It’s a new world where puberty means death. It is the world of Quarantine- Book 1- The Loners by Lex Thomas, a YA adventure full of suspense. It hits shelves this week on July 10th.
The Story-(market copy) When an explosion rocks David and Will's suburban high school one morning, a deadly virus is unleashed on the school. The virus only infects teenagers in their peak puberty years, making them lethal to adults and children until they finish adolescence. Within minutes, every faculty member is dead. The military quarantines the building, opening fire on anyone attempting to escape and installing bi-weekly food drops.
After a year of quarantine, with no adults around, the students have created their own society. All of the social cliques have developed into gangs--The Nerds, The Geeks, The Freaks, The Sluts, The Skaters, The Burnouts, The Pretty Ones, and The Varsity--and each gang provides a service with which they can barter for provisions. Without a gang, it's almost impossible to secure food, water, territory, or supplies.
David and Will float just under the radar, until one day David sees his brother's long-time crush, Lucy, about to be attacked by a Varsity jock. Impulsively, he steps in to protect her, and winds up accidentally killing The Varsity member. Suddenly, the whole school is on the lookout for David and Will. How will the brothers survive and what will happen once David no longer carries the virus?
My Thoughts- This is a great YA book. The story is intense and full of action. The kids take on a Lord of The Flies mentally- violence and all. I was swept away by this story of high school kids living on their own, waiting for food drops from the military to survive. The high schooolers quickly divide into groups, finding it easier to survive if someone’s got their back. But these groups lead to trouble, and soon kids are being killed or brutally attacked.
David and Will both stay outside the lines, taking on the job of washing laundry to survive. But when the Jocks decide it’s time for David to pay for an accidental death, the brothers are forced into a group of their own, a group of loners. They stand strong and soon have a place at the school, but the Jocks are out for blood. I really liked the group of loners that form. They seem to look at David as a savior figure. And poor Will, he is in his brothers’ shadow. Will’s feelings become very evident through his actions, you can feel where he is coming from, but still wish he weren’t doing stupid things.
Then a great twist, there is a machine at the school that registers when a person is free of the virus and then they are released. Suddenly the machine fails and the older kids left inside the school, including David, face immediate death. So, the hunt is on for a way out of the quarantine, and what they find in the outside world is a really great set up for book 2.
There is a lot of violence in this book, I recommend it for mature YA readers.