Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Top 10: Reasons you should buy Quarantine Book 1: The Loners for your library (guest post by Lex Thomas)

Because I knew I was going to make Quarantine by Lex Thomas our TLT Rec of the Week this week, I decided to invite the authors – yes, authors as Lex Thomas is actually two people – to make this week’s Top 10 list of reasons why you should put their book in your library.  This is the list they came up with and, having read the book, they are absolutely right.
1. Boys will want to read it
While we think the premise of being trapped in your high school indefinitely is universally appealing, we think the action, the driving pace, and the violence in our book will attract the boys. Boys need more books, and we hope the Quarantine series can help meet that demand.
2. It’s for anyone who’s scared of high school
The summer before freshmen year, we can both remember being worried about the four years that loomed ahead. If you know an eight-grader that’s apprehensive about high school, give them this book. Whatever they’re afraid of might pale in comparison to the nightmare of McKinley High. After reading The Loners, maybe they can enter next year feeling a bit more confident. Also, anyone who is currently in high school, or once was, knows first hand that high school can be scary. Our book lets them dip their toe back into that fear again.
3. It’s for anyone who feels they don’t belong
When McKinley High is quarantined, and the students are left to their own devices, the cliques morph into exclusive gangs that fight for food dropped in by the military. If you don’t belong to a gang, like David, the main character, your chances of survival are slim. David is forced to form his own gang, the Loners. Maybe you can think of a reader of yours that might relate to the heroes being the ones that don’t fit in?

4. It’s fun to see how the other half lives
The students of McKinley High have had to make some hard choices. Not least among them is choosing a gang. When you pick a gang, it’s permanent, so you better be sure. The Geeks, the Nerds, the Freaks, the Skaters, the Sluts, the Loners, the Pretty Ones, and Varsity, those are your choices. Part of the fun of the book is getting to see glimpses of life in every gang, and imagining what gang you might join. Whatever group the reader belongs to in real life, or did belong to, it’s fun to fantasize about going another direction.
5. It’s about siblings
At the core of our book is a story of two brothers. David is a senior who will do anything to make sure his younger brother, Will, will be safe after he graduates from McKinley High, but Will doesn’t want anyone’s help. And they both love the same girl. For anyone that’s ever had to deal with sibling rivalry, the push and pull of David and Will’s relationship will be relatable. By the end of the book, you may feel like a part of the family yourself.
6. What would you do to survive?
There are no adults left in McKinley high, and so the students make the rules. To put it another way, there are no rules except for your own moral code. We have characters that make the moral choice and we have characters that make the immoral choice, and others make no choices at all. We wanted to create a world where the reader might wonder what they would do, faced with the same situation. We hope that creates an opportunity for discussion of what do readers think is right and wrong, and how they believe they would act when their survival is on the line.
7. It’s a fast read
We worked very hard to give this story a full-throttle pace. People that have read it have told us that they can feel that momentum. Some have even read it in one sitting. So, if someone checks The Loners out, chances are good that it will be returned quickly, and another person can get a chance it a read more quickly.
8. It’s gonna be a movie
The book has been optioned by Mark Morgan (Twilight, Percy Jackson) and Kami Garcia (Beautiful Creatures), and we’re currently writing the screenplay. Your readers will have bragging rights when the movie comes out, because they read it first!

9. It’s a good gateway book to convince a kid to read Lord of the Flies
Given the survival and isolation themes and its exploration of the dark side of human nature, we think our book makes a natural companion to Lord Of The Flies and books of that ilk. We recommend Alex Garland’s The Beach as a Quarantine chaser for your older readers.

10. The library is the best part
We won’t spoil it, but one of the gangs in McKinley High lives in the library, and when the reader finally gets to see behind those doors, they’re going to be in for some big surprises. So… considering how cool we’ve made the library, I mean, it would almost be weird if you didn’t order this book. [BLATANT GUILT TRIP]

Karen would like to add:
Because Daniel Kraus said so. So did Kami Garcia. And Stephanie and Karen. And The Mr., who is a boy that loved it and read it in 2 nights.  He says yep, boys will love it.
Also, Lex and Thomas are right – the library reveal is wicked awesome and one of my 2 favorite things about this book.  I can’t tell you the other because, you know, spoilers!
Have you read Quarantine yet?  Tell us what you think in the comments.