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.
Quarantine has been sitting on my shelf forever, essentially since it's original release, waiting for me to make time for it. So when I got asked by Edgemont if I'd like the second part I decided it was officially time to delve in.
Gritty, rough and super high tension, this book was quite a bit more graphic and violent then I'd anticipated. I expected Lord of the Flies type edginess and got that plus some hannibalesque gruesome. It also had interesting character interactions and left me wondering if teens would really go this south if put in a similar situation. How the kids divvied up into gangs based on nerdiness, athletic prowess, looks and other factors (mostly things they were known for prior to the breakout), was a spin I liked, especially the idea that there were a lot of kids who fell between the cracks and were screwed. Que the Loners.
My one issue was Will. He was so incredibly out of control, selfish and completely incautious it was impossible to like the guy. Which by the ending, is an issue. The idea that David could endlessly sacrifice to protect him, and still got treated like dirt by him, made their relationship grating. I would have liked some small token of compassion or something redeeming to his personality to offset the ugly.
In the end I think that was my one real issue with the story. I never felt deeply invested in any of the characters. They had all been whittled down to such tough little bastards that it was almost impossible to see the like-able bits.
The ending was quite the cliffhanger though and it left me eager to see where the story was going. Honestly, when I bought the book I was sure it was a one book story arc, and while reading it I was very unclear what the authors (Lex Thomas is a pen name for two authors) were going to do to spread this out over three books. It wasn't until the final few pages that the twist came along, and it was intriguing enough to make me come back for more.
So bring on Quarantine; The Saints!
Quarantine; The Loners, by Lex Thomas
Published by Edgemont, July 10th, 2012