Friday, May 18, 2012

The Loners

Author: Lex Thomas
Goodreads Rating: 3.
My Rating: 3.75
Pages: 410
Reviewed By: Nicole

This book was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley. I was intrigued by the concept of students being deadly to adults. It was a twist on the dystopian plague world in which the setting is focused on a school. I know that as much as adults felt like teenagers were dangers to their health, they should be thankful that they weren't in the case of this book.

Goodreads Synopses:

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.

Click to see what I thought!
I didn't think that I was going to like this book much. As hard as I try not to make judgements about books before reading them, I do make small ones. While I was pleasantly surprised by this one, I still have my reservations about the second book. That being said, there is a strong possibility that I would read the second book.

It was both interesting and annoying to see the prevalence of stereotypes in this book. In the description we know that gangs have formed, but the gangs are just high school stereotypes like Varsity which has all the jocks and the Freaks, and the Skaters, and the Sluts and the Pretty Ones, and the Geeks and the Nerds. I liked that the Loners existed because not everyone fits into a category, but by becoming a Loner you labeled yourself. Maybe it was just because my high school didn't really have these clicks, at least not in my grade. Even if you could have applied one label to a kid, that same one would fit in other categories as well.

And while I'm not even close to a feminist (I'll be happy staying home with my children all day when the time comes, thank you) I bristled at the Sluts gang. That just made me mad every time I read it. /rant

I did feel that there were too many characters in this book. Just to name a few recurring names: Lucy, David, Hilary, Sam, Will, Dorothy, Nelson, Belinda, Violent, Smudge, Gonzalo, Brad, Bobby. I literally just finished the book and confused a few of the names. It was hard at points keeping track of who was who and why we cared who they were. That being said, I was able to get a clear understanding of a decent number of the characters that we were introduced to.

I found it interesting how at one point David (our hero) struggles with deciding if his ex girlfriend is the same person she used to be. He keeps thinking that she wasn't the same girl that he used to love and all I could think was. "Nooo really!? Its not like you're both fighting for your survival or anything or going through puberty locked in a school!" But I guess sometimes boys are just a little slower on the uptake than us girls.

Some of the ideas in this book were a little far fetched, (like having the Varsity gang make moonshine) but at the same time it played true to any survivalist senairio; You find a group and fight for food. I found that it was a mixture of The Lord of the Flies and The Hunger Games. If you've read both, then you know that Lord of the Flies is about kids that crash land on an island and how they survive with no food and you know that The Hunger Games is a fight for survival in an arena. In this case the school is the arena, the weekly food drops are the "cornocopia" (where food and weapons are in the game) and that these children are stranded with little to no survival skills and they need to make do with what is available to them.

All in all, I think I would give the second book a chance to see how this rivalry between Sam (head of the Varsity) and David (head of the Loners) plays out. 

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