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4.8 8
by Tom Leveen

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  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


  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. 

Praise for SICK
"The gore and action will leave enthralled readers thrilled and then sated with each kill on either side."

"Between the pacing and the heroes’ salty, blue language (full of lovingly creative, genital-inspired insults), reluctant readers who love zombies will devour it, right up to the abrupt end."
Kirkus Reviews

"Sick is well written, with great detail, even if it is a little gory."
VOYA Magazine 

2014 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers list from YALSA

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In an exciting take on the zombie novel, Leveen (manicpixiedreamgirl) shifts to horror while maintaining his trademark complex relationships and character-driven storytelling. High school senior Brian is a smart kid, but generally a delinquent, mostly hanging around with his obnoxious punk buddy Chad and goofing around at school. While in their theater tech class, a mutated friend attacks and kills a number of students, and the survivors barricade themselves in the theater, where they witness former friends and others rampaging and attacking the rest of campus. The core of the story is a standard zombie survival tale with vicious attacks, internal conflicts, and escape attempts, all with the requisite attrition. But Leveen spends enough time developing his cast—including take-charge student Jaime; Brian’s cancer-survivor sister, Kenzie; and his anxiety-prone ex, Laura—and the mutation itself (a virulent form of arthritis) to keep things entertaining even when readers are anticipating certain plot points. There’s enough gore to bother more timid readers (bones are often torn in two), but nothing beyond what’s expected from the genre. Ages 14–up. Agent: Jennifer Mattson, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Oct.)
VOYA - Amber Brown
Sick is well written, with great detail, even if it is a little gory. For example, "We watch until we hear the first bone snap. Even from this distance, even over the shouts of the runners, even over the sounds of the cars rushing past . . . we hear it." The plot is easy to follow, and the characters are easy to relate to in their fight for their lives and those of the people around them. The only thing this reader would change is that some of the good people would not die. Reviewer: Amber Brown, Teen Reviewer
VOYA - Marla Unruh
Seniors Brian and Chad are skipping class, but getting away from their high school is not easy. The parking lot fence is usually locked, but on this day the gate is open, and they zoom through in Chad's car. While they are at Chad's house, Hollis arrives, bent over in pain and obviously ill. Is it some kind of flu he got from a bite by his little brother? He goes back to school with the others anyway, where they see helicopters overhead. From their classrooms they hear sounds of a fight and frantic running. Soon they see terribly disfigured students chasing others and tearing out chunks of flesh with their teeth. Zombie stories hold little appeal for this writer; however, characterization saves this novel from banality. Chad and Brian are distinctly different and dynamic personalities. Chad is the tough guy with the blue Mohawk who can hardly wait to join the Marines. Brian is the thoughtful and observant narrator of the story with plans to go to college. As they face the very real possibility of their own deaths, Chad realizes he does not want to be a Marine and kill people, and Brian discovers he still loves his former girlfriend and will do what it takes to save her from disaster. The author really nails the "guy" dialogue as well—it is gross, colorful, and at times, downright funny. Older teens will enjoy the suspense and perhaps buy into the premise of the infected zombie. Reviewer: Marla Unruh
Children's Literature - Sandra Eichelberger
Brian and his buddies decide to ditch their high school classes for a while. Little do they know that when they return to class a number of students have turned into zombies, killing and eating anyone they can get their hands on. The boys find an area of the school that seems free of zombies but from their hiding spot they can hear the torturous screams of the victims and the grunts of the attackers. Leveen has created a book that’s high on adrenaline with readers waiting anxiously for the boys to avoid attack, even as the number of zombies increases and the entire city seems to be under siege. Brian is desperate to find his sister and his former girlfriend and keep them safe. Leveen likes to have his male characters take on the typical role of protectors, despite putting themselves at risk. The language is coarse and the action is unrelenting. For fans of zombie fare, this should appeal. Reviewer: Sandra Eichelberger; Ages 14 up.
Kirkus Reviews
Zombie virus? Check! Locked high school? Check! Brian is a class-cutting, fence-hopping high school senior whose best friend, Chad, has a blue mohawk. They don't fit in with the drama kids in seventh-period stagecraft class, which they take for the easy A. By the end of the period, a horrible, cannibalism-inducing virus has spread through the student body. The class barely manages to barricade part of the theater building--a setting Leveen uses to good effect. They use Brian's smuggled cellphone to hear scant and ominous information from outside the school's locked gate. Although Brian's carved out temporary safety for their small group, Brian's younger sister and his ex-girlfriend (with whom he might be on the verge of reuniting) are somewhere in the school. The diverse cast negotiates group management, plans rescue missions, and struggles to decide between waiting for a rescue that might not come or braving the killing field to try to climb the fence. Leveen keeps his story straightforward and fast-paced, with no padding but plenty of gore and deadly peril. It's much faster than its zombie-peer novels but (aside from a slight spin on the virus' workings) solidly performs in the genre instead of innovating. Between the pacing and the heroes' salty, blue language (full of lovingly creative, genital-inspired insults), reluctant readers who love zombies will devour it, right up to the abrupt end. (Horror. 14-18)

Product Details

Amulet Books
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
13 Years

Meet the Author

Tom Leveen is the author of Party, Zero, and manicpixiedreamgirl. Zero was named to YALSA’s list of Best Fiction for Young Adults. This is his first foray into the horror genre. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona.

