Sunday, December 29, 2013

YA Sci-Fi: Contaminated by Em Garner

Publisher: Egmont USA
Date: July 23, 2013
Format: hardback
Source: LibraryThing Early Reviewers
Read: for review (disclaimer: I received my copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.)
Pages: 330
Reading time: three days

From GoodReads: After the Contamination—an epidemic caused by the super-trendy diet drink ThinPro that turned ordinary citizens into violent, uncontrollable creatures—the government rounded up the "Connies" to protect the remaining population. Now, two years later, the rehabilitated are being allowed home, complete with shock collars that will either control, or kill, them. Velvet Ellis has struggled to care for her ten-year-old sister since her parents were taken in the round up. When she finds her mother in one of the "Kennels," Velvet resolves to do whatever it takes to put her family back together. But the danger isn’t over. It’s beginning all over again…

My review: One expects zombie novels to be fast-paced and full of gritty, morbid, bloody zombie-killing action. Not so with Contaminated. The novel reveals the "humanity" of zombies, reminding us that the genre doesn't have to be all thrillerness and blood-and-guts fighting. I found it a rather refreshing difference, actually.

This is not to say that the plot of Contaminated is boring or slow, because it isn't. The story is very well-paced as well as well-written. The characters have depth and are engaging. They're dealing with issues not unknown to readers - having to take care of younger siblings, balancing family, work, and school, dealing with close family members who have various severe illnesses (the changes in Velvet's mother are a lot like a gradual reversal of Alzheimer's). The novel is very perceptive of some current social issues and negative cultural trends, and I found the book interesting in as much for its ways of examining these to various extents as for its actual storyline.

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