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.
David couldn't be dreading the first day of his senior year more. At a party the night before he finds out that his girlfriend has been cheating on him with Sam, who took over as the quarterback of the football after David quit the team the year before when his mom died. David decides he's tired of moping around and tells his friends he wants back on the team. But, as he's leaving the party he gets into a fight with Sam, and the team turn their backs on him. Serious social suicide.
But, David has no idea just how terrible his first day is going to become. An explosion destroys the East Wing of the school and the teachers start simultaneously dying a horrific death. The military sweeps in and welds the doors and windows closed and they tell the kids that they've been infected with a virus that will kill adults and children. The only ones that can survive being exposed to it are pubescent teens. Over the next year chaos ensues. They develop a sort of society with twisted versions of high school cliques. The military drops food and other necessities and it's a battle of the strongest to fight for what they need to survive. Unfortunately, because of David's fight with Sam, he and his brother, Will, end up with no clique to help protect them, which makes surviving that much more difficult.
While I really enjoyed this book there were quite a lot of things that irked me. For one, no one really talks about the people on the outside. Where are the parents? The kids don't act like they even wonder if their parents survived. There were many times when I just stopped and thought, "Say what!?" The whole scientific aspect of the story is extremely far fetched. I found David to be a strong and loyal person, while Will acts like a spoiled brat one minute and a stand in hero the next. And Lucy, while I really want to like her, she comes off as loyal yet meek one minute, and then cowardice and disloyal when things get rough. And that's not even touching on her relationships with David and Will. (I really dislike love triangles with siblings!) The characters personalities are very inconsistent. Well, all except Sam, our bad guy...he's just plain evil.
This book is filled with action and adventure and you're hooked from the beginning. Loyalties are tested. Death and betrayal run rampant, and the kids find out just what they're willing to do in order to survive. The Loners leaves us with a cliff hanger of an ending so good that I can't stop thinking about it and my mind keeps wandering from one scenario to another. It seems that while this wasn't the best book I've ever read, it was good enough to have me itching to get my hands on book #2.
The Loners will be released on July 10, 2012.
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3 Stars * * *
* I recieved this ARC from the publisher via netgalley.
*While tagged as YA, this book is violent and gruesome and includes strong language and sexual situations.