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Sick 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
BooksWithBite More than 1 year ago
I pick up this story, cause well you know me. I love zombies. And a zombie tale in a high school? I’m so there! Plot: This story follows a few teenagers who get stuck in a zombie apocalypse while there are in school. One thing that really captures me in the story, is the piece by piece information of watching people get sick. First it starts off as a cold, then is escalades into a zombie feast. It’s crazy reading each chapter and watching the horrors unfold before the readers eyes. Another great aspect of the story is watching these characters, Brian, Chad, Laura and Kenzie go from teenagers to just trying to survive the day. It had an excellent plot that I would dive into again. ZOMBIES: What would you do if a zombie outbreak happen at your school? You leave the school and then you see it everywhere. It’s on the street, people are running and screaming. You look for your loved ones right? That is what Brain does. He goes on this mission to find his sister Kenzie and his ex-girl Laura. Of course, when a zombie apocalypse happens deep secrets are exposed. This apocalypse lead Brian to look at things differently. It gives Brian strength to do what he needs to do and save the ones he loves. Ending: After all the zombie craziness has happen, the ending is bittersweet. Friends have been lost and actions are done that can’t be taken back. Not to mention the change that happen in both Brian and his friends life. They are not the same. Some for the better and some bad. This is an awesome book to take you on that adventure you need. The familiar movement of life and then hits the unexpected. Sick is an successful story of survival. It captures all the emotions that teens have with the umph of fighting and thought -provoking plot. Sick is gallant.
book_for_ya More than 1 year ago
Sick by Tom Leveen is an intense heart-pounding zombie novel that is jampacked with fight scenes, marrow-eating zombies and lots and lots of gore. A scary page-turner that zombie fanatics will surely love.  It was just an ordinary Tuesday for Brian and his friends -- doing their usual shenanigans and skipping classes to hang out in Chad's house -- unaware of the horror that will happen later that day. They were in the theater department when all hell breaks loose and the school announced a lockdown. Brian, along with his bestfriend Chad and a few drama geeks boarded up all the entryway after witnessing the attack of the infecteds, killing their teacher and some of their classmates and friends. They're safe and stuck inside but Brian's sister, Kenzie and ex-girlfriend, Laura, were still out there, in danger and in who knows what condition. The disease was spreading fast all over the state and with their calls not connecting to 911, Brian doesn't know how long they will last inside. How will these misfits and outcasts escape this hellhole, you ask? Well, you have to find that out for yourself. Anyway, Sick was horrifying and very graphic, I'm surprise I didn't lose my lunch while reading it. But even though it was grossing me out and gave me the creepy chills, I can't seem to stop reading it. It was so exciting and I was so eager to know about what will happen next.  Brian was a well-developed character. He was a good guy with flaws, a risk-taker, a good friend, a loving brother, and a caring boyfriend. I was really touched when he told everyone what happened to his sister when she was nine and tears ran down my cheeks when Kenzie thanked him for everything before they head out to their last plan. I also loved Chad. He acted as a tough guy, hot-tempered and always looking for a fight but I can see that he can be a really sweet guy, if he wanted to. He was a bit of jerk with Travis, the gay drama actor, in the beginning but that changed in the latter part of the story. The other characters who also stood out was Damon(the comedian), Jaime(the Mexican drama geek leader), and Cammy(the badass cheer captain).  Also, this book has character development, depth and emotion in it. It is not just about marrow-eating, zombie killing or ass-kicking. It's more than that. It's about life, family, friendship, survival, decisions and sacrifice. And even though it ends with a heartbreaking death and an open ending, it still leaves us with a tiny glimmer of hope that maybe, someday, everything will be back to normal.  Overall, Sick is an awesome book, a perfect read for the upcoming Halloween season. So if your not squeamish and like bone-breaking, flesh-eating, blood-spewing, face-melting, not-technically-dead zombies and doesn't mind a few profanity here and there, then this book is for you. 
YoungMensanBookParade More than 1 year ago
Sick by Tom Leveen is an action-packed zombie book centered on several mischievous high schoolers. Everything in the story seemed normal at first- the main characters cut class, the readers got a feel for rowdy high schooler's personalities, and the romance interests were introduced- and then the zombie apocalypse strikes. The contagious zombie disease spreads and eventually reaches the main character's high school. Among all the chaos and confusion, the unruly individuals fight for their lives, as well as their family and friends' lives. Although the whole zombie epidemic aspect was appealing, there were a few things that made it hard for me to read this book. One of these things were that the main characters weren't relatable at all. I get that they are rebellious, imperfect teenagers that despised going to school, but they were the kind of stereotypical misfits you would find in a cheesy movie your parents used to watch. All the characters were generally the same and didn't really have depth. But, I do like that the characters weren't perfect protagonists. They really did develop through the story, but the dialogue and how they acted just irked me. The other major thing that made the book so hard to read was that the plot was extremely straight forward. It was pretty predictable and only zombies. Just really descriptive action scenes between the characters and the diseased. Personally, I like more complex plots, but for others, the simplicity may be a good thing. Other than these two major flaws, Sick was a decent read. It was extremely descriptive and imaginative. The action was gory, violent, and intense. I would recommend this book to teens who have a taste for action and gore. Amanda T., age 14, Greater Los Angeles Area Mensa
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I forgot why l came here... there was some sort of reason. Dx
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She sits quietly. I cant be here any more. She leaves.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sits down, laying his feet on a coffee table