Thursday, July 10, 2014

Book Reviews: The Loners (Quarantine #1) and The Saints (Quarantine #2) by Lex Thomas

The Loners
Quarantine #1
By: Lex Thomas
Published: July 10, 2012
Publisher: Egmont USA
Source: Publisher (eARC for Review)
Add to Goodreads

GR's Summary:

“As original as The Hunger Games, set within the walls of a high school exactly like yours.” – Kami Garcia, New York Times best-selling co-author of the Beautiful Creatures novels

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. 

"Take Michael Grant's Gone and Veronica Roth's Divergent, rattle them in a cage until they're ready to fight to the death, and you'll have something like this nightmarish debut...Thomas' whirlwind pace, painful details, simmering sexual content, and moments of truly shocking ultra-violence thrust this movie-ready high school thriller to the head of the class." - Booklist (starred review)

My Thoughts:

Quarantine Book One, The Loners, was one very crazy, topsy-turvy, survival story!!!  It was a survival of the fittest type story, were groups of people had to band together in to gangs in order to survive.  David, the main character, is starting his first day of high school, with his brother, Will, when a black smoky bomb goes off.  All of a sudden, there is complete chaos as high school students are trying to escape the building, and a teacher dies a grotesque and horrifying death right before David's eyes.  All of a sudden the high school is solidified by the United Stated Military, and no one can go in or out of the building.  Panic ensues, and all adults that were in the building died the same mysterious gruesome death.  Students stuff the dead bodies in to lockers, and scrounge for supplies.  David and Will are on their own, because even though he used to be a popular varsity football player, he's been shunned from his peers after he beat up Sam, the current quarterback for cheating with David's girlfriend, Hilary.

Quickly after the students realize that they are not getting out of the building the form gangs in which alliances are formed and nerves are made.  Former friends are pitted against one another if they are from opposing gangs.  The military leaves a dismal message for the kids that lets them know that they are the carriers of a deadly virus that thrives in pubescent teenagers.  If they come in contact with children or adults, they will be the cause of there death.  This virus does not leave the teenagers bodies until they become adults, at which time, they will be tested by a scanner that was instilled by the military, and released out in to the world, referred to as graduation.  

Those without a gang have no protection, and after David is in a precarious situation and asked by others to lead, he forms a gang he calls the Loners.  These are the teens that nobody else wanted in their groups, or this that didn't want to join a group, and soon realized it was necessary in order to survive.  David proves to be an amazing leader.  However, his younger brother, Will, who is very jealous of him, takes foolish risks, and constantly challenges and causes problems for David.  Then things get even worse between the two brothers when they fall for the same girl, Lucy.

The Loners by Lex Thomas, was a good starting point to the Quarantine Trilogy.  It really demonstrated how when humans are stripped down to their need for survival, many of them lose their humanity.  Things like food, territory, warmth, clothing, and a place to sleep become the main concern, and some of the things that people are willing to do in order to survive are horrifying.  We learn about David and his brother Will, and their constant power struggle with one another.  We learn about Lucy, a beautiful, sweet, and compassionate girl who becomes a huge point of contention between the brothers.  We learn of friendships and bonds formed, as well as how violence becomes a daily part of life.  At this point in the trilogy, we don't know anything about the outside world, and I hope we get to learn more in book 2, The Saints.  This whole first segment of the series focuses on the students, and their gangs fight for survival, while under quarantine.  

My Rating:

I give, The Loners, Quarantine Book #1, by Lex Thomas, 3 Violent, Savage, Gruesome, Survival of the Fittest Filled Stars!  I'm curious to see what book 2, The Saints, will be all about.  

My Favorite Quote:

"David though he knew what it meant to be hungry.  He was wrong.  This wasn't peckish, this wasn't stomach-growling, this was a transformative, gnawing hunger.  He felt as though his brain was shriveling.  His eyes would lose focus, his mouth was perpetually dry.  He felt mean, likes a rabid dog."  (eARC, Loc. 295)

The Saints
Quarantine #2
By: Lex Thomas
Published: July 9, 2013
Publisher: Egmont USA
Source: Publisher (eARC for Review)
Add to Goodreads

GR's Summary:

A cross between the Gone series and Lord of the Flies, Quarantine #2: The Saints contunues 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.

