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BOOK REVIEW: Contagion by Teri Terry

| 16 March 2018 | Reply

BOOK REVIEW: Contagion by Teri Terry

May 2017
Paperback, $16.99
Reviewed by Steph O’Connell

Young Adult / Speculative Fiction


Callie is missing. 

Her brother Kai is losing hope of ever seeing her again. Then he meets Shay, a girl who saw Callie the day she disappeared, and his hope is reignited. 

Their search leads them to the heart of a terrifying epidemic that is raging through the country. 

Can Kai and Shay escape death and find Callie?



Relating this story to us are Callie, who is locked up in some kind of lab, surrounded by people in biosuits who don’t speak to her and call her only by her sequencing number.

I explore the walls, every inch, the floor and ceiling, too, but there is no way out of this place. I lie on the floor and stare at the ceiling; then, bored, I lie on the ceiling and stare at the floor. Gravity doesn’t seem to apply to whatever I am now. But if I was a ghost, I could sail through the walls, couldn’t I? And get out of here. But no matter how I push, I can’t get through.

Callie who, within the first 5% of this book, seems to no longer exist, at least not in any conventional way.

They have instruments and are testing the ash on the floor, taking little scoops and putting it in some sensor. They seem happy, and out comes a broom. That’s a little low tech. They sweep what is left of my body into a pile, and then pull in a silver piece of equipment, attach a nozzle, and then … oh. It’s a fancy Hoover. They hoover me up. Just like that. Gone.

And Shay, a girl from England who has recently relocated to Scotland with her mother. Who remembers seeing Callie on the day she disappeared a year ago, and reaches out to Kai to share this newly remembered information, just in time to be kept apart by the spreading epidemic.

I shrug. ‘No big deal having a temperature check, is it? They’re just making sure we haven’t got this flu.’ That’s what I say, but why are they blocking our lane? Unease grows inside. What if my temperature is higher tomorrow? What happens then?
‘I’ve a good mind to see them off with a shotgun.’
‘If you had one.’
She grins. ‘If I had one.'”

Through alternating chapters, readers go along for the ride as this epidemic spreads and we see it unfolding from two sides of the situation.

From Callie’s point of view, we know where the epidemic started and that there are people behind it, that they have been experimenting on their own human guinea pigs and are responsible for what is happening to the UK. 

From Shay’s point of view, we watch as the virus comes closer and closer, and as roads are blocked off, people are tested, and yet other people disappear, likely dead.


Overall this is a bit of a fun epidemic young adult read, though certain “twists” were super obvious right from the start, one of which the characters only realised right near the end, in the final handful of chapters.

It’s reasonably run-of-the-mill, expected, and predictable, but not so much as to be entirely boring or uninteresting, it just didn’t keep this reader on her toes.

I’ll continue on with the series, though I’m not expecting anything earth-shattering from it. It’s a good way to pass the time, and I don’t regret reading it, but here’s hoping the rest of the series offers some more surprising twists!


Category: Book Reviews, Other Reviews

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