Virals-- Kathy Reichs

Release Date: November 2nd, 2010
Genre: Mystery/Sci-fi
Pages: 456 (ARC) Rumored 304 final copy

Goodreads Page:
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Tory Brennan, niece of acclaimed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan (of the Bones novels and hit TV show), is the leader of a ragtag band of teenage "sci-philes" who live on a secluded island off the coast of South Carolina. When the group rescues a dog caged for medical testing on a nearby island, they are exposed to an experimental strain of canine parvovirus that changes their lives forever.

As the friends discover their heightened senses and animal-quick reflexes, they must combine their scientific curiosity with their newfound physical gifts to solve a cold-case murder that has suddenly become very hot if they can stay alive long enough to catch the killer's scent.

Fortunately, they are now more than friends they're a pack. They are Virals
Review: This summary is deceiving. The ARC version of this book is 456 pages long. Nearly 500 pages! And the "viral" part of the book doesn't kick in until about 300 pages. For the first 300 pages, it's just a bunch of kids being detectives in your typical "the kids are right, but the adults don't listen" kind of story. Now, GoodReads and Amazon say that the final version is going to be 302-304 pages long. Dunno how they're gonna manage that. Bigger pages?

Anyway, don't get your hopes up for this book in terms of sci-fi. It was there, but not until over half-way through the book, and it was a stretch.

In short, this book was a weird combination of Nancy Drew, the Animorphs, and Scooby Doo.

My biggest problem with this book is that I could clearly tell this was an adult author struggling to find out how to write for a YA audience. Personally, I believe that YA books are/should be written just like adult books, except they have younger characters. There's no need to dumb down the writing style for teens. We get it. Honestly. The mature themes and profanity should be less extreme than most adult books, but most of this comes just from the younger age of the character.

Reichs did the exact opposite. She really dumbed down the writing style (so... much... repetition... and... dramatic... punctuation...) and left in quite a bit of profanity. I could tell she was a really good writer, but a YA editor just needed to set her straight. It read like MG, but had profanity like an upper YA.

All in all, disappointing. I had such high hopes.


  1. I hate it when authors dumb stuff down. I agree with you completely. The writing should be just like an adult book, but with younger characters and less sexual content.

  2. I love your review, because everything you say makes a lot of sense and I agree with you.

    I'm set to get this soon on an ARC tour, I hope I can manage to get through it!

  3. such a great review, i totally get what you mean!!!

  4. Yes, I agree on the MG/YA dilemma. I think the two are just beginning to be separated in the publishing world, so it's easy for an author to mix the two categories, but by now they're so clearly defined that at least an agent or editor should pick up on it and set the author straight!

  5. Thanks for telling me of that issue. I can't stand it when this happens. I really don't understand how this can happen, unless you never read a YA novel and then decide to write one. Thanks for the review!


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