ISBN: 978-1606843291 / 978-1606844380
Series: Quarantine Series
Publisher: Egmont USA
Formats Available: Hardback, Paperback
BLURB from Goodreads
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.
I purchased this paperback from Amazon.co.uk for myself as a birthday treat. It has been on my wishlist for quite a while, from before it came out in paperback. So I finally bought it for myself.
The cover shows a wrecked section of a school, which depicts the book well. The cover fits the post-apocalyptic/dystopian style of the book well. On the cover of my paperback is a quote from another well known author, which is one of my pet hates as I think such quotes belong on the back cover or inside sleeve of the book. On the book pictured above is the totally relevant byline "Graduate . . . . Or die trying". So would I pick this book up form a store shelf? Yes I would, the cover would do it's job in making me pick up the book, then the byline of "Graduate . . .or die trying" would intrigue me with the blurb finally selling the book to me.
So the two main characters are brother David and Will Thorpe. It will be Will's first day at the high school, and David is determined to look out for his younger brother. David used to be one of the popular sports guys. Until their mother died, then he just lost interest. Just as David is thinking of going back and re-joining the team, he commits an unforgivable act and fights with the new team leader Sam. Now there's no way he'll get back on the team.
There's a loud explosion at the school and a whole wing of the school blows up. The teachers start to collapse and die, soon there's only the teenagers left. There's some sort of virus that teen's carry, one such infected teen has run into the school and infected them all. The only thing the teens have to look forward to is graduation. The army has installed a booth, with a fingerprint scanner within it. When it's your turn to graduate you enter the booth, put your thumb on the scanner, a sign tells you if you have graduated and a small compartment open for the graduate to enter, he/she then is removed from the school and taken to a medical station and later released into the community. You see once you leave your teens and graduate the virus leaves your body. If you don't graduate and leave then the teens surrounding you that have the virus will infect you and you'll die.
Of course there's lots of teens that won't graduate for sometime there's also the problem of food and survival. The army drop a large package of food and other items needed for survival onto the football quad on a fortnightly basis. Obviously the food is literally grabbed and definitely not shared out! It really is survival of the fittest. The school splits up into groups. there's The Pretty One's - all the popular pretty girls are in this gang, and they only date and are therefore protected by The Varsity - The Athletic Boys. Then there's The Sluts - the not so pretty girls who can look after themselves. Then The Nerds, The Freaks, The SkaterBoys and anyone that's left is on their own and termed a "scrap".
Life would have been so much easier for David if he had made it back onto the team, then he would have been part of The Varsity group . . . but he hadn't got back on the team, and he had Will to look after so that made them Scraps. Obviously there's fights between gangs and people. Petty arguments before the explosion become the difference between being in a team and being a scrap. So David and Will are basically up against Varsity. Varsity are the strongest group, so no one wants to cross them at all. David finds himself up against Varsity with just his brother for help . . . and then before long the scraps begin to from their own "club/gang", they want David as their leader. There's an incident involving a girl thrown out of The Pretty One's and David ends up with the whole of Varsity wanting a piece of him, and its the fortnightly struggle for food and supplies. David can't afford not to do the run for food but he can't afford a broken leg either what is he going to do? Let's just say that help comes from an unlikely source.
I could go on and on there's so much more to the book than what I have given you a taster of above, but you really should read it and discover it for yourselves.
So did I enjoy the book? Yes, initially the book seemed a little slower paced than I liked and I began doubting my book choice, but once the pace picked up and after the explosion and the gangs were formed I became more drawn into what was happening and started caring about the characters. I loved all the different personalities and character traits of the Scraps. Would I recommend the book? Despite thinking perhaps I'd chosen a not so great book at the beginning yes I'd recommend it and tell you the slower paced part is all about setting the scene and learning about the teens before the explosion. So Yes I'd recommend it! Would I read the next book in the series? Yes and luckily I have just had a request for Bk#2 Quarantine: The Saints accepted so I will be reading and reviewing Bk2 for my blog etc. Would I read other books by Lex Thomas? I would certainly take a closer look at anything by Lex Thomas after reading Quarantine: The Loners so I guess that means yes!
BK#2 PURCHASE LINK