Viral Nation

Viral Nation - Shaunta Grimes At first, Viral Nation seems just like all of the other YA dystopian novels on the market: a horrible event (in this case, a virus) decimated the world’s population causing one group (the Company) to take charge. This group is believed to have the best interest of the people at heart until the main character finds information that causes them to question everything they know about their society. However, Viral Nation manages to turn these common elements into a unique, gripping, and memorable storyline.

Viral Nation immediately grabs attention by giving readers a first-hand look at the devastation that the virus is causing. It’s heart-wrenching, and allows the reader to feel all of the conflicting emotions that the characters feel – especially the immense sense of relief when the suppressant is discovered. This is incredibly important, as it makes it easy to sympathize with all of the characters and their fear of the virus, while also heightening the sense of betrayal that is felt as more and more information is revealed about the Company.

The characters were all exceptionally written. The main reason that I picked up Viral Nation was due to the fact that Clover is autistic, which is rarely seen in YA novels unless they’re an “issue” story. (A notable exception is [b:The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time|1618|The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time|Mark Haddon|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1327882682s/1618.jpg|4259809], which I absolutely love). It was really interesting to look at the world through her eyes, and I felt that her personality and mannerisms (dislike of extreme stimulation, difficulty following social cues) were handled very well. I loved her relationships with her brother, West, and her service dog, Mango. West is the brother that I wish I had – he’s incredibly supportive of Clover, to the point where he’s willing to sacrifice his own dreams to give her a chance to pursue her own. Though he may occasionally get frustrated with her inability to cope with excessive sensory stimulation, it was really nice to see the unconditional love and affection between the two of them.

As a huge Doctor Who fangirl, I really enjoyed the time travel aspects of the story. While there were a few plot holes that were chalked up to being a result of the time loop, it was executed quite well and helped separate Viral Nation from all of the cookie-cutter dystopian novels.

Overall, Viral Nation was a very enjoyable, character-driven story. I look forward to reading the sequel!

This review can also be found at The In-Between Place. Thanks to Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.