Review: Pandemic by Yvonne Ventresca

Author: Yvonne Ventresca
Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Expected Publication: May 6, 2014
Even under the most normal circumstances, high school can be a painful and confusing time. Unfortunately, Lilianna's circumstances are anything but normal. Only a few people know what caused her sudden change from model student to the withdrawn pessimist she has become, but her situation isn't about to get any better. When people begin coming down with a quick-spreading illness that doctors are unable to treat, Lil's worst fears are realized. With her parents called away on business before the contagious outbreak-her father in Delaware covering the early stages of the disease and her mother in Hong Kong and unable to get a flight back to New Jersey-Lil's town is hit by what soon becomes a widespread illness and fatal disaster. Now, she's more alone than she's been since the "incident" at her school months ago.

With friends and neighbors dying all around her, Lil does everything she can just to survive. But as the disease rages on, so does an unexpected tension as Lil is torn between an old ex and a new romantic interest. Just when it all seems too much, the cause of her original trauma shows up at her door. In this thrilling debut from author Yvonne Ventresca, Lil must find a way to survive not only the outbreak and its real-life consequences, but also her own personal demons.


''Depending on how long the crisis lasted, every bit of food could become critical''

Next to Zombies, Pandemic stories are probably my favorite thing to read about when it comes to Apocalyptic type stories. Pandemic had all the makings of being a great read in the genre with a fast spreading plague, no parents to rely on for the mc and just a bit of drama added to keep things interesting. So what happened? Why didn't I love this as much as I'd hope? Well I'll tell you and it almost all stems from the main character Lilliana.

One of the things that just didn't click for me when it came to Pandemic was the drama surrounding Lilliana. We learn early on that some traumatic event happened to her and it's changed practically everything about her behavior. Which is fine and certainly would've added to things if her reasons didn't feel so overblown once revealed. 

Let me make myself clear, I'm not trying to sympathize with the teacher because he was certainly in the wrong, abuse of power and all that but I don't believe the incident would be enough to alter her personality as much as it did. Making her into a rape victim when she isn't one doesn't sit well with me. Plus even the school and parents want her to keep quiet so maybe, just maybe, she was actually leading him on and that is why he was let go quietly instead of his behavior making headlines. Cause I know if that was my child no way would I be keeping my mouth shut. But there must've been some doubt since they did. Also the Author paints him as apologetic not some creepy pedo and you'd only do that if you didn't think the Student was to blame in some way as well or else why try and make him redeemable?

OK enough about that, Another thing I found frustrating was Lilliana's lack of smarts. She knows looters are around and yet doesn't take any steps to conceal her stuff. When she loses it all I felt no shred of sympathy. Who goes for a walk while a Pandemic is raging? I'd understand if she was out of supplies and desperate but being cooped up and bored simply was stupid.  If it was just a matter of wanting fresh air go out in the backyard you know??

Lastly, my main issue with Lilliana and I guess by extension the plot had to do with the love triangle. There was 0 need for it. Lilliana because she's "damaged" breaks up with the first guy before the book even starts. Early on he's described as this supposedly sweet, caring guy but as soon as she starts hooking up with guy #2 all of a sudden he's a jerk who doesn't understand her "issues" which Hello?!? Is your fault since you refused to talk about them in the first place!

Now even though I took plenty of issue with Lilliana and certain plot points I did like some aspects of the story.

First off, I loved how the characters pulled together to help the community despite putting themselves in danger by doing so. It's nice to see characters stay civilized and not turn into self centered savages the moment shtf. 

I also really liked the character Jay. He was always thinking ahead and seemed more grounded in reality then lily. Maybe this was because he was a true survivor instead of just playing one. 

Lastly, I liked the Plague itself. It's nasty and the Author wasn't afraid to describe it as such. If you don't like images of bloated and rotting corpses described in detail then this book might not be for you. For me though I think it was nice that the Author didn't shy away from all these little details or sugar coat things for the sake of the Audience.

Final Thoughts
Pandemic might not have been a perfect book but in the end I'm happy with my overall experience reading it. Would I recommend Pandemic? Yes, I think the majority of readers can connect with the feeling of helplessness Lilliana feels being separated from those she loved during a time of need. With that being said, I'll be rating Pandemic by Yvonne Ventresca ★★★.

 *Copy reviewed provided by Edelweiss.  All opinions are my own and I was not compensated in an which way  for providing them.

About the Author
Follow: Twitter / Goodreads
Before becoming a children’s writer, Yvonne Ventresca wrote computer programs and taught others how to use technology. Now she happily spends her days writing stories instead of code, and passing on technology tips to writers. Yvonne’s the author of the young adult novel Pandemic, available in May 2014 from Sky Pony Press. In Pandemic, a teen struggles to survive not only a deadly outbreak and its real-life consequences, but also her own personal demons. Yvonne’s other writing credits include two nonfiction books for kids, Avril Lavigne (a biography of the singer) and Publishing (about careers in the field) along with various articles for teens and adults. You can visit her website at


  1. I know how much you enjoyed Zombie stories and I am really happy you enjoyed this one despite the issues you had with Lilliana and some plot elements. Great review :)

    1. Lol yep, sure do. As for Pandemic,I definitely think had I liked the mc more my overall enjoyment would have been greater.

  2. Great review! I once had an author ask me why I gave her a 3.5 but still wanted to read book two. It's exactly this kind of thing, you enjoy some of the book but not all which is totally fine!

    I also love pandemic/zombie type of stories so I'll have to pick this one up. Although just from your description I can totally see why Lilliana would be a thorn in your side. I'll be ready for her!


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