Published by EgmontUSA
Source: From Media Masters for review
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.My thoughts:
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.
This is a different kind of dystopian tale in which the alternate society is limited to a high school where teens are held captive. A virus is let loose that kills adults and is transmitted by the teens. They are left to their own devices and fed at intervals by the government by drops. They are kept within the walls of the school by a quarantine tent and the army. The kids form their own societies with "gangs". It's very Lord of the Flies kind of society.
While I did like the inventiveness about this society I was thinking it would be a character driven book. While this is not entirely wrong, it didn't really feel like an exploration of a certain character or a society. It was mostly about the action and how kids turned on each other quite easily. It was more about that than the coming together of groups for protection or why they chose their behavior. I did like the main character of David but couldn't honestly understand his brother Will. His jealousy just seemed ungenuine and a bit on the annoying side. However, I did like the way Will grew, it just happened a bit late in the book for me to really enjoy this character. There was also a love triangle that didn't quite work for me either, but then I'm not a fan of those anyway.
I did have a problem with this world quite a bit. I can suspend belief with the best of them, but there was just too much that I couldn't ignore. I can deal with the fact that the government acted so quickly. There could be a back story about that we are unaware. Also, where were the parents to fight for the kids? Again that could be backstory so I can accept that much. What I couldn't understand is that the researchers/government now had a microcosm society as well as excellent test subjects to study. I couldn't imagine them not studying what is so dangerous to most of society. You should also have more than one generation (oddly enough no one got pregnant which I couldn't buy) normally and could see how the virus affected infants. Also, the injuries would have killed those kids faster than someone being murdered. With the filth many lived in, the simplest scratch could mean death. There were too many severe injuries for them to not be killed by infection.
As an adventure I can see YA crowd enjoying the adventure and the action. I know a lot of people will love it for that. I can give it 3 stars for that alone. It is quite the adventure. It also ends in a way that makes me curious for the next book. No cliffies, but a huge open thread that makes you want to know more. I just need a bit more characterization and believable world building for me to rate it higher in those areas.