Book Review: Quarantine: The Loners

Title/Author:  Quarantine:  The Loners by Lex Thomas
(Quarantine #1)

Genre:  Young Adult, Science Fiction, Post-Apocalypse

Published:  July 10th, 2012 by EgmontUSA

Hardcover, 416 pages

How I Got This Book:  Checked It Out From The Library

Why I Picked It Up?:  To be perfectly honest, I totally thought this was going to be a virus turns people into zombies book.  But this was definitely not a zombie book haha.  But I read it anyway!

Book Jacket Blurb:  “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.

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.”

My Review of this Work:

Well, guess what?  This is not a zombie novel.  Though I must say, there are some similarities.  Minus the dead rising part.  Teenagers running around scared, groups forming and fighting, a plan to survivor and escape the madness.  But no zombies, just a high school quarantined off from the rest of the world, filled with teenagers with no supervision.  What else would you expect?

Quarantine:  The Loners is the first in a series by Lex Thomas (a pen name for the writing team of Lex Hrabe and Thomas Voorhies).  When a virus that kills adults escapes into the boundaries of McKinley highschool, the government acts quickly to quarantine it before the entire adult population dies.  So the students of McKinley high school find themselves trapped in their school where their teachers are dying horrible deaths.

This novel centers on two brothers, David and his younger brother Will.  After the quarantine and the high school population split into gangs, David and Will found themselves on the outside of every group.  Survival for them is difficult because the resources are controlled by the gangs.

Generally, the story development is fast paced.  As a dual perspective narrative from both David and Will, we do get a little bit of insight into each of the boys, and occasionally we even get insight from our tip of a love triangle, Lucy.  There is nothing like a love triangle to add some dynamics to an already intense storyline! 😉 =/

However, I must say something about the writing.  The writing is why this novel got the rating it did.  The prose was all simple sentences, which made for really bland storytelling; yet somehow, it was really compelling. But almost every sentence was literally “David did” this, and “Will did” that, then “Will had a seizure.”  Most of this novel was all telling and no showing with very little descriptive language. This technique got really annoying, but the story was interesting enough to continue reading.

The part I really did not appreciate about this book was the last chapter.  While I can see that the authors probably wanted to be dramatic and leave off with a cliffhanger, but all the ending did was confuse and frustrate me because of the randomness and complete ineffectiveness of the last chapter.  Baaah.

Overall, I think that this story has some merit.  While I truly do no like prose with unvaried sentence structure, I must admit that there was some effectiveness to the chosen style of this novel–the story is definitely compelling enough to finish.  It’s definitely worth a read, and you will probably like it more than me.  Honestly, I just couldn’t get over the simple sentences.  If there was more varied sentence structure in this novel, the rating would have been at least a 3.  But alas, writing style is just as important to me as the plot-line.

My Bookshelf Rating:

A Second Shelf Book.

While I found the plot to be engaging and intriguing enough, I found the writing to be extremely simplistic, which I found to be an extremely huge annoyance.  But the story of a bunch of teenagers trapped in a school was actually an interesting psychological perspective.  An updated version of Lord of the
Flies, perhaps?  Good story idea, not good writing, and less-than-fulfilling ending = the 2.5star rating. But I will probably read the sequel to see what happens.

Love and Hot Tamales,
Jennifer

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: Quarantine: The Loners

  1. 365_books_a_year says:

    Yes, I agree that the book was compelling. Though largely in a plot generated way. Although, my favorite part was the relationship between the brothers. Now, this book caught my eye as a potential book for my son- who is a reluctant reader. So, I kind of reviewed it on that basis. Did I think this would be a good book for boys who don't like to read? And, content issues aside, I do think this is a book boys would like. Well, maybe boys would even like it because of the content issues.

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