Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy











Quarantine The BurnoutsFrom Goodreads: Lord of the Flies in a 21st-century high school setting.Welcome to Quarantine 3: The Burnouts , where readers of The Maze Runner, Gone, and Divergent go when they’re hungry for more dark, compelling survival stories.

When an explosion rocks David and Will’s suburban high school one morning, a deadly virus is unleashed on the school. After a year of quarantine, with no adults around, the students have created their own society. All of the social cliques have developed into gangs-The Nerds, The Geeks, The Freaks, The Sluts, The Skaters, The Burnouts, The Pretty Ones, and The Varsity-and each gang provides a service with which they can barter for provisions. Without a gang, it’s almost impossible to secure food, water, territory, or supplies. In the final installment in the Quarantine trilogy, the brothers are reunited on the Outside and it appears as if, for once everything is going right. But inside the school, Lucy is alone with no gang and no hope, until the Burnouts welcome her into their filthy arms.

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This is a series that, though gruesome and not for the faint of heart, I have thoroughly enjoyed. The characters are realistic, and over the course of three novels, we’ve really gotten to know them—all of them, both the good and bad. The novels have perfectly built on one another, and though they made my cringe more often than not, I can see events like this unfolding in any high school, mine included, should students be cut off from the adult world and locked in a school for years due to a deadly virus. And it’s scary, but Thomas does an amazing job portraying events.

But while I really, really liked this third installment, I’m less than pleased with the entire ending. Truthfully, as I received an ARC from Netgalley, I’ve been wondering if perhaps I received an unfinished copy, doubtful as that is, but the hope remains the same as Thomas just sort of leaves readers hanging with a rather strange sentence. It took me unawares.

As I’ve said, the novel itself is extremely well done, as are the two novels that come before it, The Loners and The Saints. I love David, and always have, and I’m glad he’s back in the picture in this novel. His good sense helps drive the plot, though he’s definitely in over his head in this one. Will has a tendency to get on my last nerve, but I love him anyway, and Lucy’s story made my heart bleed. I knew Thomas’ style certainly wouldn’t let these three main characters finally get out of the school and go unscathed, but, like, whoa. What Thomas does to them isn’t nice… not one bit, and a piece of my heart sort of died with this particular event. And, while I could see the other big revelation coming a mile away, it was still jarring when it occurred, and, true to Thomas’ style, filled me with horror. I sort of feel like it couldn’t have come about any other way—no clean breaks would have fit the story, but… I had to read it twice to really believe that Thomas has done it. But all that aside, it’s the epilogue that really stuns me. It jumps time, barely explains anything, and ends with a hanging sentence, as I mentioned, that just leaves the reader unsatisfied. Perhaps there will be a novella conclusion later—that would be nice. Four stars.

4 stars

EgmontUSA has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release today.

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cover32155-mediumFrom Goodreads: A cross between the Gone series and Lord of the Flies, Quarantine #2: The Saints continues this frenetically paced and scary young adult series that illustrates just how deadly high school can be.

Nothing was worse than being locked in—until they opened the door…

McKinley High has been a battle ground for eighteen months since a virus outbreak led to a military quarantine of the school. When the doors finally open, Will and Lucy will think their nightmare is finished. But they are gravely mistaken.

As a new group of teens enters the school and gains popularity, Will and Lucy join new gangs. An epic party on the quad full of real food and drinks, where kids hookup and actually interact with members of other gangs seemed to signal a new, easier existence. Soon after though, the world inside McKinley takes a startling turn for the worse, and Will and Lucy will have to fight harder than ever to survive.

The Saints brings readers back to the dark and deadly halls of McKinley High and the QUARANTINE series.

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I have been dying to read this next installment in the Quarantine series for a year now, and I’m so very glad I was able to get an ARC of this novel via EgmontUSA through Netgalley as it’s another phenomenal read—bloody, gory, and downright stomach churning, but good just the same.

This second novel in the series follows Will and Lucy as they drift apart and join different groups.  The Loners have disbanded, David has graduated, and everything has changed drastically, especially with the addition of a new group from outside the school, The Saints.

As I read this novel, I noted that it has a lot more happy undertones throughout, which was nice because the first novel, Quarantine: The Loners,  was extremely dark.  That’s not to say that book two isn’t dark—it is.  But it juxtaposes the light and dark within the story, drifting from one cringe worthy scene to a happier one that actually sheds light on the evilness portrayed, showing that it isn’t all done to hurt others, but rather to make them stronger. In other words, some of the malicious actions you’ll read about have a higher purpose and are actually fueled by love; the reader just doesn’t know it at the time.

Sam, the villain of book one, is still in the school, but Thomas has given readers exactly what they want: his downfall.  However, Thomas takes it to the extreme, and by the end, it’s hard not to feel sympathy for him as we learn his story and why he acts the way he does, not that it excuses him by any means.  But I certainly never wanted this to happen…

Will has grown up some.  He still makes some terrible decisions and I wanted to slap him on many an occasion, but even so, he’s pulling it together.  He’s much more likable in this second installment, caring about others, even his enemies, in a way he wasn’t capable of in the first novel.  He’s grown-up quickly due to some circumstances that present themselves early on in the novel, and I’m proud of him.

The Saints are an entirely different entity in and of themselves, though.  Their attempts to free the students in McKinley ended with their entrapment, but they’re so laid-back and free that they’re able to change the inner-workings of the school, bringing people together instead of pulling them apart.  But underlying it all is the sinister, psychotic nature of their leader, who Will soon learns to fear as events unfold and smack the reader in the face.  I was floored, and a little bit sickened, by some of the events, especially those near then end as Thomas throws bloody incident after bloody incident at the reader.  This novel will leave you speechless.  Four stars.

4 stars

EgmontUSA has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on July 9, 2013



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