by Yvonne Ventresca
Publication date: May 6th 2014
Source: eARC provided by author in
exchange for an honest review
Pandemic is a contemporary, realistic young adult novel about an emotionally traumatized teenager struggling to survive a bird flu pandemic.
In Pandemic, only a few people know what caused Lilianna Snyder’s sudden change from a model student to a withdrawn pessimist who worries about all kinds of disasters. When people begin coming down with a quick-spreading illness that doctors are unable to treat, Lil’s worst fears are realized. With her parents called away on business before the contagious outbreak–her journalist father in Delaware covering the early stages of the disease and her mother in Hong Kong and unable to get a flight back to New Jersey–Lil’s town is hit by what soon becomes a widespread fatal illness.
With friends and neighbors dying around her, Lil does everything she can to survive. Just when it all seems too much, the cause of her original trauma shows up at her door. Lil must find a way to survive not only the outbreak and its real-life consequences, but also her own personal demons.
I had some seriously high hopes for this story. From the moment I knew of its existence I could not wait to get my hands on it. I may have even jumped around and squealed a little when I found out I was on the blog tour.
And I am thrilled to tell you that I was not disappointed. In fact, I loved this book even more than I expected to, which is hard to believe since this is a debut novel. This is a true YA post-apocalyptic story featuring all aspects of survival. There’s something for everyone in this story; love, hope, death, betrayal, terror, and preserving humanity in the midst of a horrific crisis. There were a couple minor things that I rolled my eyes at, but nothing that changed my feelings about the story in the grand scheme of things.
The character development was perfect, the pacing flawless, and the plot kept me properly terrified about something like this happening in my neck of the woods. I enjoyed the quotes at the beginning of each chapter, but one in particular talked about how waterfowl are hosts to just about every influenza virus there is. All I could think about were the duck eggs that I got from my daughters preschool. Maybe I shouldn’t bake with them after all! Heh. I found myself coughing into my sleeve, even though I’m not sick, and stopping myself from touching my face while reading.
The fact that our main character, Lilliana, was already dealing with a previous tragedy and was just a tad paranoid made her a really interesting character. I loved that she had a mild case of doomsday prepper syndrome, too. Being a huge fan of zombies and the impending apocalypse, I am also afflicted with that syndrome. 😉 Lily is one messed up chick, and because of her issues I went through a bounty of feelings for her — from loving her, to liking her, to being pissed at her, to liking her again, then loving her once more. It was quite a ride! Ethan, her ex-boyfriend, was a total arse. There wasn’t one moment in the entire story that I didn’t want to smack him repeatedly. Jay, on the other hand, was a great friend to Lily and I rooted for him with gusto.
Pandemic is a book I highly recommend to all fans of disasters and outbreaks, a real post-apocalyptic adventure with heartbreak, hope, and even a bit of romance. I will now be stalking this author with much enthusiasm! Another book added to my Favorite Reads of 2014 list right here! 🙂
~Five Random Things~
5 Random Things About Me:
By Yvonne Ventresca
1. I attended Island Trees High School in New York during their Supreme Court book banning case in the 1980s. My mother had to write a note at one point so that I was allowed to check banned books out from the library.
2. I’m a Nidan (second degree) Black Belt in Isshinryu Karate. I would love to include karate in a future story but it hasn’t worked out yet.
3. I’m a failed vegan – my favorite food group is cheese.
4. Throughout my life, I’ve had five dogs, one cat, three parakeets, two hamsters, numerous guppies, and a dwarf rabbit who lived in my college dorm room for a year.
Photo: Yvonne’s rabbit, J.T.
5. According to the “What Kind of Dog Are You” quiz (www.buzzfeed.com/chelseamarshall/what-kind-of-dog-are-you), I’m a Great Dane. “…You are extremely smart but are still approachable due to your warm demeanor. You’d probably make a great pediatrician or duchess of Cambridge.” Fortunately, the “What Career Should You Actually Have” quiz (stuffhappens.us/quiz-what-career-should-you-actually-have-12282) said I should be a writer. 🙂
~About the Author~
Before becoming a children’s writer, Yvonne Ventresca wrote computer programs and taught others how to use technology. Now she happily spends her days writing stories instead of code and sharing tips with other writers. Yvonne is the author of the young adult novel Pandemic, available in May 2014 from Sky Pony Press.
Yvonne grew up in Levittown, New York, where the suburban homes were famously identical in design and the streets were named in sections (birds, astronomy-related, random occupations). Her quest for publication began in middle school (sort of) when she asked the librarian for information on how to physically create a book. Writing was fun, but how do you actually get those words into bound pages? The small library didn’t have any materials about that, and it would be many years before Yvonne achieved the goal of writing a published book.
Yvonne majored in English and Computer Science – an unusual combination, but when she was stuck on a literature assignment she could debug her programs, and when that got boring she could write an essay. That strategy worked well and she graduated with honors from Hofstra University, followed by her MBA from NYU’s Stern School of Business. Her post-college life was divided into two phases: life in the corporate world (where she worked as a computer programmer, technology trainer, recruiter, and compensation analyst) and later, life as a writer.
She definitely prefers phase two. During her writing career, Yvonne has written instructional video scripts about technology, numerous articles for children and adults, a nonfiction book for teens about careers in publishing, and a biography for teens about the singer Avril Lavigne. But her real love is fiction, and after several attempts at writing a novel, she created a story about a contemporary bird flu pandemic.
Yvonne Ventresca currently resides with her husband and two teenage children in New Jersey.
Yvonne’s Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
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