Extra Credit Epidemic
by Nina Post
Publication date: July 1st 2013
by Curiosity Quills Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Adventure
Source: NetGalley eARC
Taffy Snackerge is a high school senior who likes doing things her way. Gifted in science, she’d rather analyze infectious diseases and pick up a girl for the occasional fling than deal with her boring schoolwork or the high school social scene. When she notices a surprising number of cases of food poisoning in the area, she’s eager to dig in and find the cause.
To help with the investigation, Taffy approaches the only teacher she’s ever liked and respected, Van Brenner. As a former state epidemiologist, Van is uniquely qualified to help Taffy get the data and insights that she needs. However, Van has one condition: Taffy needs to work with two other students on the case, and she doesn’t get to pick them.
As the cases start to multiply and the underfunded state health department continues to drag their feet, Taffy knows that it’s up to her to find out what’s making so many people sick. But can she learn to work with her two teammates — including a beautiful, hyper-organized girl who’s president of the Young Attachés Club and an emotional overeater who can’t go out in public without his lucha libre mask — while still retaining her autonomy? Can the team fend off a snooping assistant principal and step up when the adults let them down? And can they locate the source of the outbreak before it reaches epidemic proportions?
Taffy Snackerge cares about nothing more than being a scientist. She is pretty much a social reject, perfectly content to lock herself away in a lab and do her own thing. When she notices an increasing number of salmonella outbreaks in the area, she starts digging for data and investigating the origin. She heads straight to her mentor and favorite teacher, Van Brenner. He was an epidemiologist for the state, Taffy’s dream job, and agrees to help her with the investigation, but only if she meets one condition — she must work with two other students. He insists upon it only because she’s a loner and he doesn’t want her to go to college with zero social skills. After careful consideration, she hesitantly agrees to his condition. As with any good book, there are those that want to hinder her progress, mainly the assistant principal, or deputy principal as he likes to be addressed, Phil Overboard. He can’t wait to put Taffy in her place for thinking she’s far superior to everyone else. His shenanigans are downright scandalous, and could ruin everything for Taffy, including her future at Penn State.
You know how when you read a synopsis a picture begins to form in your mind about how you think the book will be? Yeah, I thought I had this book all figured out after reading the blurb. WRONG! It’s nothing like you think it will be, it’s actually FAR BETTER! After the first chapter I thought, “What kind of lunacy is this?” I’m pretty sure a few things went over my head at first, but before long I was fluent in Nina Post. Taffy Snackerge is a brilliant, quirky, snarky, Science nerd — minus the nerd, really, who likes to quote The Dead Milkmen and also shares an appreciation for one of my favorite movies, The Big Lebowski. She reminds me of Ellen Page in Juno, but maybe with a supplement of crack. I’m kidding, of course, but she’s absolutely crazy and I’m totally smitten. Taffy speaks to everyone as if they have limited intelligence, but she does it with such flare, you just can’t stop yourself from loving her character.
Extra Credit Epidemic made me chuckle, then giggle, and after a while I was full out belly laughing. I don’t recall ever being so amused by a book. I read some parts more than once, not because I was distracted, but so I could keep the snickering momentum going. I thoroughly enjoyed the character arcs. All three students in their group — Taffy, Gabe, and even Taylor — though hers was more subtle, make some remarkable changes. The friendship bonds created are extremely touching, and I found myself wishing I didn’t have to say goodbye. This awesome story is one that everyone can enjoy, and is one that I will add to my re-read list (and you all know I don’t usually read a book more than once). This book deserves a double rating of ten stars, in my opinion. I recently learned that Taffy Snackerge is in another of Nina’s books, though not a main character. Squee.. more Taffy!!
About the Author
I’m a writer who lives in Seattle. I’m the author of EXTRA CREDIT EPIDEMIC, DANGER IN CAT WORLD, THE LAST CONDO BOARD OF THE APOCALYPSE, THE LAST DONUT SHOP OF THE APOCALYPSE, and ONE GHOST PER SERVING. Come see me on Twitter or my site or friend me on Goodreads.
Nina’s Website | Twitter | Goodreads
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