My Thoughts:

The Quarantine Series has gained momentum, and keeps getting better and better!  This sequel begins right were book one ended. There are new characters that are introduced, when teens from the outside try to free everyone that is being help captive within the confines of McKinley High.  Unfortunately, these teens rescue attempted is put to a stop, and while most of the former Loners escape, there is a small group remaining, along with the other gangs who are trapped inside once again.  The Loners gang dissolves without David's leadership, and the remaining Loners join other gangs in order to survive; including Will and Lucy.

The new kids have formed a gang, and are referred to as the "Saints," because they previously attended St. Patrick's Academy.  At first it appears that the Saint's leader, Gates, is a good addition to the compound.  He is very charismatic, negotiates better food and supplies for everyone, and finds a way to bring a friendlier atmosphere to the compound, by creating fun times, and an escape from the harsh daily realities of their lives.  Will quickly befriends Gates, and they appear to be a lot alike.  Will becomes Gates right-hand man win running the "Saints."  Lucy joins the "Sluts," and at first thinks that she made a big mistake joining their group, but soon becomes close to many of the ladies in the group.

In this sequel, we learn a little more about what is taking place in the outside world as the Saints catch  everyone else up to the present state of things.  We also see a fair amount of character growth in both Will and Lucy.  Will begins to mature, question things, and make more responsible decisions.  The crazier Gates acts, the more Will gets tired of the constant need for adrenaline rushes, and stupid risk taking.  I enjoyed seeing the change in Will, and started to like him a lot more in this segment, than I did in the first.  Lucy really came in to her own in this sequel.  She became stronger, more confident, assertive, and independent.  I loved seeing this new side of Lucy.  To clarify, the "sluts," were not sluts.  There is a story behind why they leader named them that.  However, this was a group of all female teens who pushed each other to be as strong, capable, and resilient as possible.  They relied on one another, practiced team work, and cheered each other on!  They were a very loyal group, and were one of my favorite's.

I loved the ending of this sequel!  It had me gnawing on my finger nails, gasping, and in for a complete surprise.  It is the perfect set up to the concluding story in the trilogy in the Quarantine Trilogy, The Burnouts!  I am so glad I have the third book in hand, and can't wait to begin!  There are so many questions I have!!!  If the last book is anything like the ending of this book, I am going to fly through the story!  I have very high hopes, and can't wait to see how the story all ends!   

My Rating:

I give The Saints, by Lex Thomas 3.5 Graphic, Gritty, Surprising, and hopeful stars!  This series just keeps getting better!  If you enjoy young adult, post-apocalyptic, survivor type stories, the Quarantine Series might be a good fit for you!

Purchase Links:

The Loners (Quarantine #1)

Amazon | B & N | iTunes 

The Saints (Quarantine #2)

Amazon | B & N | iTunes 

About Lex Thomas:

Lex Thomas is the pen name for the writing team of Lex Hrabe and Thomas Voorhies. Their first novel, QUARANTINE: THE LONERS, earned a starred review from Booklist, and Huffington Post Books praised it, saying, "You will not be able to put this book down." Lex received a BA in Drama and English from the University of Virginia and has worked as an actor, director and writer. Thomas graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design, and now writes, and exhibits his realist oil paintings in Los Angeles. Lex and Thomas met in a writers' group in Los Angeles. Their friendship developed as they tried to blow each other's minds with clips from bizarre movies. In 2005, they became a screenwriting team, and found that writing with a friend is much more fun than doing it alone. Visit them at


  1. Such a great premise. It really takes that high school nightmare to a whole new level.

  2. The synopsis made me really excited to read the book. But I got a little reluctant when I read that there apparently is a love triangle. Golly, I can't stand that but who knows I may pick this book up one of these days. Thank you for this review :)

  3. I saw this book awhile ago and wondered how it was! Thanks for the great reviews! It looks like a unique high school story!


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