I received this book for free from ARC in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Sick by Tom Leveen
Series: Stand Alone
on October 1st, 2013
Genres: Horror, YA
Breakfast Club meets The Walking Dead as a group of unlikely allies tries to survive a deadly outbreak.
Brian and his friends are not part of the cool crowd. They’re the misfits and the troublemakers—the ones who jump their high school’s fence to skip class regularly. So when a deadly virus breaks out, they’re the only ones with a chance of surviving.
The virus turns Brian’s classmates and teachers into bloodthirsty attackers who don’t die easily. The whole school goes on lockdown, but Brian and his best friend, Chad, are safe (and stuck) in the theater department—far from Brian’s sister, Kenzie, and his ex-girlfriend with a panic attack problem, Laura. Brian and Chad, along with some of the theater kids Brian had never given the time of day before, decide to find the girls and bring them to the safety of the theater. But it won’t be easy, and it will test everything they thought they knew about themselves and their classmates.
Ugh! Who knew a book about zombies could be so BORING?! Seriously! Even when the shit started to hit the fan and the action started I was STILL bored!
I think I’ll lay blame, partially, on the back of the book which says: “The Breakfast Club meets The Walking Dead as a deadly virus hits a locked-down high school” and partially on myself. I mean, come on Octavia! This is a YA book! How could it even remotely be like The Walking Dead OR The Breakfast Club? Why would you fall for that? Why Octavia? WHY!? You know that’s too good to be possible! You know it!
Errm sorry about that. I just. I just can’t believe I fell for that line. Anyway! Sick starts with our 3 main characters, Brian, Chad and Jack, who also happen to be best friends, cutting class. Now, as no stranger to cutting class I didn’t find this “feat” to be that impressive. Until, Leveen described the “school”. Imagine your high school, in all it’s ginormous glory. Now imagine that school broken up into various building on various parts of your campus. Now take that and put a “seven-foot iron fence with spikes at the top” surrounding said school. Yep, a seven-foot tall fence surrounding a high school. As if high school wasn’t prison like enough!
From here Sick goes the way of your typical zombie story. First there are reports of people getting “sick”. Then the people are “attacking” people. Next Brian, Chad and Jack hear gunshots and see helicopters. All, signs that the zombie apocalypse is upon us, but like EVERY zombie book out there, they simply brush it off as a meth head going berserk, and they head back to school. Told you, it was fairly boring. Then the “action” starts. The school goes into lock down, and somehow Chad and Brian witnesses an attack. This should have been the turning point. This should have been the part where I was on the edge of my seat! But, for some reason I just couldn’t. I appreciate Leveen’s fresh take on “zombies” but the story itself just felt like it had been done before. Brian gets it set in his head that he must go and rescue his sister and ex-girlfriend. Chad has Brian’s back no matter what, and of course people “close” to both of them die.
I will say that I loved the detail Leveen put into the story. The death scenes were gruesome and vivid and the world building was so detailed I felt like I was at the school. But I often felt that Leveen was trying too hard. The dialect seemed way too young at points and the slang! Oh my gosh the slang was atrocious at times. I know I’m not exactly a “spring chicken”, as my granny would say, but I know kids don’t talk like that. And what was with all the stereotypes? I understand trying to level with your readers but really? “Latino gangs” in Arizona? The white principal that’s “upset” with the inner city school kids migrating to HIS school? The staple black kid who actually has a few lines before dying. It was like every horror movie ever made stuffed into book form. I was hoping for some originality. Something that would scare me into stealing my daughters night-light! A totally new take on the zombies I’ve come to fear so much. How sucky is it that I got none of that?!