Author: Lex Thomas
Pages [hardcover]: 416
favorite characters: David & Will
The Thorpe brothers are on their own. Ever since their mom died, and their dad took a big job, David’s been forced to play parent to his epileptic younger brother, Will. He knows he’s got to teach Will how to take care of himself sooner rather than later. But when a mysterious explosion rocks their high school one morning, David realizes he needs to teach Will real survival skills, if the two of them are going to make it out alive. With the explosion, a deadly virus is unleashed on the school. The virus only infects teenagers in their peak puberty years, causing them to lose their hair and making them lethal to adults and children. Within minutes, every faculty member is dead. The military quarantines the building, opening fire on any escape attempt and installing bi-monthly food drops. After a year of quarantine, with no adults around, all of the social cliques have developed into gangs—The Nerds, The Geeks, The Freaks, The Skaters, The Pretty Ones and Varsity—and without a gang, it’s almost impossible to survive.
Because of an old grudge, David is hated by Varsity, the scariest gang in school. Because no gang wants trouble from Varsity, nobody wants David or Will as a member. Now, more than ever, the brothers need to work together, but if the school doesn’t kill them, sibling rivalry will.
In this dark and captivating debut, Lex Thomas takes readers on a thrilling ride of a high school where fitting in is a matter of life-or-death.
As soon as I started reading this book, I couldn’t put it down. Quaranteen follows what happens after a regular high school is infected with a disease fatal to all adults and is entirely closed off from the world. That immediately made me consider what would happen with my own school if this were to happen. No adults to calm the chaos. No one to regulate who gets food, medical supplies, little comforts from the outside world.
The book is most chilling in its realism, because although reading about the barbaric acts of teens under threat of some sort of death is horrifying in itself, the point it makes about how the teens would work together-or not work together-during this catastrophe seems all too real. I’m glad that there were no holds barred and the author decided to stick with the reality of it, no matter how hard it might be to swallow. Even if we might like to believe that things would work out perfectly, I’m sure they wouldn’t. Just having a teacher step out of the classroom for a minute makes the class descend into chaos.
David and Will, two main characters in the story, are brothers with a relationship that most siblings can relate to. They love each other, unconditionally, but they also get into momentous fights that neither is sure they’ll ever get over. I liked this balance between what it means to be family and to actually get along with each other. They’re my two favorite characters because they’re each incredibly brilliant in their own way, and even better when they’re working together.
As soon as I finished this book, I wanted the next one. Which doesn’t come out until 2013. Now that I have quite a bit of waiting to do, I can only ponder that ending that came out of nowhere-like the other numerous plot twists in the book-and imagine what’ll happen next. I know I’ll get book two as soon as it’s released. I recommend this book for everything. Each person reading it can get something different out of it. It’s fantastic!
FRIGHTENINGLY REALISTIC. 5/5 stars