way for providing them.

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