Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Review: Sick by Tom Leveen

Release Date: October 1, 2013
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Source: Purchased
Author Links: Goodreads | Website | Twitter

Breakfast Club meets The Walking Dead as a group of unlikely allies tries to survive a deadly outbreak.
Brian and his friends are not part of the cool crowd. They’re the misfits and the troublemakers—the ones who jump their high school’s fence to skip class regularly. So when a deadly virus breaks out, they’re the only ones with a chance of surviving.
The virus turns Brian’s classmates and teachers into bloodthirsty attackers who don’t die easily. The whole school goes on lockdown, but Brian and his best friend, Chad, are safe (and stuck) in the theater department—far from Brian’s sister, Kenzie, and his ex-girlfriend with a panic attack problem, Laura. Brian and Chad, along with some of the theater kids Brian had never given the time of day before, decide to find the girls and bring them to the safety of the theater. But it won’t be easy, and it will test everything they thought they knew about themselves and their classmates.

I'm going to warn you right off the bat that this review is probably biased and emotionally skewed and it's all because of my youngest daughter.
Why would a book about teenagers running around during the Zombie Apocalypse have anything to do with my 5 year old?
I'll get to it...

So this kid Brian is sort of a slacker, but not in a bad way. Just, you know, in the regular loveable slacker kind of way. He's recently broken up with his longtime girlfriend, mainly because she's got some issues that he's, quite frankly, tired of dealing with.
Her phobias (large crowds being one) bring on panic attacks, and the medication to stop them leaves her (no pun intended) a sort of sexual zombie. Ok. That sounds like a sucky reason for a guy to break up with the girl he loves, but I can totally see a teenage boy doing that. He's not a dick, though, and the two remain friends. Even if it is a bit awkward for him.
After all, he still loves her, but he's...you know...an idiot.

The story begins with him feeling kind of proud of her for facing her fear of crowds, and going to a school pep rally with his sister. He also feels a bit guilty, because instead of going and supporting her, he and his buddies are sneaking off campus to go hang out at one of their houses. 'Cause they wanna do...slacker stuff.
Enter the zombies!
After a confusing encounter with a friend (and a weird news report), they realize something is potentially very wrong with some of the people in their area. It appears there is some kind of contagion spreading through the community. Spreading, um, fairly quickly. Naturally, they head back to school where it's safe. The original goal is to try to check up on Brian's little sister and their other friends.
And then everything goes to shit.
They end up trapped in the theater building with a bunch of kids that they normally wouldn't have much of anything to do with. Which (ta-da!) is where you get the 'Breakfast Club' reference from the blurb.
At this point, you've got all your stereotypes lined up and ready to learn an all-important lesson.
Underneath everything, we're all exactly alike!
Don't expect to be blown away by this new and different idea, and you'll probably enjoy the book a lot more.

Ok. Now what Brian should do is hunker down in this fairly protected area, and wait for the calvary.
His little sister is out there somewhere (hopefully) with his ex-girlfriend (that he still loves), and he's not going to let them get chomped on by these new sparkly zombies.
Yes. They sparkle because the UZA (United Zombie Association) was getting a little pissed that the vampires were the only ones being portrayed as 'glittering in the sun'.
They also sparkle because this virus has gout-like qualities that causes the skin to crystallize
This makes me really nervous, because my husband has gout in his big toe. And now I'm worried that he's going to turn into an undead diamond and rip my throat out in my sleep. Seriously. Last night he started snoring, and instead of whacking him with a pillow (like I normally do), I just curled up into the fetal position and prayed that he wasn't growling...
So, Brian starts making plans to rescue the girls. Now, I know what you're thinking. Is a teenage boy really going to take on a zombie horde for his annoying little sister?
Evidently, yes. And here's where I got the emotional sucker-punch from this book. See, Brian's sister was a childhood cancer survivor, and because of what she and their family had been through, they were especially close. Not only that, but his sister had the same form of leukemia that my daughter has...sorry, had. See, my little girl just finished her last chemotherapy treatment yesterday.
Ah. Now you see where the zombies and the 5 year old are starting to make sense, huh?
Ok. So my first thought after reading that?
I will totally 1 star this book if his sister survived cancer and then gets eaten by zombies!
I know, I know. That wouldn't really be fair of me.
Guess, what? Life's not fair.
Anyway, the rest of the book was a nail-biter for me. Nobody was off limits when it came to getting eaten, and there were quite a few characters that I just knew were going to make it out that didn't. There was one in particular that I was really sad to see go...

To me, this was a good ya zombie novel. No, it's not high literature, but I think it would be a good book for teenagers. Or maybe even an adult looking for Zombie-Lite?

At any rate, to all the kids (like mine!) who managed to outrun the zombies?
You guys are tougher, cooler, and more beautiful than anyone else in the world. You rock!
And to all the kids who are still running?
There's a lot of people smarter than me looking really hard for a cure for zombieism. But in the meantime, you just gotta hang in there.
Fuck zombies. They suck.


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