As soon as I began Quarantine, I knew I was in for a wild, heart-pounding ride, with non-stop action and an easily detectable current of danger that constantly dragged me under and into the story being told. Author Lex Thomas (a writing team made up of Lex Hrabe and Thomas Voorhies) takes readers into a world like our own, yet different. There's truth in the tagline, "graduate or die." In Quarantine, the stakes are high from the beginning, and never lessen. Whereas for most of us, high school is about finding out who we are, for these characters it's about surviving the epidemic that caused the government to seal them into their high school. While I at first found that part difficult to believe - that the government would abandon so many people, and only send in food and basic supplies every two weeks - the authors convinced me. I was quickly drawn in to the battleground that once was McKinley High.
The characters are all well-developed, and they feel real; they're the kids you went to school with, only now they're fighting for their lives. Brothers David and Will were opposites, yet fiercely loyal to one another. Each of the gangs that the kids devolve into were startlingly pragmatic and real. I was fascinated by the trading system, almost like a black market, that was established, and it was shocking to see how much some characters changed from who they were at the start. I never knew who to trust, or how to predict what might happen next!
This type of story isn't normally my cup of tea; however, even though I found a few parts of Quarantine to be too convenient, I did enjoy the story being told. The story definitely kept my attention, but I wish I had been able to connect with the characters more. I'm not sure if I'll read the following novels, since to me, this felt more like a stand alone. However, Lex Thomas knows how to write a tense nail-biter of a story, how to electrify a reader's darkest fears for humanity, and how to keep readers turning pages!