Release Date: July 10th, 2012
Genre: Young Adult/Post-Apocalyptic
Series: Quarantine #1
Source: I received an e-copy from NetGalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Blurb: 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.
In this frighteningly dark and captivating novel, Lex Thomas locks readers inside a school where kids don’t fight to be popular, they fight to stay alive.
Review: I had a LOT of issues with this book. First of all, the slut-shaming. It is HORRENDOUS. There is even a gang of girls called “The Sluts.” The word skank is thrown around a lot as well. There is not one female in this book that is portrayed positively. They are either weak, shallow, helpless, or catty. They use their bodies a lot to get things. It’s just…icky. As a woman, I felt really uncomfortable reading a good portion of this book. I’m not sure it’s appropriate for teenagers. Clearly, this is more of a book for boys. And I’m not a prude or anything, but I don’t think I would want my son thinking about women this way.
And then on top of that, this book was EXTREMELY violent. I don’t mind violence in books. One of my favorite YA books is The Enemy by Charlie Higson and that book is pretty grotesque. I just felt it was senseless and kind of unnecessary. It was just violence for the sake of having violence. If there’s a good reason for it, fine. But it was over the top here and I think some of the scenes went too far. I’ve never been a fan of the blood and gore movies. There needs to be a purpose.
As far as the plot goes, it was decent. I actually LIKED the story. It was suspenseful as hell. The setting was imaginatively rendered. But there was so much I didn’t care for that it kind of overshadowed the good. This isn’t an original plot by any means, but it was suspenseful and I read the whole thing. It’s not a BAD book, I just wish more thought had been put into some of the content.
The world-building was decent but I needed more detail. Especially on the virus that caused the whole breakdown of the school and its students in the first place. I don’t want to spoil anything but there was not enough information provided. If you are one of those people that need details in your post-apocalyptic landscapes, this book might irritate you a little. How it all came to be was presented in a pretty vague way.
Character development needed work. I know based on the writing that I was supposed to root for Will and David, but I found both of their characters annoying and frustrating. They were immature and bratty. Will was a whiny, reckless snot that kept doing stupid shit at the expense of everyone else. David was always serious, he was boring, and he went after the love of his brother’s life. And I’m supposed to look up to this guy. Um, thanks, but no thanks? There was a lot of telling in the writing when it came to the character development. There was no backstory to these characters so they were all pretty flat. And then I had an issue with not being able to root for any of the females because they were all whiny and helpless. NONE of the characters were likable. Just uninspired all around.
I wish I had liked it more. I kind of want to read the next one because I want to know how the story ends or continues or whatever, but I doubt I will. There are many better books out there that aren’t full of negative portrayals of women. There are books with similar storylines that won’t personally offend me. So I will probably pass. I’m not saying you shouldn’t read it, but if you are sensitive to excessive violence or slut-shaming, I would give this one a miss. It just didn’t really work for me.