12 July 2012

Review: The Loners (Quarantine #1) by Lex Thomas

The Loners (Quarantine #1) by Lex Thomas

Published: 10 July 2012 by EgmontUSA

Pages: 416 (hardcover)

Genre/s: YA, Post-Apocalyptic

Source: Publisher for review

Check It Out: Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ The Book Depository

Synopsis (Goodreads)

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.

My Thoughts

Remember high school? Yeah I hated it - I was one of those kids that never really fit in anywhere, not smart enough to be a nerd, not tough enough to be a freak and not cool enough to be popular. So when I read the synopsis for Quarantine: The Loners, I was immediately drawn into the idea.

Quarantine: The Loners dives straight into the action, with an explosion and the death of all adults, the kids are quarantined by the government and pretty much left to their own devices - food and supplies are dropped in on a regular basis, but there isn't a whole lot of solidarity going on - instead the kids split up into gangs and try and gain enough control to survive.

The pace of Quarantine: The Loners is pretty much non-stop - there are some flashbacks to life before the quarantine, but the vast majority of the story takes place in the present. For a book of over 400 pages, I read this over the space of two days because I just had to read 'one more chapter' to see what happened next.

Mr. Thomas doesn't shy away from some pretty intense scenes - this is a violent story, and not everyone makes it through each skirmish between the gangs, and the deaths and injuries are pretty grisly, but that does add to the realism.

I did have some issues with the timelines - there are jumps in time that aren't really easily identifiable, and it's only after reading a few paragraphs of the next chapter that it becomes clear that a significant period of time has passed. Particularly frustrating is the jump between the quarantine beginning and the next scene - I wanted to know HOW the gangs were formed, how they came to claim their particular territories and the first days of adaptation and survival would have made for interesting reading.

Quarantine: The Loners is quite an 'insular' story - there is not much information on what is happening to the outside world, or what has happened to the families of the students, but I understand that Mr. Thomas' focus with this book was the actual politics and actions of the students, not on what was happening outside.

Like other books with similar ideas to this one (Battle Royale for example), there is a large list of characters, but there is a particular focus on the main characters that does make them more memorable. I did however at times find the two brothers quite hard to distinguish between, particularly during the scene where they meet Lucy.

Overall, I really enjoyed Quarantine: The Loners - it wasn't perfect, but it was an entertaining, nail-biting read, and I'll be looking forward to the next book!


  1. This one sounds really interesting. :) Great review, Kat.

  2. Sounds like a good read. I'm just starting to hesitate to add books to my TBR as it seems 95% of new YA books are part of a series and that makes my TBR quadruple!

  3. Ooh, this sounds fun. Well, perhaps 'fun' is the wrong word, but you know what I mean. I might have to add this to the Black Hole that is my wishlist...



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