Title: Quarantine: The Loners
*Series: Quarantine #1
Author: Lex Thomas
Pages: Hardcover; 416
Release Date: July 10, 2012
Content Screening: Violence; Adult Language
HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who love reads like Lord of the Flies and Gone.
Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
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'm guessing that Quarantine: The Loners is one of those books that most readers are going to love or lament, depending on who they are. This is a book that requires you to completely suspend disbelief and, quite honestly, fill in a lot of the blanks with your own imagination. I didn't mind so much, and I ended up enjoying this book immensely. It grabbed me, and I was happy to let it.
I wouldn't say this book is "original" like the cover mentions, although Lex Thomas does blend things that have been done before into something terrifying and beautiful. David and his brother exist in a world where survival is paramount. I've seen this concept in other books before, but it fit well with the high school setting. After all, what place is more cutthroat on a daily basis than high school? Take those same cliques, those same rivalries, and add in an event of apocalyptic proportions. That's what Quarantine: The Loners creates for the reader.
Most of the characters are cut and dry clique members, but the "loners" themselves are really who shine. I couldn't look away as these underdogs fought, against all odds, to survive. In fact, I think that's what really made the book for me. I liked David and Will, but I loved the supporting characters. There was so much to uncover beneath their surfaces and, like I mentioned above, I was more than willing to fill in any blanks. This book moves quickly and I was so immersed that I didn't realize I was nearing the end until there were no more pages left to read.
All in all I was pleasantly surprised with how much this debut brings to the table. I admit I would have liked to see more character development, and more explanation about the virus. The ending definitely left me wanting. Still, there's more in the series so I'm hoping things will resolve themselves. This book is a wild ride, and I know that I couldn't put it down. Next book, here I come.
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.