Thursday, March 12, 2015

Book Review: Pandemic

Even under the most normal circumstances, high school can be a painful and confusing time. Unfortunately, Lilianna's circumstances are anything but normal. Only a few people know what caused her sudden change from model student to the withdrawn pessimist she has become, but her situation isn't about to get any better. When people begin coming down with a quick-spreading illness that doctors are unable to treat, Lil's worst fears are realized. With her parents called away on business before the contagious outbreak-her father in Delaware covering the early stages of the disease and her mother in Hong Kong and unable to get a flight back to New Jersey-Lil's town is hit by what soon becomes a widespread illness and fatal disaster. Now, she's more alone than she's been since the "incident" at her school months ago.

With friends and neighbors dying all around her, Lil does everything she can just to survive. But as the disease rages on, so does an unexpected tension as Lil is torn between an old ex and a new romantic interest. Just when it all seems too much, the cause of her original trauma shows up at her door. In this thrilling debut from author Yvonne Ventresca, Lil must find a way to survive not only the outbreak and its real-life consequences, but also her own personal demons.

Pandemic was a book that I wanted to be nothing short of a crazy, nonstop actionfest, but that’s not what it was at all. Granted, there were a few moments of tension, just not as much as I hoped for.

Lilianna (Lil) went from a fun-loving high school student to a withdrawn pessimist ever since she was sexually assaulted by one of her teachers. Very few people know what happened, or why she suddenly changed. When the bird flu epidemic reaches an all-time high, Lil’s worst fears are realized. Can she overcome the demons from her past, or will she succumb to them during the pandemic?

I liked the idea of an apocalyptic situation, but I like these situations on a much larger scale. Obviously, the bird flu in the story impacted the world, but it never really felt that way to me. Lil never left her city—and barely left her home—so the reader doesn’t get to see the impact of the bird flu elsewhere. In the end, I think I might’ve expected too much from this book.

Overall, if you enjoy apocalyptic or coming-of-age stories, then I recommend buying Pandemic.

**ARC courtesy of publisher via Edelweiss

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