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Contaminated [Kindle Edition]

Em Garner
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)

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Book Description

After the Contamination - an epidemic caused by the super-trendy diet drink SlimPro that turned ordinary citizens into shambling creatures unable to control their violent impulses - the government rounded up the "Connies" to protect the remaining population. But now, two years later, the government's started sending the rehabilitated back home, complete with shock collars that will either stop the Connies from committing violent acts or kill them before they do any further harm.

Since her parents were taken in the roundup, Velvet Ellis has struggled to care for her ten-year-old sister and maintain a sense of normalcy, despite brutal government rations and curfews. She goes to the "Kennels" every day searching for her parents, and when she finds her mother, she's eager to bring her home. Maybe, eventually, they'll be able to get back to the way things were before. But even though it seems that her mother is getting better (something that the government says is impossible), there will be no happy transition. Anti-Connie sentiment is high, and rumor has it that an even worse wave of the Contamination is imminent. And then the government declares that the Connies will be rounded up and neutralized, once and for all.

Sacrificing everything - her boyfriend, her home, and her job - Velvet will do anything to protect her mother. Velvet has to get the collar off her mother before the military comes to take her away. Even if it means risking all of their lives.

Gritty and grabbing, Velvet is a harrowing, emotionally charged dystopic venture into YA from a well-known and respected writer of women's fiction.

Releases simultaneously in electronic book format (ISBN 978-1-60684-355-0)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up-"Contamination, not contagion," they said. When the "zombies apocalypse" happened, the zombies weren't exactly like the ones Velvet had seen in the movies. They didn't rise from their graves, weren't undead, and didn't create new ones of their kind when they attacked. Instead, they were just normal people who had tried a new sports drink that promised to help them lose weight. However, as the drink became more popular, the company was unable to keep up with demand, and they began cutting corners in the production of the active protein ingredient. Unfortunately, it took several waves of apparent zombie attacks before scientists realized that the lack of impulse control and the aggression were caused by a contamination in the bottled beverage. While Velvet's father was killed in the first wave of attacks, by the time her mother had turned, electric-shock collars had been created to manage the contaminated's aggression and return them to their families. At 16, Velvet has lived through immense horrors, and now it has fallen to her to raise her younger sister and to care for her mother, who will never fully recover. Garner's novel is a unique take on a popular genre. While there are intermittent moments of suspense, the horror elements take a backseat to Velvet's plight as she strives to provide for and protect her family.-Ryan F. Paulsen, New Rochelle High School, NYα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

A weight-loss drug causes a zombielike disease. Supposedly a cure has been found, but the suspicion and fear left in its wake engenders political and moral conflicts about how to treat the permanently affected. Among those caught in the web is Velvet Ellis, who struggles with the ethics of taking care of her “rehabilitated” zombie mother and her 10-year-old sister in the midst of a postapocalyptic economy. As in the 2013 zombie film Warm Bodies—among others—debut author Garner focuses less on the immediate horror of a zombie invasion, and instead shifts her focus to the aftereffects that such a devastating disease would have on its victims and on America in general. This has plenty of suspense—it’s not a book to read at bedtime. But the fact that it’s not your average zombie story allows readers to reconsider the entire genre as well as the possible ramifications of our societal priorities. Grades 9-12. --Bethany Fort

Product Details

  • File Size: 2164 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: EgmontUSA (July 23, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00B6OV8R8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #375,528 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A perfect balance between action and emotion July 24, 2013
Everyone has heard of the term "zombie apocalypse." But no one expects it to happen --- until it does. Only this time, the stakes are higher. Instead of the undead rising to feed on the living, it's living humans being turned into violent, uncontrollable --- zombie-like --- creatures.

Velvet Ellis and her younger sister witness it all. These creatures, called Connies, were just regular human beings months before, becoming contaminated by drinking a trendy diet drink called ThinPro. Velvet's mother and father both drank ThinPro; for months Velvet and Ellis live on their own in an assisted living home set up by the government to keep families away from harm and nearer to the city. Through the months that spiral by without word from their newly-turned Connie parents, new laws are passed and new technology is invented to neutralize the Connies so they will no longer be violent and uncontrollable. Another one of the newest advances are Connie kennels. Connie kennels are where the government keeps neutralized Connies, so their families may come and find them and hopefully, take them home. Velvet searches the Connie kennels everyday in hopes to find her mother. And one day she does.

However, getting her mother back comes at a cost. She must do everything within her power to keep her mother and little sister safe, which means sacrificing work, school and even her home to make a better life for her family. But one question still haunts Velvet and her sister: Will Mom ever be the same?

CONTAMINATED is a great book for anyone who doesn't want to read about zombies but wants the same thrill. The action is perfectly balanced, with a softer more emotional side to the story. For the most part, the characters were very well-developed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not good December 22, 2013
One of those author blurbs called this book a "debut". Now, far be it from me to say that a professional user of words doesn't use them correctly, I leave you with this information: Yes, this is the first book published under the name Em Garner, but that's actually a pseudonym for a New York Times Bestselling Author, and whose work I really enjoy. This is her first young adult novel, though. So overall debut, no; but in certain circumstances, yes. Actually, I was reading two books during the same period: CONTAMINATED, and one by the author's adult novels under a non-Em Garner name, and the difference in quality is so vast it's almost hard to believe they're written by the same person. I really liked the adult novel, but this YA is just...not good. I almost wish it were her debut, so we'd assume the storytelling would get better with each book. And the only reason I'll be tuning in to Book 2 is because I like the author's adult works so much.

