Book Review: Quarantine 1: The Loners by Lex Thomas
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.
When I got this ARC in the mail, I thought to myself, “Oh great…another book about kids killing kids that is trying to catch on to The Hunger Games fetish”. Boy, was I wrong. I started reading this book, got to page 4 or 5, and then thought that I had missed something. That maybe it was printed incorrectly because immediately, within the first few pages, I was thrown into the action. David is trudging along, ready to experience his first day of school when something absolutely INSANE happens and his teacher completely convulses and practically explodes right in front of him. And then there is an explosion, destroying part of the school.
As time passes, and more than a few hours, these kids have been there for WEEKS, you find out that all the adults are dead and that the government has closed the school completely off so that no one can leave and nothing can get in, besides the food and supply drops. So, imagine The Hunger Games mixed with Lord of the Flies mixed with Trapped by Michael Northrop and there you have it. Teens, trapped with no adult guidance, left to fend for themselves. But of course, the teens group off in their cliques and David, a social outcast, is left with his little brother Will, in an attempt to survive. The teens begin to act almost barbaric and the author leaves nothing out, from emotions running wild to the violent food and supply drops, where every clique is fighting to the death for food and supplies.
The book is frighteningly realistic and I was completely chilled to the bone while I read. One of the most gripping books that I’ve read in quite some time and with many different plot twists and turns, waiting for the next book may very well kill me. I was swept away from page one and I couldn’t put it down! I give this book 5/5 stars! – Stephanie Wilkes
Karen says Quarantine is “Lord of the Flies mixed with Trapped/Variant but on steroids”. There is some ultraviolence, to borrow from A Clockwork Orange, but some students make courageous decisions and that twist in the end will keep you on the edge of your seat for book 2. Quarantine has already been optioned for a movie.
Filed under: Book Reviews
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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