Monday, June 9, 2014

[Book Review & Giveaway] Pandemic by Yvonne Ventresca


Even under the most normal circumstances, high school can be a painful and confusing time. Unfortunately, Lilianna's circumstances are anything but normal. Only a few people know what caused her sudden change from model student to the withdrawn pessimist she has become, but her situation isn't about to get any better. When people begin coming down with a quick-spreading illness that doctors are unable to treat, Lil's worst fears are realized. With her parents called away on business before the contagious outbreak-her father in Delaware covering the early stages of the disease and her mother in Hong Kong and unable to get a flight back to New Jersey-Lil's town is hit by what soon becomes a widespread illness and fatal disaster. Now, she's more alone than she's been since the "incident" at her school months ago.

With friends and neighbors dying all around her, Lil does everything she can just to survive. But as the disease rages on, so does an unexpected tension as Lil is torn between an old ex and a new romantic interest. Just when it all seems too much, the cause of her original trauma shows up at her door. In this thrilling debut from author Yvonne Ventresca, Lil must find a way to survive not only the outbreak and its real-life consequences, but also her own personal demons.

Reading Pandemic was unlike anything that I have read in awhile. Combining the topic of sickness taking over the world and the POV of a teen who is going through things a teenager should not go through. 

To really understand the structure of this book, you need to remember that this is a dystopian novel that gives us a background of sickness that takes over the world. No zombies and no aliens. Just a simple flu-like disease. Really makes you think about what would happen if just a flu would make people die. Scaaaaary! 

The characters themselves were very well developed and I absolutely adored Jay and his relationship with Lil. The story really made me feel for her and what she went through. In the very beginning of the story, we get to experience Lil and her struggle to overcome the event that she had to experience. The book itself doesn't reveal the situation until almost half way through it so there is a sense of mystery behind it. The Mr. B plot was good but I felt like it wasn't well thought through. Once the plot was revealed, it was dragged on way too long. And at the end their conversation wasn't as extreme a I thought it would be.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading Pandemic and really think that it's refreshing and different from all the other dystopian end-of-the-world novels. It has some flaws but just as with great books, it makes up for it with writing style and plot development.

Dakota Fanning (as a brunette) would play Lilianna Snyder, the main character who’s obsessed with staying safe. She follows news alerts on anything potentially dangerous and stockpiles emergency supplies, but that won’t be enough. Kitagawa would play Kayla, the friend who has a devastating reaction to the secret Lil only shares with her family and closest friends.

Alex Bechet would play Jay Martinez, Lil’s neighbor and the new boy in town with a secret of his own. Bechet was featured in Demi Lovato’s “Give Your Heart a Break” video (
Christian Bale would play Mr. B, the formerly-beloved English teacher who fools everyone with his charm.

You can purchase Pandemic at the following Retailers:
Before becoming a children’s writer, Yvonne Ventresca wrote computer programs and taught others how to use technology. Now she happily spends her days writing stories instead of code and sharing tips with other writers. Yvonne is the author of the young adult novel Pandemic, available in May 2014 from Sky Pony Press.
Yvonne grew up in Levittown, New York, where the suburban homes were famously identical in design and the streets were named in sections (birds, astronomy-related, random occupations). Her quest for publication began in middle school (sort of) when she asked the librarian for information on how to physically create a book. Writing was fun, but how do you actually get those words into bound pages? The small library didn’t have any materials about that, and it would be many years before Yvonne achieved the goal of writing a published book.
Yvonne majored in English and Computer Science – an unusual combination, but when she was stuck on a literature assignment she could debug her programs, and when that got boring she could write an essay. That strategy worked well and she graduated with honors from Hofstra University, followed by her MBA from NYU’s Stern School of Business. Her post-college life was divided into two phases: life in the corporate world (where she worked as a computer programmer, technology trainer, recruiter, and compensation analyst) and later, life as a writer.
She definitely prefers phase two. During her writing career, Yvonne has written instructional video scripts about technology, numerous articles for children and adults, a nonfiction book for teens about careers in publishing, and a biography for teens about the singer Avril Lavigne. But her real love is fiction, and after several attempts at writing a novel, she created a story about a contemporary bird flu pandemic.
Yvonne Ventresca currently resides with her husband and two teenage children in New Jersey.
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1 Winner will receive a$75 Visa gift card, a Canvas Pandemic bag filled with a signed hard cover, a Limited Edition Necklace described in the book, Bookmarks, and an anti-bacterial Hand Sanitizer.
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