Virals by Kathy Reichs
Author: Kathy Reichs. Website|Twitter
Published: 27 October 2011 (Young Arrow)
Book Depository: Paperback
Source: Own (received as present)
Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
Tory Brennan, niece of acclaimed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan is the leader of a ragtag band of teenage "sci-philes" who live on a secluded island off the coast of South Carolina. When the group rescues a dog caged for medical testing on a nearby island, they are exposed to an experimental strain of canine parvovirus that changes their lives forever.
I've had one of Kathy Reichs' adult novels on my shelves for months and months and still haven't got round to reading it, but when I received this one for Christmas I thought, as her first YA book, it would be a good place to start! Virals follows Tory Brennan and her friends as they make a series of discoveries on a nearby island used for medical research. Can they get to the bottom of what's happening there and what has happened in the past?
The start of Virals was a little slow for me. There seemed to be a lot of description and explanation which didn't all feel necessary and wasn't particularly smooth. There was a lot of time spent describing the location, which whilst it was necessary to the plot, got a bit dull (especially when there's a map included at the front of the book anyway). It just felt like a lot of information crammed into a short period, but once I was sixty or so pages in and had got my head around the characters and the setting then I really started to get into it.
One of my favourite things was the relationship between Tory and her three best friends, who all happen to be guys. They're sort of outcasts, attending a posh private school only because all their parents work for the local university, so they don't fit in with the rich elite. I really liked the humour and how they bounced off each other, and Tory herself was different, with her interest in science and animals - not your typical female lead character.
I found myself struggling to put Virals down most of the time due to the brilliant combination of action, mystery and suspense. Tory and her friends are trying to get to the bottom of several mysteries, which involves a lot of sneaking around and getting chased by people - always exciting! The mystery running throughout the story really appealed to me as I'm a huge fan of crime fiction. It's quite hard to some up the genre of this book, as some of the revelations (which I don't want to spoil) really change the feeling of it, but I'd say the mystery and suspense dominate the general feel.
Apart from the slow, clunky start I found myself really enjoying this book. It had a bit of everything - action, mystery, suspense, teenage friendship and family drama, school drama - and so it just ticked all the boxes for me. It'll definitely make me look up other books by this author and I'm really excited to read more of this series, as Reichs has created characters with real potential.
What to read next: Seizure by Kathy Reichs, book 2 in the Virals series
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