Author: Lex Thomas
Publication Date: July 2012
Genre: Young Adult Dystopia
Series or Stand Alone: Series Book One
Synopsis can be found here.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
They can only count on each other. David and Will have each other, stuck in their high school as a virus rages inside of them. Only on graduation day do they get to leave, immune to the virus and able to enter the outside world. Until then, it’s anything goes.
As the kids tear themselves apart, David’s main goal is to survive and protect Will. But a price is put on his head and the gangs form and once that happens, no one is safe unless you’re part of a gang. Can David and a bunch of loners create their own gang? And what kind of chance to they have when up against Varsity or Pretty Ones, vicious rival gangs who will stop at nothing to tear them down?
There’s a lot of cool stuff about Quarantine: The Loners. The action is fast paced, with a lot of imaginative circumstances for dying or being attacked. I’m thinking in particular about a hallway Lucy and Violet have to cross towards the end that is booby trapped. The plot is fast and there’s a large set of characters, leaders of rival gangs and members of the Loners. Easy to read as well and honestly, the plot churns so quickly it’s hard to put down. Something is always lurking around the corner, unexpected, the stakes being raised. There’s a great deal of darkness and anxiety in this book, forcing the characters to go to unusual lengths to try to survive.
That said, there’s a lot that I didn’t like about The Loners. I couldn’t sympathize with any of the main characters, which is obviously a fail. I mean, these are kids forced to go crazy on each other, unspeakable acts and alliances, killings and starving, and I still didn’t really like any of them. David may be the only one who can keep his own head about him, and probably the least annoying one overall. But when he’s in scenes with his ex-girlfriend, evil Hillary, even sweet good natured David turns into a bumbling penis head. (For real) And Will is the same way towards Lucy. Will, David’s brother, is very undeveloped. Most of the time he’s whining about, or pining after Lucy. There’s not a lot to the two main boys, which is a shame because I wanted to WANT them to succeed. But in the end I didn’t much care. I was more in it to see what happened than caring about the characters
That brings us to the girls, who are either Hillary- raging crazy bee-zach or Lucy, too good high schooler who is stringing along both brothers. Yeah. Awesome. Yes, one problem is the whole Mary Magdelene and Virgin Mary syndrome they got going on. (Although, even sweet Lucy is eager to get it on with both brothers at certain times in the book which leaves me cringing, mostly because it’s not very well done and there’s little emotion behind either of these relationships.) The first time the boys see Lucy, she’s dressed in white. White. For weeks after a school has been quarantined, the girl is wearing pure white. And she wears white dresses sometimes through the rest of the book. Yeah, let’s hit me over the head with that metaphore. Meanwhile Hillary is so calculating, evil and violent, she’s a girl you may fear running into her anywhere, not just in this high school. So first, there are two stereotypes. That’s problem number one, but the second problem and most important is that neither of these characters are done well. There’s nothing behind them.
I love Elena and the Salvatore brothers like any other girl. I’m not opposed to love triangles or strange brother (or sister) rivalry. The problem is that the characters are so flimsy, it’s hard to not see this triangle as anything but a plot point bent on creating tension between the two brothers and nothing more. There’s not a connection from Lucy to Will or Lucy to David. Hillary is written like she is the ultimate manipulating, crazy ex girlfriend head cheerleader witch but there’s no motivation, no deeper side.
Overall, I think people will enjoy the Quarantine book (and perhaps series) for the fast plot and adventurous storyline. But I was really hoping to have an emotional attachment to the characters. When that didn’t happen, though I read it fast, I didn’t care if they made it out of the school. Which was maybe the whole point of the book?
Rating 5 Okay