Sometimes we read a book that sticks with us for one reason or another. These reasons could be a great plot, a good twist, a relatable character or something not so great like horrible grammar or giant plot holes. Quarantine: The Loners by Lex Thomas sticks with me because of the original plot and somewhat horrible high school cliches.
As a rule, I’m always interested in some sort of post-apocalyptic plot. Quarantine definitely fits the bill. After a virus that is carried by pubescents but deadly to adults is leaked from a local government facility, the teenager at large makes his way to high school. A few short minutes later, half the high school is blown up and the rest quarantined in an effort to contain the virus. David Thorpe is left to take care of his epileptic brother and fight his way through the new high school caste system through very violent means.
I enjoyed the pace of the novel. Every page moved the story and plot forward. I liked that the novel took place over a period of time longer than a few days, like some young adult novels do. This way, all the action that takes place is more believable since there’s more time for everything to unfold.
What I didn’t enjoy was the obviously cliché high school class system. Apparently, every student who was a jock before the quarantine was turned into a member of Varsity. Meaning, they were very violent and into hoarding food. The girls who were popular and pretty were then referred to as Pretty Ones. These girls were vain and only wanted to date those people in Varsity. Also, only guys were in Varsity. If you’re female, you’re stuck either as a Pretty One, Slut, Freak, or known as an unaffiliated student. I really didn’t enjoy the caste system. I thought someone somewhere would have thought outside the box within this high school, but sadly no one did.
While I’ve read that this book is being compared to the Gone series by Michael Grant and the Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth, I found myself thinking that both of those authors handled the sense of a caged community with much more class. I also believe I saw almost too many similarities to the Gone series for my comfort. I understand there are only so many plots and ways to carry out those plots in the universe, but I wanted more from Quarantine than what was delivered. All that being said, this novel is a fast-paced, in-your-face read that I would recommend for anyone who enjoys action with a hint of mystery.
Sarah Emily Lelonek has a BA in English Literature from Kent State University. She is currently enrolled at Tiffin University in their Master’s of Education program. She enjoys traveling and gaming while on breaks from working on her novel.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Media Masters Publicity. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.