Format: E-Galley, 416 pages
Release Date: July 9, 2019
Publisher: Charlesbridge Teen
Genre: Young Adult / Science Fiction
An epidemic is sweeping the country. It spreads fast, mercilessly. Everyone will be infected…. It is only a matter of time. You are now under quarantine.
Callie might have been one of the first to survive the disease, but unfortunately she didn’t survive the so-called treatment. She was kidnapped and experimented upon at a secret lab, one that works with antimatter. When she breaks free of her prison, she unleashes a wave of destruction. Meanwhile her older brother Kai is looking for her, along with his smart new friend Shay, who was the last to see Callie alive.
Amid the chaos of the spreading epidemic, the teens must find the source of disease. Could Callie have been part of an experiment in biological warfare? Who is behind the research? And more importantly, is there a cure?
Story Locale: the United Kingdom (Scotland)
Contagion is the first installment in author Teri Terry's Dark Matter trilogy. What is the story about, you ask? A secret scientific experiment at a facility in Shetland, Scotland goes fatally wrong, and it’s up to three teens to put the pieces of this medical mystery together in hopes of stopping an epic human extinction. The story is narrated by three characters: (Kai) (Shay) and the ghostly presence of a young victim (Callie). The story is also told via countdowns, and short chapters.
12-year old Callie might have been one of the first to survive the disease, but unfortunately she didn’t survive the so-called treatment. She was kidnapped, experimented on, cured, and killed at a secret lab that works with antimatter. When she breaks free of her prison, she unleashes a wave of destruction in her wake. As Callie hunts for the Doctor she calls Doctor # 1, she ends up on a cross country trip that takes her through nearly a half dozen cities. What she doesn't know, is that the contagion has spread every where she has visited.
Sharona aka Shay McAllister sees a missing poster of a girl named Calista and calls Kai Tanzer to tell him so. Shay has photographic memory and may be the last person to see Callie before she was taken away to Shetland to be experimented on. Her brother Kai has been searching for Callie for a year with no assistance from authorities. As the story progresses, more and more people end up quarantined or dead. Those who survive (like Kai) are immune to the contagion.
Those who catch the contagion (like Shay) wake with some interesting new abilities. They are also hunted down and are considered to be extremely dangerous. But, who is responsible for spreading the contagion? For me, it was pretty apparent. For Callie, and her new found status as a contagion survivor, not so much. Shay is an Okay character. What's impressive about her character is that her photographic memory really helps when she needs answers to certain questions.
To be honest, I wasn’t really sure what to think of Callie until her rash decision at the end of the book that pretty much leads to a huge cliffhanger. I am eager to pick up the sequel and see what happens next. I loved this story locale. I love Scotland, and would not mind if someone were to offer to send me there for a week, or a month or two. I think it is fair to ask questions about the possibilities that are talked about in this story. After all, there's a place in Switzerland (CERN) that absolutely does work with matter. As we've seen, other incidents, including at the CDC, make me weary that some fatalistic scientist will unleash the next contagion and turn it into a world wide pandemic.