Title: No Safety in Numbers
Author: Dayna Lorentz
Genre: YA Horror
Series: No Safety in Numbers (Book 1)
Publication Date: May 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover, 263 Pages
ISBN-10: 0803738730 (Dial/Penguin)
ISBN-13: 978-0803738737 (Dial/Penguin)
Reviewed by: Kayla
Life As We Knew It meets Lord of the Flies in a mall that looks just like yours.
A biological bomb has just been discovered in the air ducts of a busy suburban mall. At first nobody knows if it’s even life threatening, but then the entire complex is quarantined, people start getting sick, supplies start running low, and there’s no way out. Among the hundreds of trapped shoppers are four teens.
These four different narrators, each with their own stories, must cope in unique, surprising styles, changing in ways they wouldn’t have predicted, trying to find solace, safety, and escape at a time when the adults are behaving badly.
This is a gripping look at people and how they can–and must–change under the most dire of circumstances.
And not always for the better.
Quick & Dirty: A story that’s absolutely possible in this day and age. Survival and composure compete in a mall that could be near you.
Opening Sentence: You know it’s a bad day when you pull into the parking garage at work and someone tries to run you over.
This book is eerily plausible, especially right now with the flu “epidemic” currently sweeping the nation. It’s almost exactly like a modern Lord of the Flies, where your own survival overrides any logical thought.
Marco, Ryan, Shay and Lexi all thought it would be a normal day at the mall. A little shopping, a bit of family bonding, and maybe even meet a cute guy/girl. But their expectations are far from reality. A normal day at the mall turns into a national catastrophe. Thousands of people are stuck in the mall with no clue why. Except for a couple teens who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now Marco, Shay, Ryan and Lexi are all stuck inside the mall with a biochemical that could kill them all. As word spreads and the rest of the mall population finds out, everyone is for themselves. Riots rule the hallways and hysterical people fill the stores. What can a busboy, second generation football player, new girl on the block and senator’s daughter do in a mall where everyone seems to have gone crazy?
What’s odd about this book: everything in it can literally happen. A flu virus has already killed hundreds in the U.S. this season alone. People will actually freak out, throwing logic out the window when it comes to a life-or-death situation. This book accurately and believably illustrates the reactions of different people to a serious and modern situation. What would you do if the mall you were currently shopping in went on lockdown for 7 days (and counting)?
The characters of the book were diverse — each with a different background and social arc. My personal favorite was Shaila. She just moved, leaving her old friends behind because her father was assigned a new job. The old friends seem to have forgotten her and her current social life is nonexistent. So a trip to the mall seemed like the idea place to hang out with her Nana and sister Preeti. She is the strongest character in the whole book, choosing family over boys, and books over everything else.
Marco, honestly, is a greasy character. At first I felt bad for him because the football jocks were trying to kill him. That led him to hide in the storage closet where he found the bomb. But his dry wit and hidden agendas tended to annoy me and hurt others. Lexi was loyal while Marco tried to be sly. She tried to help her friends when they needed her most, but found the most solace in computers and hacking. She made the most of her time by caring for the sick when the doctors couldn’t, and was overall a nice, rounded character. Ryan on the other hand thought he could be “different” from other jocks and players. Yes, he thought about Shay often and tried his best to help her, but when it came down to it, he was a jock to the core with his ignorant (but very loyal) friend Mike.
This wasn’t a spectacular book by far, but it was enjoyable and pertains to this day and age. The writing could have cut down on the cussing (come on, please don’t have them cuss every single chapter multiple times. It’s lack of vocabulary that makes people cuss, so please don’t use it profusely in writing.) The beginning was slow, but in the middle it picked up the pace. I would recommend it to anyone who liked Contagion or Lord of the Flies.
Dotty’s legs gave out. She slid against the door and came to rest on the frozen tile. There had to be hundreds on the ice. Maybe a thousand. This many couldn’t have come through the med center–had these all been found in the mall or had patients died fast enough to keep pace with the newly sick? The Suits had kept her totally in the dark all along. This had to be why they refused to give her access to the intake logs at the PaperClips. A thousand dead and they didn’t tell me.
But hadn’t they? WHy else would the president order a quarantine of thousands of citizens? Only if the virus was this deadly would the government have authorized trapping them like rats on a sinking ship.
She didn’t have the luxury of panic. She pulled the walkie-talkie from its holster on her belt and clicked it to Hank’s channel.
“New orders,” she said.
“Bring the bodies to the ice-skating rink,” she said. “Use the service passages. No civilians are to ever come into the skating rink.”
Had he known? He had to have known. How many people were harboring secrets from her? No more. She would canvas every goddamned inch of this mall before the end of the day. She would find that missing gun and nail those kids who plasted her cops with fire extinguishers and get things in some semblance of order before night fell. This was her sinking ship now. And Dorothy Ross ran a tight ship.
No Safety in Numbers Series:
2. No Easy Way Out (July 16, 2013)
FTC Advisory: Dial Books/Penguin provided me with a copy of No Safety in Numbers. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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