By: Lex Thomas
Review by: Kylie Comfoltey
David Thorpe--former quarterback and high school dreamboat--finds himself entering his senior year at McKinley High as a shunned loner. He's hoping he can set things right and introduce his little brother, Will, to high school in style, but when an ordinary school day is interrupted by a massive explosion and the untimely death of every teacher and administrator at the school, plans for regaining his popularity are quickly overshadowed by the need to stay alive.
Every window and door of McKinley High is covered with steel and welded shut as the students find themselves completely under military quarantine, now infected with a virus deadly to all adults. More than a year later, life at McKinley is chaotic and dangerous. Gangs have formed and sides have been taken, but David and Will survive together with no gang, trapped in a deadly fight to simply survive until graduation.
Review: Where to start? This book was insane. It was violent, full of fear, and so entirely captivating. I hate admitting that! I didn't want to read it before I went to bed, but I couldn't go to bed without reading more. The book is in my brain.
Let me note quickly that this story is the collaborative work of a writing team, namely Lex Hrabe and Thomas Voorhies, who write together under the pen name Lex Thomas. Well, Lex Thomas: I'm impressed. You men have collaboration down pat!
Quarantine: The Loners was dark and troubling, but Lex Thomas managed to lighten the mood at times with a sweet romance and with a few well-crafted characters. The addition of Will to the story brought a lightness that wouldn't have otherwise been there. Will's character becomes more haggard and depressed as time passes (understandably--oh my), but he is a loyal brother and a good person. He has epilepsy, and he doesn't care. I don't think he's fearless; he simply doesn't care to give in to the fear. I know that combination can sometimes make for an overworked character, but Will didn't feel false to me.
David was an interesting character. He's loyal and determined, and he fights his own crippling fear to create a better environment for his brother and for other outcasts. He suffers and he presses on. He never loses his humanity--there is a lot to be said about that.
Oy. There is a whopper of a cliffhanger at the end of this one. More like a combo-cliffhanger. So many untied ends! Geeze, I can't even formulate a decent review through all the screaming in my head!
I'm having a heck of a time assigning a star rating to Quarantine: The Loners. Was I enthralled? Yes. Was I horrified? Absolutely. Did I like it? There's the hitch. I don't believe I can I like page after page of violence and hunger and fear. And yet, here I sit wondering how long I'll have to wait to read the next installment. I can't possibly NOT read more of this story. I have to know how it ends! And so, if only for that reason alone, I'm throwing four stars at this baby.
Drugs/Alcohol: Moderate. Leave it to teenagers to concoct their own moonshine with limited supplies in a quarantined high school.
Profanity: Moderate to heavy. There was quite a lot of swearing in this book. Yes, maybe that makes it more realistic, but it wasn't necessary for getting points across to the reader.
Violence: Moderate to heavy. Depends on the amount of violence you encounter in your everyday reading. I'd say it's on the heavy side.