The thrilling young adult debut from the #1 New York Times- best-selling author.
Tory Brennan, niece of acclaimed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan (of the Bones novels and hit TV show), is the leader of a ragtag band of teenage "sci-philes" who live on a secluded island off the coast of South Carolina. When the group rescues a dog caged for medical testing on a nearby island, they are exposed to an experimental strain of canine parvovirus that changes their lives forever.
As the friends discover their heightened senses and animal-quick reflexes, they must combine their scientific curiosity with their newfound physical gifts to solve a cold-case murder that has suddenly become very hot—if they can stay alive long enough to catch the killer's scent.
Fortunately, they are now more than friends—they're a pack. They are Virals.
©2010 Kathy Reichs (P)2010 Penguin
Virals may be written for teens but it is a great story with the Kathy Reichs' touch that has gone into all her Temperance Brennan books. From beginning to end, the story engages with interesting characters and a complex plot. As an adult, I considered not buying this book written with teens in mind, but it peaked my interest as a devoted Reichs' fan. I purchased it, listened to the book in one day, could not turn it off and at the end wished for more. I will certainly buy more of her "Teen" books. Hurrah for the Virals!
I have mixed feelings for Virals. I really wanted to like it more than I actually did. I think I had high expectations going into the book and then was slightly disappointed when it wasn’t exactly what I thought it was going to be. If I gave half stars, I would probably give this book 3.5 stars but in this case I rounded up to 4. Overall, I thought it was a creative and original story and it held my interest consistently but there was something missing.
Compared to other popular Young Adult novels of the day, Virals is distinctly unique. It stars a mystery solving group of teenage friends that get themselves into way too much trouble. The four friends are children of employees at Loggerhead Island Research Institute, and spend their free time on Loggerhead Island exploring. When on a mission to find a lost wolf-dog, the groups stumbles into a science experiment gone wrong and expose themselves to a canine virus. The group uncovers more than bargained for and are compelled to unravel even more mysteries putting their lives at risk over and over again.
There’s no question that Kathy Reich is a solid writer and great story teller. Her story was compelling and I often found it hard to hit the pause button (audiobook). I feel the book is best described as reminiscent of Nancy Drew and Harvey Brothers with a super hero/mutation flare. It looks like Virals was her first young adult book and compared to her adult novels I think she dumbed it down a bit for the younger audience. It was a clever story with smart characters but it definitely felt young, the equivalent of the PG movie. That isn’t bad a thing, but since I am an adult, it felt young for my personal taste. This book would be great for middle school age kids and older.
The main thing that got a little under my skin were the multiple boys that showed romantic interest in Tory and then nothing ever came of it. There were a few scenes that made it explicitly known that three boys liked Tory and she even makes note that two of the boys are seemingly acting territorial over her. The lack of romance is not normally a big deal for me and little to no romance doesn’t ruin a book for me, but why note it if you aren’t going to do anything with it. That said, I also want to note that Tory was a strong female character who’s life didn’t revolve around the boys in her life. Love wasn’t her main interest, solving the mystery was. I appreciated this quality in Tory as many YA heroines are very boy focused. In fact, Tory almost had the opposite of boy vision, she didn’t even notice when one of the boys was trying to date to her. On the other hand she does like one boy, but he’s taken
Part of me feels that a little romance might have helped this book by making the characters seem more real. The main characters are in a constant state of fear or stress and romantic emotions often help balance out the characters and the book. As a reader, I felt like I was left hanging, wondering why there are hints of a possible romance only to be disappointed in the end. Maybe a relationship will develop in the next books to explain the purpose of the scenes featured in the first book.
Overall, Virals is a fun book. It’s different, intriguing, and good for all ages. Reich leaves it open for a sequel and I have no idea what’s going to happen in the next book. I have to admit I am interested in finding out what happens and I might end up getting the sequel.
What am I doing reading a kids book. That's what I thought at first. But ended up enjoying it from the start. Yeah, it may not be what I usually read but was a well written story with some great characters.
I've read all of Kathy's work and love her characters and intelligent attention to detail. Although perhaps written for young adults/teens, this was a great listen...more interesting characters and story lines. I'm having a hard time turning this one one off! Kathy, more in this series soon, please!!
Love Sci-Fi, country western mysteries and JD Robb
The story was great and had enough story details and sci fi aspect especially for girls interested in mysteries.It was a just a good story! I would love to read more of their stories. Kathy Rechs are you listening?
I liked the characters and their relationships. Enjoyed a detailed plot line too.
She had just the right voice quality for a young girl and put that feeling into the reading.
I loved that all was resolved in the end.
Kathy Reichs' adult books were as interesting! I hope she continues this young adult line of books, even writing more about the "Virals". I really enjoyed this book and it was nice to have a book that I could play with my kids in the car on our vacation. I have listened to this book at least 4 times!
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