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Book Review: Sick by Tom Leveen and ARC Giveaway

“There’s a whole bunch of really scared people out there,” Kat says. “They’re going to need to be dealt with.”

Something about the words she chose makes my skin crawl.

Jaime takes a cautious step away from the door, as if to make sure no one is going to try to bust through from the hall. “What are we going to tell them? he asks us. “About the food?”

“We’re not gonna be here long enough for it to matter,” Chad says.

“We might be,” Ravis argues.

“This is the United States of America,” Kat says, pretty calm under the circumstances. “We’re not in Rwanda here, you guys. Someone’ll show up, we’ve just got to sit tight.”

“Naw, no,” Chad says, wagging his head. “We gotta get the hell out is what we gotta do.:
“Where’s the key,” I ask Jaime. “To the bike lock.”

Jaime pats his pockets; keys jingle. “I got it. It’s safe.”

Chad squints at him. “Now wait just a damn minute,” he says. “Who the hell put you in charge?”

“Why does it matter?” Jaime retorts. “Thought you were getting out of here.”

“Listen, you Mexican piece of sh–“

“All right, stop,” I say, interrupting Chad as Jaime clamps his mouth tight. “You saw what happened to my cell. Jaime was right. We’re the only ones trying to be, like, proactive here. Far as I’m concerned, those idiots in the hall can flip out all they want. Until someone in a flak vest rappels into the auditorium, we’re it.

They look at each other. Jaime nods, relaxing ever so slightly while Chad sneers. I remind myself that we’re all under stress, a metric shit-ton of it. Otherwise Chad wouldn’t have said anything like that to Jaime. No way.

“Now, I won’t speak for anyone else,” I got on, “but I know for a fact that my sister is alive in the library. With other people, by the sound of it. So one way or another, I’m going in there to get her out. Meanwhile, you can all dickslap each other for who gets to be the Big Bad. But I got work that needs getting done.”

“This is the safest place to be right now,” Jaime says.

“Okay,” Chad says, shrugging. “Okay. Cool. That’s true. Oh, and by the way, how’s your little brother holding up?”

Jaime freezes so still and complete it unnerves me. I feel my legs tense, ready to jump in between him and Chad if he goes nuts.

Instead, Jaime turns around, away from Chad. Slowly, millimeter by millimeter, the tension in his shoulders melts, until his entire boyd seems to sag.

“You’re right,” he says quietly.

“Not tryin’ to be a dick,” Chad says. “I’m just sayin’.”

Jaime turns to me. “If you did get to your sister, then what? Try to get off campus?”

I sit down on Golab’s fake leather couch and hold my head in both hands. “I hadn’t gotten that far yet.”

“Wait a sec,” Travis says. “I thought you wanted to stay holed up in here, Jaime.”

“For the most part, yeah,” Jaime says. “But I also want to go get my little brother. And go home.

Being a teenager sucks. You’re not an adult, but not really a kid anymore. We spend most of our time pushing for all the adult stuff. Cars and money and all that. But when Jaime says home like that, I swear to God I drop to six years old because I understand instantly what he means.
I just want to go home too.

Brian and Chad are definitely not part of the in-crowd at Phoenix Metro High School; in fact, they can more often be found cutting class and know all the ways to hop the super armed fence and security around their high school campus. However, when a virus spreads around the town and turns the PMHS into a zombie feeding ground because of those security measures, Brian and Chad must fight their way through the school and the horde to rescue Brian’s sister and his ex-girlfriend, and anyone else still alive while breaking their way out of the school. Joined by members of their theater class, they witness horrors they cannot have possibly imagined before and are pushed beyond the boundaries of imagination. 

Leveen’s first splash into horror, Sick is definitely not for the faint of heart, and those who shy away from vivid details should look elsewhere- descriptions of mutilations (tearing of flesh, breaking of bones) echo throughout the pages, and the cannibalism that ensues once the victims come down with the zombie virus gives films like Resident Evil or World War Z (the movie) a run for their money. 

That said, Leveen’s characters are extremely detailed and the world absolutely gripping to readers who adore the genre. Definitely a recommended read for reluctant readers who want a good, classic zombie storyline. (Reader/Librarian warning: extreme gore, violence, and bad language throughout the book). 3 out of 5 stars. 

Pair with current zombie books like Jonathan Maberry’s Rot & Ruin series, or the Zombies vs. Unicorns anthology, more adult titles like World War Z and The Walking Dead novelizations or graphic novels, or even non-fiction titles such as The Zombie Survival Guide or The Official Zombie Handbook.

Sick comes out October 1, 2013; want to win our ARC? Tell us your FAVORITE zombie movie or zombie book in the comments, along with your Twitter handle or your email so we can contact you if you win! Drawing will be held October 8. Open to U.S. Residents.