Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I just recently finished Virals by Kathy Reichs.  To be honest, it was, once again, one of those books that I knew I wanted to read but I couldn't remember anything about it.  I'm sure you are thinking that I do that a lot, and I have to agree with you, I do.  However, it doesn't bug me; I don't mind picking up a book and not knowing much about it.  I actually think it is fun to be completely in the dark about the book.  I think I then go in with fewer expectations.  

This book,Virals, is good; I'd give it a 7 out of 10.  There were things I enjoyed and surprised me, and there were things I was disappointed with.  First, let me give you a bit of a background about the book.  Tory is a ninth grader attending an elite private school in Charleston, SC.  She is smart, driven, and a little bossy at times; but she is a good person.

Personally, I would think this YA book would be fine for middle schoolers as well as high schoolers.  Honestly, I think middle schoolers would like the book better than high schoolers.  Middle schoolers wouldn't pick apart the unrealistic aspects quite like the high schoolers probably would.  There is a little violence, but there is no sexuality or language really.  I was happy with that; I'm a big fan of good clean books.

It also helps that Virals is fast paced and quite interesting at times.  I did find myself wanting to read just one more chapter before heading to bed; about four chapters later I would finally turn off the lights.  The book is fast paced, the chapters are short, and I found myself wanting to keep reading to know what was going to happen next.  I did find myself sucked into the book, and that is a good thing.  There was even a  point in the book that I was so freaked out by the events going on that I was scared to fall asleep.  I had to read some of the bible to calm me down.  A bit ridiculous, I know, but it is fun to get sucked into a book like that.  That's what makes the reading experience all the better.  All in all, Virals is a suspense, mystery, sci-fi book all rolled into one, and I think those that like face paced action type books would enjoy this one.

I only gave Virals 7 out of 10 on my random rating scale b/c of the few things that disappointed me.  First off, I have been noticing in more and more books typo and grammatical errors.  I found a handful of mistakes in Virals.  I'm not a super grammar queen, but I still caught too many errors.  I seem to be finding more and more mistakes in books lately.  I'm not sure if the editing department is overwhelmed with all of the books they are printing, or if the books I'm reading have really bad editors.  Either way, I am immediately disappointed in a book when I find mistakes.  Besides the mistakes in the book, I thought the story line was good, but not great.  Sure, it kept me interested, but it felt a bit predictable at times (though the ending did surprise me).  I also felt that it was unrealistic with some of the science aspect of it all.  There was quite a bit of unrealism with the ridiculous freedom and skills the four main characters had.  Though, most readers could care less about either of those issues; I can be just a tad nit picky about things.  Really though, it was a good book, but it did have it's flaws and deserved the score/rating I gave it.

Virals is Kathy Reichs first YA novel.  She has written several adult novels, and I did think it was pretty fun that her main character in her adult books had references in Virals.  It appeared that Reichs is going to do more YA books with the Virals characters.  However, I'm not sure I loved the book enough to want to read the following books.  On the other had, I have said that before; I guess we'll just have to wait and see.  

Just so you have another opinion of the book, the following is a review School Library Journal gave this book:

Tory Brennan, 14, lives on an island off the coast of South Carolina. Her newly discovered father works in science research for the University of Charleston, which is why she and her friends with similar pedigrees attend the ritzy prep school in town with the local aristocracy. Tory and her three friends, all boys, are science geeks and love to explore the outer islands where monkeys and other wildlife abound. While exploring a supposedly deserted lab complex, they discover the caged offspring of a wolf and German shepherd that has been diagnosed with parvovirus. Tory's concern leads the group to rescue the pup with the notion of curing and saving it from science experiments. Tory knows that parvo cannot infect humans, but once the treatment begins the four teens start to experience symptoms that make them doubt her initial belief. Along the way, they also stumble upon a murder mystery dating back to the Vietnam War era that quickly becomes linked to the mysterious science experiments that are being kept hidden on the islands. What starts as a science mystery thriller takes a sharp right turn into the realm of science fiction with genetically altered DNA and superhuman senses that may cause more savvy readers to scoff. However, the fast-paced thrills, cool science, and great characters will create a flood of fans waiting for the next installment.–Jake Pettit, Thompson Valley High School, Loveland, CO.

As always, I would love to hear any of your thoughts on this book, or any others for that matter.  I just like talking books!


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  2. Ok, I TOTALLY know what you mean about finding more grammatical errors!! It is seriously driving me crazy! And making me sad. If we (and our children/future children) can't learn grammar from reading books, what is this world coming to...? (I know that sounds totally silly but that's how I feel.) Sadness.

    1. Not silly at all. I totally agree. Pure sadness.