Gripping (even if you're not a Science Geek)


After her mother's death, Tory Brennan (14) is uprooted from her life. She is forced to live with her estranged father, a scientist at the local scientific institution. They live on a secluded island off the coast of South Carolina and Torry attends a private school filled with pretentious teenagers. In the midst of it all, Tory makes three unlikely friends.

While exploring the Loggerhead Island Research Institute and rescuing a pup from a lab, Tory and her friends are exposed to a contagious form of parvovirus. The virus has changed their DNA and now they are more than just friends. Together, Tory and her friends Ben, Hiram, and Shelton must learn to navigate their newfound abilities and also solve a murder case involving one of the most powerful men in Charleston.

BTSYA Teen Reader (Age 16):
The author's vivid prose, combined with the thrilling plot keep the reader hooked. This adventure is filled with many twists and turns. Although some parts - like Tory’s vast scientific knowledge and experience - are slightly unrealistic, the author truly fleshes out her characters well. The group dynamic among Tory, Ben, Hiram, and Shelton is very believable and hilarious, providing comic relief during unexpected times.

By showing different aspects of Tory’s personal life, the book is more well rounded. Readers get glimpses of her home and school life, as she adjusts to the many changes around her.

A negative is that Reichs uses stereotypes for high school and mean girls. This undermines the plot and deviates from Tory's character at points. Overall, Virals does a great job of keeping the readers hooked, from the diverse characters to the engaging plot filled with science, mystery, and adventure.

Reader Enjoyment Factors:

A gripping read our teen describes as "one of the best mystery/science fiction books in the teen fiction section."

Content Awareness Factors:


Type of Book:
Virals is a science fiction wrapped into a mystery that always keeps the reader on the edge. The reading level is lower than the target audience age. This has potential as a high interest / low readability option.
Educational Themes:

Enjoy this science fiction mystery for what it is. You may want to stop at points (or even at the end since this is book 1) to ask your reader what will happen next.

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
9 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
10 and Up
Age of child:
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer age: 16
Purchase Recommendation:
Borrow. You'll want to go through the whole series.

Title Virals

Virals, Book 1

Author Kathy Reichs, Brendan Reichs
Publisher Puffin Books, a Penguin Random House Company © 2011
ISBN 9781595144263
Material Hard Cover
Cost $9.99
Genres Fantasy, Mystery, Science Fiction
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