Review based on ARC
I was looking forward to the gritty aftermath... the trouble starting all over again... the zombie book with a new spin. Aaaaand... maybe the series as a whole will offer that. But this book itself didn't quite live up to what I was expecting based on the book's description.
In Contaminated, Velvet, the main character, is a 17-yr-old dystopian heroine with missing parents and a somewhat typical 10-year old-sister to talk care of. The "zombies" are people who drank a diet drink that was poorly made, causing people to become mindless raging ... well, zombies. And Velvet's mom was one of the "connie's" who will be released back to her family if her family claims her. Velvet finds her and brings her home. What follows is a difficult life, discrimination, and challenges that the strong heroine faces with gusto.
I'm cool with the backdrop - I like new spins on old tales. I liked how I Am Legend spun with science. LOVE that kind of stuff, actually. So I was really looking forward to this.
But most of the novel was day-to-day.. memories.. stories. It wasn't the adrenaline-laced "oh no! it's happening again?!" novel that I was expecting, so much as a narrative of life after all the excitement happened two years ago... The cover and the title lead the reader to think that this is action, gore, guts, and CONTAMINATED zombie-like humans! But perhaps "My mom is a Connie" would have been a better title, to give the potential-reader more of a sense that the book is almost more of a lesson-book. A book on discrimination, on governmental reaction and politics. A book on family ties and strength of character. All fine and dandy, but just fell a little flat for me. It was somewhat interesting and well-written, but not an attention-grabber or a sleep-stealer.
Garner has set this up to be the first in a series. Like many series, the first book may be more introductory, and the second and others following may have the action that I was expecting in this one. I hope so.. And, indeed, the end of this book was where it started to really pick up and become intriguing.
So I recommend the book to young adults -- teens. I liked the strong and fairly realistic protagonist. I liked the potential that was laid with this book, and I liked the backdrop. I am definitely curious about the 2nd book, but I may not be there on opening night....
THREE out of five stars.