Now onto CONTAMINATED itself. I call it a zombie novel, though I don't remember seeing the Z-word. It's like how there are vampire novels in which the V-word is never used. Anyhoo, the Contaminated (also referred to as Connies) seem at first to be an analogy for the treatment of dogs, then the elderly, then people with disabilities, and since there doesn't seem to be a particular analogy, it was probably never an analogy in the first place. My fault for thinking this was deeper than it actually is. Eejit Tez.

Look, I'm just going to refer you to the Bookistry review: [...] It describes the science-fail in this novel. You know me: I love science, and love when it's used in fiction...correctly. But when used incorrectly, that makes me rant and rave and despair. (I have issues.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Em Garner's CONTAMINATED is 4-stars worth of enjoyable reading, even if just about every twist on her world-falling-apart-as-experienced-by-teen theme has been done somewhere before. Thanks to a diet drink that turned many of the beautiful people (as well as normal folk) into murderous Contaminateds (Connies), the heroine Velvet is now taking care her little sister Opal, trying to work a job, keep Opal in school, hold onto her boyfriend and avoid dark laundry rooms where renegade Connies might lurk. After a series of brutal experiments, it appears the government has the Connies under control with lobotomies and shock collars, but society at large still fears them, so when Velvet brings her Connie mother home, the small family is evicted from their shoddy apartment and treated like dirt by many people.

What worked for me: "Mercy Mode" idea is fresh. The writing style is good. The back cover notes this is the first YA novel by an author with over 50 books for adult readers, and I did find myself reading through until the end.

What didn't work so well: Seems like the "tainted mother" aspect was done in Carrie Ryan's THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH and the disaster-wipes-out-a-good-portion-of-world-population has been done in any number of stories from A MATTER OF DAYS to THE 5th WAVE. Also, call me naive, but I have more faith in my fellow humans than to think we would house humans in kennels, feed them dog treats and call them "it" when there is a clearly an infection responsible.

About me: I'm a middle school/high school librarian
How I got this book: Advance reading copy sent by the publisher
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Zombies!
Em lives in a world where ThinPro had once taken over the world. Everyone was drinking it even though it was pretty much only water with protein. Read more
Published 11 days ago by Krystianna Straley
5.0 out of 5 stars BEST BOOK EVER!!
This book was amazing I was really taken into the book I'm not the biggest fan of all books but I read this book almost everyday it was amazing when my brother gave it to me I... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Marayna
4.0 out of 5 stars Contaminated
Contaminated has to be my favorite zombie novel thus far! It's not really zombies, but kind of zombies, but not really. I know you've all heard that before, but it's true. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Angie
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
I know amazing is an overused word but this book is flat out amazing. Got me hooked by the second page and couldn't put it down. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Peter Gartner
3.0 out of 5 stars young folks smarter and better than old folks
This was ok, the book was well written- just another YA novel about survival, young folks smarter and better than old folks, determination, grit etc. Read more
Published 5 months ago by loki
5.0 out of 5 stars The story is really good. I read it in two days because it ...
The story is really good. I read it in two days because it was so good I couldn't get enough of it.
Published 6 months ago by Naomi
4.0 out of 5 stars a fantasy that can be gripping and the social reactions not to far...
As the story unfolds the author develops her charters without losing the story in detailed analysis. I personally could not stop thinking of the so called Patriot Act that Mr. Read more
Published 7 months ago by S. A. Conley
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read
Recently it seems like we've been bombarded by these apocalyptic books and movies, but this book has a fresh take on it that's really interesting. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Brooke Adams
5.0 out of 5 stars Really absorbing book and real enough to be scary!
What an original premise and Garner's writing is fluid and reads fast. I kept putting it down to make it last longer! Cannot wait to see next book.
Published 12 months ago by Tess Graham
4.0 out of 5 stars Diet drink dystopia!
Another good story for fans of YA dystopia. The premise is original....not zombies, but victims of diet drink poisoning. The heroine is what makes the book an enjoyable read. Read more
Published 12 months ago by cheryl beck
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More About the Author

Em Garner began writing at a very young age, always preferring the stories about what goes bump in the night. An avid reader of horror, science-fiction and fantasy, she first turned her hand to short stories about the sorts of things that hide under the bed...and she kept right on going.

Now Em spends most of her time in front of her computer, writing away at all the ideas she has swirling around in her head and hoping she can get them into a story before she forgets them.

She loves zombies, unicorns, and rainbows, the color purple and the smell of roses. She hates the smell of lilies, the feeling of corduroy and biting sandpaper. (Well. Who doesn't?)

She lives at the beach with her family, where she spends a lot of time reading and sticking her feet in the sand. She is afraid of sharks, but that doesn't stop her from going in the water.

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