Friday, June 28, 2013

Viral Nation

Viral Nation by Shaunta Grimes
Publication Date: July 2, 2013
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Pages: 320
Keywords: dystopia, infection, rebellion
Format Read: ARC from author/publisher in exchange for an honest review (thank you!)

Summary: After a virus claimed nearly the entire global population, the world changed. The United States splintered into fifty walled cities where the surviving citizens clustered to start over. The Company, which ended the plague by bringing a life-saving vaccine back from the future, controls everything. They ration the scant food and supplies through a lottery system, mandate daily doses of virus suppressant, and even monitor future timelines to stop crimes before they can be committed.
Brilliant, autistic sixteen-year-old Clover Donovan has always dreamed of studying at the Waverly-Stead Academy. Her brother and caretaker, West, has done everything in his power to make her dream a reality. But Clover's refusal to part with her beloved service dog denies her entry into the school. Instead, she is drafted into the Time Mariners, a team of Company operatives who travel through time to gather news about the future. 
When one of Clover's missions reveals that West's life is in danger, the Donovans are shattered. To change West's fate, they'll have to take on the mysterious Company. But as its secrets are revealed, they realize that the Company's rule may not be as benevolent as it seems. In saving her brother, Clover will face a more powerful force than she ever imagined and will team up with a band of fellow misfits and outsiders to incite a revolution that will change their destinies forever. 

So this is like a mashup of sorts of Hunger Games and the Maximum Ride series. Cross a crazy-power-ridden government agency who is determined to keep people in their place with a band of kids who call themselves the "Freaks" and end up isolated trying to rebel against this crazy dictatorship that's been going on. Clover has grown up not contacting her dad, living with West, and she's always known she was going to go to the Academy. But then she gets drafted to be a Time Mariner instead, and at first is crushed.

But as she is trained she realizes it's a pretty important job, and an acquaintance meets her in the future on one of her missions, kisses her (without causing her to panic at his touch) and gives her a newspaper that claims her brother murdered someone. So automatically, the story gets super interesting. I really enjoyed the interactions between all the characters. The story was constantly moving and the characters were always involved and running around doing things. It was so fast-paced and exciting all the time, I was just waiting for some of the evil government leaders to do something crazy and for the Freaks to retaliate.

I do wish a few of the kids in the group would have been more developed. I really liked them all, but was having trouble keeping all the names (I think there were about 8-9) straight. I got confused a little bit, but I still really liked all the kids, and I definitely wanted to know more about them. I also wanted a little more backstory with her father and why exactly he couldn't be a guardian and live with them like a lot of families. I feel like that wasn't really explained as much as some other things.

This was a great dystopian YA novel with several twists in the plot and in the general characters/premise. It was different and quick, and a super enjoyable read. You know how I was having trouble coming up with good books I read this year? This is on the list now.

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