Release Date: July 10, 2012
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.
I have so many mixed feelings about this story that I'm almost not sure where to start. This review may be a little rambly because there were things I really liked, things I really didn't like, and then an overall good impression. So I'll do my best here.
First of all, the story really did grab me and engage me from the very first page. I had no trouble getting into this one at all. The action really takes off almost from the opening sentence, so it had a great hook. I liked Dave immediately also. He was honorable, admirable, and really resourceful. This is a guy who has had everyone turn against him, right before an apocolyptic illness has struck his school and changed the way people treat him. This illness is brutal and ugly; it kills them slowly and they must be quarantined. There are no adults, because the illness kills them immediately. So what we have here is a very Lord of the Flies type story where kids have become brutal, violent and dangerous. Food is stolen, hoarded, and faught over. Dave figures out a way for his brother Will and himself to survive, despite the fact that his "old friends" would kill him if they could and make sure he doesn't get any food. It's basically the entire school against him. Until Lily comes around.
I really did like Lily. She was a bright spot in the story that kind of lightened things up for Dave a little. Which he deserved. She was the most likeable character in the story, to me.
Now for some dislikes. Will. This guy got on my everloving nerve. He was just such a whiny ass. He doesn't give a crap how much his brother goes through in order to protect him and make sure he has a safe place to sleep and food to eat. He only cares about Lily, so much so that he makes some of the world's most awful choices that hurt his brother and put other people's lives in jeapardy, just to show off or think big of himself. And even though some brutality was expected, there were times that I felt it was just a little too much.
Overall, the story was fast-paced. It held my attention and really had me cringing in some spots. The author definitely had some compelling writing and the whole concept was interesting. I definitely do want to read the next story to find out what happens next.