- Age Range: 12 and up
- Grade Level: 6 - 9
- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Sky Pony Press (May 6, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1628736097
- ISBN-13: 978-1628736090
- Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1.3 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 73 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,960,420 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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Gr 9 Up—It's been a few months since Lil changed from a model student into the nervous and withdrawn person she is today.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
Top customer reviews
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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.
In my experience, many YA authors seem to be under the impression that, should disaster strike, teenagers will suddenly begin to act like adults. Yvonne Ventresca is not one of those authors, and I'm glad, because it makes her book so much more gripping. While her characters did step up to do what needed to be done, they didn't stop acting like teenagers. This one thing made her story so much more believable to me.
With that being said, while I appreciated the truth of the teen characters and the psychological pressures of the story, many of the big exciting moments were resolved very quickly, with little muss. It was kind of a letdown. Overall, the book was a quick, fun read. I just wish the more minor dilemmas were a little less minor.
I would recommend this book for teen readers who enjoy stories revolving around disasters and the struggle to survive.
No one knows what happened to Lil except her parents and her two friends. Well, the one who believed her is still her friend. The other? Let's just say she didn't believe Lil's big secret. Since everything happened, Liz has broken up with her boyfriend, doesn't go out, and certainly doesn't want her parents to see her grades. She has also started slipping into "Prepper" habits. With her father working for Disease Control, it isn't hard to imagine what could happen to everyone if there was any kind of pandemic. She hides her supplies in a closet, and doesn't tell anyone about her disaster monitoring, but her mom finds out anyway. While her father is less disturbed by the behavior than her mother, it is clear they are both worried about what has happened to Lil.
When Lil sees a strange flu that is hitting south of their NJ home, she decides to keep an eye on it. Her mother is heading out of town, which means she doesn't have to keep such a careful check on her concerns, but when her father is called to a conference that is focusing on the disease, she becomes concerned. He tries to soothe her worries, but at the same time, they both know the flu seems to be spreading, and its deadly. When her father gets quarantined at his hotel, it is clear the pandemic isn't a figment of Lil's imagination. Now she is alone, she is terrified of the flu that has hit her home state, and out there is the man who changed her life not too long ago.
There are two stories in this book: the pandemic, and Lil's big secret. They are both interesting, both are handled well, but it still seemed weird to me to have both in the same book. Not sure why, it just didn't seem like they belonged together in the same story. Still, both were very interesting, so I got over my weirdness and just enjoyed the story. I like disaster/pandemic stories, so this was right up my alley. As disaster stories go, this is a fairly tame one, so feel free to use this story for your middle school through high school students. As for the big secret? It isn't graphic, and it is rarely dealt with once the pandemic starts, so it shouldn't be too distracting.
As for Lil? I actually really, really liked her. She was quirky, and I loved the little prepper in her, but when push came to shove and she should have been locking her windows and doors and pretending she wasn't around, instead, her worry for her friends and neighbors overcame her need to stay safe and control her surroundings. It was a good display of how we can overcome our own demons in the wake of a tragedy, and I really enjoyed watching her transformation. Like all disaster books, there are obvious losses, and it was sad watching Lil deal with them, but she is a tough girl. This was a great first novel, and I am interested to see what Vontresca does next!
Most recent customer reviews
Sure, there’s the mysterious illness that kills the majority of the world’s population.Read more
I found out about this book through a Facebook group. I was intrigued by the synopsis and wanted to give it a try.Read more