Book Review: No Safety in Numbers by Dayna Lorentz
A biological bomb has just been discovered in the air ducts of a busy suburban mall. At first nobody knows if it’s even life threatening, but then the entire complex is quarantined, people start getting sick, supplies start running low, and there’s no way out. Among the hundreds of trapped shoppers are four teens.
These four different narrators, each with their own stories, must cope in unique, surprising styles, changing in ways they wouldn’t have predicted, trying to find solace, safety, and escape at a time when the adults are behaving badly.
This is a gripping look at people and how they can–and must–change under the most dire of circumstances.
And not always for the better.
Make no mistake about it, contagion novels are trending. Karen was completely right last week. And this book is not one to be missed when gathering together your book list of hand sanitizing reads.
Cast of characters:
– heading into work when jocks attempt to run him down in the parking garage and destroy his bike…
– daughter of a Senator and really not looking forward to a family excursion
– little brother of football star and desperate to fit in
– transplant to the area and takes to hiding out at the mall to escape loneliness and boredom
While Marco is running from the jocks who are hellbent on destroying his bike and pulverizing him, he dashes into a room and locates what looks to be a bomb and calls the authorities. Luckily for the authorities, Lexi’s mom, the Senator, is having lunch/breakfast with her family and immediately, along with the government, decides to shut the entire building down and quarantine the mall crowd inside. Ryan, out shopping for zombie makeup for a big party, is trying so hard to impress his older brother, the star quarterback, and the rest of the football team. Said teammates being those same jocks who tried to rundown Marco in the parking garage. And Shay? She’s just a new girl and trying to avoid being lonely by hanging out at the mall. She runs into Ryan in a store and the two are immediately taken by one another, but Shay is having to take care of her 10 year old little sister and her diabetic grandmother who just so happened to forget her medicine that morning.
While the four stories begin to come together and these teens learn that they may be fighting for survival, the pace never stops and you find yourself completely hurtling towards the end of this book.
One gripe that I did have is the fact that you really have to suspend some sort of belief when it comes to the people in the mall. It seemed as if everyone was just fine being stuck in the mall for the first few days with the promise of a gift card to keep them appeased. Um, hello? No thank you. $25 is not going to keep me from trying everything in my power to get the heck out of there. Quite possibly, since the story is told from the teens’ point of view, the author was showing that the teen’s were much more complacent in the beginning to go along with whatever was happening.
Closer to the end, the frantic nature of all involved starts to come to light but it still seems as if it was a far reach. What really made me go crazy is that the entire time I was reading this book, I thought it was a stand alone novel. Well, it’s not. So, if you are looking for this story to be tidied up at the end you will be devastated because it is another YA cliffhanger to start off a series.
I give this book 3 out of 5 stars…mainly because the suspension of belief was just too hard for me to pass over. Pair this book with Emmy Laybourne’s Monument 14 and Michael Northrop’s Trapped, along with any of the books mentioned in the Contagion Trend Watch!
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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