When i started reading I could not help thinking about the British film Shaun of the Dead, a hilarious film about everybody becoming zombies. One of the characters in The Release keeps talking about zombies as his school friends and teachers drop dead around him and I think those one-liners decided it for me: this is a book to read on a windy night when the rain is lashing against the window and the power cuts so you have to continue reading by a flickering candle light.
The Release, by Shelbi Wescott
Lucy King, your average High School girl, is about to go on the holiday of her life with her big family when disaster strikes: A virus, first killing all the dogs but then leaving almost every human being dead, separates her from her family. Stuck in her school she has to decide what to do: work with other survivors or treat them as competitors for food and clean water and resort to violence?
The massive scale of death and destruction puts this novel in the general category of “they are all gong to die a horrible death”, but the author transcends this in a brilliant way. From the characters: the quirky teachers, the crazy principal, the students, to the setting: a school complete with metal detectors and the usual hide-outs for doing stuff the adults have banned, make this into so much more. It is scary, it is funny but it is also thought provoking at times.
The Release is the first in a series, Virulent.