The Loners (Quarantine Series #1)

The Loners (Quarantine Series #1)

4.2 56
by Lex Thomas

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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…  See more details below


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.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—David's experiences at his typical American high school turn into terror after a huge explosion changes everything. He and the other students watch as their teachers die gruesome deaths, and, when they try to escape, they are fired upon by the military. Weeks later, the canopy that traps them opens to drop supplies, and they are forced to fight tooth and nail to survive. A giant television screen is brought in, projecting a talking head that explains that they are carrying a contagion that only affects prepubescent teens, and so they are under quarantine. Quickly, the students form into gangs to protect one another and to help snap up the food that is delivered via black helicopter every two weeks or so. Sam, whom David attacked at a party while drunk, is the head of the strongest gang, called Varsity, and David ends up leading The Loners. The relationship between David and his brother, Will, may be the best part of this story, but it takes a backseat to the battles and struggle of the rival gangs in this first book in the series. While some of the treatment of girl and boy characters seems a bit clichéd, this is a solid choice for teens hooked on the dystopian genre.—Jake Pettit, Thompson Valley High School, Loveland, CO
Publishers Weekly
First in the Quarantine trilogy, this debut novel from Thomas, a pseudonym for first-time writers Lex Hrabe and Thomas Voorhies, is a violent and somewhat campy high-concept mashup, tossing Walter Hill’s The Warriors into a high school setting and seeding it with elements of Lord of the Flies. After a biotech disaster unleashes a weaponized disease that creates teenage carriers and kills adults exposed to them, McKinley High is quarantined. A year later, themed gangs—including Varsity, Freaks, Pretty Ones, and Sluts—have formed to fight over a once-a-week food drop from the government. David, an unaffiliated “Scrap,” works with his epileptic younger brother, Will, to get by, and eventually ends up leading his own gang of outsiders after saving the life of an outcast Pretty One named Lucy. The battle between Varsity and the newly christened Loners occasionally gets muddled, and the authors are more interested in high-impact brutality than realism, but the fast and gory action (one trap-filled hallway sequence is particularly memorable) should satisfy the core audience. Ages 14–up. Agent: Mollie Glick, Foundry Literary + Media. (Apr.)
VOYA - Jane Gov
A virus escapes into McKinley High, instantly killing all adults and post-pubescent students, leaving everyone else—pubescent teens—alive, but fatally poisonous and contagious. As puberty recesses, the teens will not only lose immunity to the virus, but also the virus itself will leave the body. Therefore they can be released back into society, but until then they must survive. The school is quarantined by the military, forsaking the infected teenagers to their own devices. Gangs form, trades develop, and the battle for survival can be deadly. A year later, the school is unrecognizable. Seventeen-year-old David Thorpe is able to stay under the radar, surviving on small cleaning jobs and any scant provisions he can grab from the military's biweekly supply drop. Just a little longer and he will "graduate" and be released from the school—but McKinley High has been left alone for far too long. The students are unsettled and on the brink of civil war. Lex Thomas, pen name for writing team Lex Hrabe and Thomas Voorhies, turns out a frightening and dark tale. Drawing from flawed yet likable characters, Quaranteen thrives on themes of human nature and an ultra-realistic tone. Unpredictable, gory, and full of death and despair, this story is not for the light hearted. Though far less societal driven than dystopian hits like Collins's The Hunger Games and Divergent, Quaranteen will still attract a similar readership and would be a great pick for a book discussion. Reviewer: Jane Gov
Kirkus Reviews
Lawlessness and violence erupt in a quarantined high school. David Thorpe can't ditch school and his ex-friends on the football team because it's his epileptic younger brother's first day. That's the day a weapons manufacturer's biologically improbable virus reaches the school--a suspension-of-disbelief–necessary germ that infects teenagers but kills everyone else. However, the virus leaves teens as they leave puberty, taking their resistance but allowing them a chance to escape. Government technology tells the exact date a student will leave puberty and quarantine, just from a thumb on a scanner. Knowledge of this "escape date" undermines the novel's potential for claustrophobic tension. The breakdown into chaos and establishment of new orders (fierce fighting for resources dropped every two weeks) are mostly skipped over. The virus causes white hair, enabling cliques (Varsity, Geeks, Nerds, Freaks, Skaters, the Pretty Ones and Sluts) to dye their hair uniform colors for identification. David and the other outsiders must fight the strict caste system by forming their own clique. The female-dominated groups--Pretty Ones and Sluts--reflect a tiresome woman-as-commodity approach. The female lead and love-triangle anchor (fought over by David and his brother) only occasionally shows signs of personality and is offended but also "excited" by unwanted groping. Additionally, the major characters' voices are indistinguishable and the villain cartoonishly evil--characterization is generally ignored in favor of more gore. At least this battle for survival has gore going for it. (Science fiction. 14-18)

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Product Details

Lerner Publishing Group
Publication date:
Quarantine Series , #1
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Sales rank:
HL620L (what's this?)
File size:
3 MB
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Lex Thomas is the pen name used by the writing team of Lex Hrabe and Thomas Voorhies. 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. QUARANTINE is their first novel.

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