Monday, July 07, 2014

Great story with a great backstory!

Honestly, I don’t know which I liked more: the novel itself or the story behind the writing of Virulent: The Release. Written as a challenge from a student to create a post-apocalyptic young adult story set in their high school, English teacher Shelbi Wescott surely has a win with this terrifying tale inside what is normally seen as a safe haven.

The action and danger is non-stop. The characters act, speak, and interact as you’d expect teens to – even under such horrifying circumstances. Adults that are looked to for protection act crazy or fall apart at the seams. Strangers end up being the compassionate saviors.

The author builds a close-knit family unit and immediately separates our main character from this safety net as well. I worried right along with Lucy about whether her family was alive or dead. I agonized over the come-and-go cellphone signal and the meaning of the text messages and their timing. I wondered if Lucy’s brother, Ethan, was really coming to the rescue or if he’d never made it at all.

The larger setting is Portland, Oregon with its urban setting, its rivers, and the farmland only a little ways out of town. Clues the characters discover at Lucy’s home tell them to flee to another part of the country and we’ll have to wait until book 2 in the series to see if they can successfully do this and whether or not the rest of the family has survived.

I highly recommend this zombie-free young adult novel to those fans of both young adult in general and post-apocalyptic fantasies as well.

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