It was just another ordinary day at McKinley High—until a massive explosion devastated the school. When loner David Thorpe tried to help his English teacher to safety, the teacher convulsed and died right in front of him. And that was just the beginning.
A year later, McKinley has descended into chaos. All the students are infected with a virus that makes them deadly to adults. The school is under military quarantine. The teachers are gone. Violent gangs have formed based on high school social cliques. Without a gang, you’re as good as dead. And David has no gang. It’s just him and his little brother, Will, against the whole school.
In this frighteningly dark and captivating novel, Lex Thomas locks readers inside a school where kids don’t fight to be popular, they fight to stay alive.
Graduation was the most important event in a McKinley student’s life. You’d made it through. You’d earned your freedom. And it was an important reminder to everyone else that there was still hope, and that life on the inside wasn’t real life, a point that he was finding harder and harder to remember.
That’s a quote from the book. Does it sound like the opinion of a normal student? The freedom part, yeah. But what about there being “hope” outside? That the life on the inside wasn’t real? Sounds like something weird’s going on in McKinley, right? True. The students were all normal until they are suddenly hit by an infection that makes them deadly to adults. The school becomes a graveyard for the teachers, and the kids are left to fend for themselves. There’s no way out for them either – the military considers them too dangerous to venture out of the school and as a result, McKinley is quarantined, completely cut out from the rest of the world.
And with this new development comes out the true character of each student. Friendships are forgotten as the kids form gangs, the best way to keep themselves safe and to ensure they can seize something from the food drops.
At first, David and his brother Will are gangless. But after impressing everyone with an amazing feat, he gets the attention of the Loners, the gang of gangless kids. He joins them and becomes their leader.
David, however, is in danger. Not only from Varsity, the group of athletic blokes intent on killing him, but also because he’s turning into an adult soon. That’s when the infection leaves his body, and he becomes exposed to it permeating from his friends.
The telltale sign of the virus leaving your body is a bloody nose. It could happen two or three times in one day. Do not wait to schedule your release. The further you get into that second day, you will be plagued by headaches and then dementia. On the third day, you will have a hacking cough, and death will come quickly.
The worst happens: the graduation booth that allows the senior, to-be adult students out of the school stops working. David gets a nosebleed. Then he starts seeing things. He starts going crazy. If he can’t get out of the school before he comes of age, the infection the students carry will kill him.
David was dying, and it was his friends who were killing him.
What I Liked About This Book
The concept is really original. And the climax of the story is great. The end promises an exciting sequel.
What I Didn’t Like About This Book
I felt that the action at the beginning was rather slow, and the middle seemed to drag on. Additionally, I wish Lex Thomas had elaborated more on David’s feelings and emotions. But other than that, it was a superb book.