High school students are accidentally infected with a virus that is fatal to adults and so, on the first day of school as the teachers and staff die en masse, the entire campus is put under Quarantine, in this first book of a new series by Lex Thomas. “The Loners,” book #1 of Quarantine, introduces readers to brothers David and Will who are caught in this claustrophobic and deadly existence.
As alliances are formed around typical high school cliques—Varsity, Pretty Ones, Nerds, Skaters, etc.—the brothers find themselves outside the protection of a gang. And that’s a dangerous place to be. The government’s bi-monthly supply drops through the canopy that encloses the school make for bloody, and sometimes deadly, brawls.
As the oldest, David feels a strong sense of responsibility to look after his epileptic younger brother. But, when a band of misfits rally around David as the leader of “the Loners” gang, resentments between the brothers build as Will tries to assert himself and impress Lucy, a former Pretty Ones rescued by David from an attack. Will’s relationship with his brother is further tested when the gang tries to save David’s life by helping him escape to the outside.
Teens left to govern themselves without adults is nothing new and a number of novels, from Lord of the Flies to The Girl Who Owned a City and the Gone series, have covered the same ground. Quarantine focuses less on character development and more on plot. There’s no shortage of violence and gore in this gritty sci-fi adventure for readers who prefer the adrenaline rush of action. With dead bodies taped inside hall lockers and weapons improvised from spare classroom parts, this book may also appeal to fans of horror and dystopian fiction as well.
Next week, another book where school’s out. . . .FOREVER!