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I Belong

Review: Rebel Nation by Shaunta Grimes

Rebel NationTitle: Rebel Nation

Author: Shaunta Grimes

Genre:  YA Dystopian

Series: Viral Nation (Book #2)

Publication Date: July 1, 2014

Format: Paperback, 320 Pages

ISBN-10: 0425268128 (Berkley/Penguin)

ISBN-13: 978-0425268124 (Berkley/Penguin)

Reviewed by: Steph


Sixteen years ago, a plague wiped out nearly all of humanity. The Company’s vaccine stopped the virus’s spread, but society was irrevocably changed. Those remaining live behind impenetrable city walls, taking daily doses of virus suppressant and relying on The Company for continued protection. They don’t realize that everything they’ve been told is a lie…

Clover Donovan didn’t set out to start a revolution—quiet, autistic, and brilliant, she’s always followed the rules. But that was before they forced her into service for the Time Mariners. Before they condemned her brother to death, compelling him to flee the city to survive. Before she discovered terrifying secrets about The Company.

Clover and the Freaks, her ragtag resistance group, are doing their best to spread the rebellion and stay under The Company’s radar. But when their hideout is discovered, they are forced, once again, to run. Only this time, The Company has special plans for Clover, plans that could risk her life and stop the uprising in its tracks…

Quick & Dirty: A fast paced follow-up to Viral Nation that proved to be highly enjoyable, even though it at times felt like nothing much was happening.

Opening Sentence: The Kill Room smelled of mildew.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

It’s been a few months since Clover Donovan first discovered the truth behind the Company. She’s back in the city with Jude, who’s continuing to try and help the Foster City kids, and only has brief contact with her brother – who the Company believes is dead – via computer. Everything changes when she discovers that Langston Bennett is planning on forcing her to work for him again. All of a sudden, she and Jude are faced with having to escape the city again. Escaping is only the beginning of their problems though. Langston has discovered where all the Freaks were hiding. Now, they have to find a new home before it’s too late. Will the rebellion end before it even has the chance to get started?

I enjoyed the first book in the series, so I was really looking forward to reading this one. I’m happy to say I wasn’t disappointed. This installment seemed to move just as fast as the first one and was very hard to put down. Despite that fact, as I look back on it, it really doesn’t seem like much happened in this one. It seemed to really serve more as filler and as a build up to the next book. I’m still giving it a high rating though because I easily found myself caught up in the world building, and I absolutely love some of the characters.

While we get perspectives from many characters throughout the book, I would still say Clover is meant to be the main character. As with the first book, I thought the portrayal of Clover’s autism felt true to life (although I admittedly have no experience with the condition, so take my word with a grain a salt). It was very interesting to see her navigating her relationship with Jude and adapting herself to it. While I didn’t always agree with some decisions she made, I could understand why she made them, rather than being annoyed at the decision, like I sometimes am with other heroines.

As much as I like Clover, I find myself most interested in the character of her father, James. He’s a very hard character to like, knowing how he’s been a completely absent father over the years. But I find mysel f really liking this path of redemption he seems to be on. I hope it continues in the third book!

There wasn’t any time travel in this one, which I kind of appreciated, since for some reason, trying to figure out time travel and all of its ramifications sometimes gives me a headache. I’m guessing that it will be back in the next book though, so I’m going to mentally prepare myself now.

All in all, this was a fast, entertaining read, even though it felt a little like filler. I love the characters, and I’m looking forward to meeting up with them again in the third book. Fans of the first book will definitely not be disappointed!

Notable Scene:

The Gun Room was already silent, but the quiet took on a different quality. What makes a girl kill her own father? James could hear the question in each man’s head.

“Jesus,” Ross whispered.

Where was the bell?

“You don’t know what you’re doing.” Her voice was stronger, less scared. “I wouldn’t have to kill him, if you did your job!”

Still no bell. How long had it been?

James kept his eyes on the girl’s red X. It was the same color as Jane’s old high-top sneakers, the pair Clover wore nearly every day, as if by doing so she could hold on to part of the mother she never knew.

No. This convict was a killer, no matter what she said her father deserved. She was  not Clover. She was a monster, and it was his job to slay monsters when they ended up in his Kill Room. If the door didn’t open, and the warden didn’t give her pardon, then she was guilty. Beyond even the shadow of a doubt.

That was the system, and he believed in it even if he’d been temporarily blinded when it came to his son.

Christian shifted in his seat. “What do you think he did to her?”

“Shut up!” Mason said.

“But what if he-”


The bell finally rang and all five of them set their guns, responding like Pavlov’s dogs.

“I don’t like this,” Christian said, even though his gun was at the ready.

“I swear to God, you’re next if you don’t stop,” Mason said.

“She’s a kid,” Ross said. “Maybe Christian is right.”

“Do your damn job.”

“But don’t you ever wonder?”

“Will you both just shut it!” James had never heard any of his crew bicker like this. Not about the morality of their work, anyway, and certainly not seconds before firing their weapons.

The girl still looked at his window. Her breaths came fast, her chest heaving now that only one bell stood between her and her death. “Please,” she said. Cole made a soft noise next to James.

James didn’t realize that he was holding his breath and waiting for the Kill Room door to open again until he was forced to exhale.

The door didn’t budge.

Viral Nation:

0.5 Broken Nation

1. Viral Nation

2. Rebel Nation


FTC Advisory: Berkley/Penguin provided me with a copy of Rebel Nation. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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