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Pandemic Hardcover – May 6, 2014
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—It's been a few months since Lil changed from a model student into the nervous and withdrawn person she is today. Despite her anxiety and compulsions, Lil is surviving as best she can. Soon her anxious worries become real when a few flu cases turn into an epidemic—and then that flu epidemic becomes a global pandemic. Lil's parents are stranded on separate business trips, and she is left alone, with her fears, to face the illness rampaging around her. Then there are the looters and the orphaned baby down the street. And Jay, who might be the only good thing left. But the teacher who sexually assaulted her keeps trying to get in touch, and nowhere seems safe. This is an engrossing apocalyptic story, told through Lil's eyes and newsfeeds as her neighborhood, then the East Coast, and finally the entire U.S. buckles to its knees as the pandemic spreads. The sexual assault plotline wasn't really necessary (Lil could have easily been anxiety-ridden without it), but it does add to the fears and drama. Themes of friendship and coming together in a crisis carry the novel.—Brandy Danner, Perkins School for the Blind, Watertown, MA
Ever since she was sexually assaulted, Lilianna has been trying to get back to normal life at home and school. When a deadly flu pandemic strikes while her parents are away on business, Lilianna and her fellow teens try to help others and struggle to survive. But then her attacker reappears, and Lilianna must face the past in order to get to the future. Ventresca gives believable Lilianna a compulsive need to prep for disaster (a coping skill after her assault) and a father who works for a journal called Infectious Diseases, both convincing details that help keep the focus on the characters and fast-paced action. As is to be expected in an apocalyptic novel, there are a few gruesome dead bodies as well as no shortage of tension or death, but teen disaster fans will likely appreciate that the high-schoolers are portrayed as good, helpful, yet imperfect people. Though the type of apocalypse is different, this fast read will appeal to fans of Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life As We Knew It (2006). Grades 7-10. --Snow Wildsmith
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Top Customer Reviews
To really understand the structure of this book, you need to remember that this is a dystopian novel that gives us a background of sickness that takes over the world. No zombies and no aliens. Just a simple flu-like disease. Really makes you think about what would happen if just a flu would make people die. Scaaaaary!
The characters themselves were very well developed and I absolutely adored Jay and his relationship with Lil. The story really made me feel for her and what she went through. In the very beginning of the story, we get to experience Lil and her struggle to overcome the event that she had to experience. The book itself doesn't reveal the situation until almost half way through it so there is a sense of mystery behind it. The Mr. B plot was good but I felt like it wasn't well thought through. Once the plot was revealed, it was dragged on way too long. And at the end their conversation wasn't as extreme a I thought it would be.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading Pandemic and really think that it's refreshing and different from all the other dystopian end-of-the-world novels. It has some flaws but just as with great books, it makes up for it with writing style and plot development.
Now Lil has been left at home while her mom is traveling for work in Asia and her dad is at a conference in Delaware when the Blue Flu breaks out. Pandemic is a realistic look at a plausible scenario with the protagonist being a teenager.
Pandemic is riveting. The target audience is teens and young adults, but the book is just as captivating for adults. The harsh reality of a pandemic flu virus is well written. The characters are believable. I was in tears because of some of the situations that Lil found herself in. I really felt her pain.
This book really speaks about the resiliency of the human spirit and what an individual can overcome when there are others relying on them who are helpless otherwise. I love how teenagers are given credit for being thoughtful, helpful, upstanding citizens of our community as a rule, rather than as the exception.
I found Pandemic to be thoughtfully written, with clean language throughout. I liked the quotes at the beginning of each chapter from various media sources related to the Blue Flu epidemic. It helped raised the tension of the novel. Though there was a lot of sadness due to deaths in this book, I thought there was also hope as well.
I think this book will make people think about preparedness in the event of a national/worldwide disaster. I also liked that there was a listing of resources at the end of the book related to the issues in the book.
This was an excellent book for all ages from teens through adults. I would very highly recommend it for everyone. I gave this book 5 stars! It goes on my favourites list!
Thank you to the publisher, Sky Pony Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. A positive opinion was not required. All thoughts are my own.
This review was published on my blog Shelf Full of Books [...]
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