Monday, April 28, 2014 17:09

Review 255. Yvonne Ventresca – Pandemic.

18211018Title: Pandemic.
Author: Yvonne Ventresca.
Pages: 352.
Published: May 6th 2014 by Sky Pony Press
Sort: Stand-alone.
Source: Edelweiss & Publisher.
Even under the most normal circumstances, high school can be a painful and confusing time. Unfortunately, Lilianna's circumstances are anything but normal. Only a few people know what caused her sudden change from model student to the withdrawn pessimist she has become, but her situation isn't about to get any better. When people begin coming down with a quick-spreading illness that doctors are unable to treat, Lil's worst fears are realized. With her parents called away on business before the contagious outbreak-her father in Delaware covering the early stages of the disease and her mother in Hong Kong and unable to get a flight back to New Jersey-Lil's town is hit by what soon becomes a widespread illness and fatal disaster. Now, she's more alone than she's been since the "incident" at her school months ago. With friends and neighbours dying all around her, Lil does everything she can just to survive. But as the disease rages on, so does an unexpected tension as Lil is torn between an old ex and a new romantic interest. Just when it all seems too much, the cause of her original trauma shows up at her door.

A romance in the time of Pandemic would have been a better and more complete title. This book is not about the Blue Flu Pandemic or the tragic events. It’s about a teenage girl who makes stupid mistakes, falls in love during chaos and who tries to deal with a trauma that has no actual place in the storyline. It was a bit too much of everything, instead of focusing on the thing that made me want to read this book: the illness.
I like how quickly Lil acts when she orders even more food and survival products before the stores are empty. It was clever of her, but unfortunately, that’s the only good thing I liked about her. Most of her other actions made me shake my head. I don’t want to go into details, because I think you must find things out by yourself, but going out and meeting several people when you are warned.. I would lock myself up and try to avoid human contact – and that was something I expected from such a prepared girl. Instead, she wanders around on the street and she goes into a house with a corpse.

Lil was already hoarding stuff to deal with a traumatic happening. She became obsessed with outbreaks and her father is feeding that obsession by giving her information from his work. It seems strange that he isn’t more careful when it’s clear that Lil has lost her way. The whole situation for extra background didn’t add anything to the story.

The same for the somewhat love-triangle, which felt forced and out of place. Lil has to deal with her ex-boyfriend, who doesn’t know the real reason behind their break-up, and a new guy who likes her. Jay (the new boy) is kind. I liked his presence in the story and I could have shipped him with Lily if it was in another situation. But, I went into the story hoping to get chaos, panic and tension. We do get a little of that, but the unnecessarily storylines overpowered it.. When all the stores are empty and the streets are filled with burglars, I felt the unsafely situation for the characters. The loneliness Lil feels, because her parents are trapped on their work-trip, was well-done. I just wish the outbreak was the main focus.

The whole world is hit by the Blue Flu, but some things didn’t seem right and were brushed aside. The Flu is supposed to attack people between 5 and 50, instead of the normal age groups. Most of the times babies/kids and older people are the ones to go first. This time, it’s different because of? That’s right. There is no explanation and I tried thinking of a reason. The only thing is a mutation, but it still doesn’t make sense. Those age groups are always the first to go, because their immune system isn’t good enough. There is no way that this virus was any different..

So there you go. A book with such a cool idea and, but it fails to deliver. I was so excited for it, since I’m doing Infection diseases and we’ve talked about epidemics/pandemics a lot..

author image


Mel is a microbiology technician who is obsessed with Disney, fairytale retellings and fantasy. If she's not reading or blogging, she's either busy with gaming, hanging out with family or watching a TV show. She loves summer and bright nail polish. One of her dreams is to travel the world. She has found her Prince Charming and they are together for 7+ years.


  1. So sorry this one didn't work for you. I hope your next read is better.
    Bethzaida @ Bookittyblog

  2. Huh the illness is what I would have figured too and it did make me intrigued at first, but it's too bad it focuses on more frivolous things instead. Although now that I do know what it's really about it's kind of gotten me interested for different reasons. Romance stories in hopeless times can be fun sometimes - to read not to live them O_O The love triangle, however... well I'm no fan of them in general especially when forced or only to add more drama. That's too bad. Sounds like it tried to bring in way too much to the table and lost its way a bit.

    1. That's exactly what was going on. Too much fuss that led away from the reason I wanted to read this book: the virus.

  3. Based on a cool idea, but sounds like it didn't really get explored properly, which is a shame. Lil sounds like she's not being overly logical at all, I mean why would you go outside and knock on people's doors during a time of illness? Right...anyway, great review, thanks for the warning Mel.

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

    1. Haha, right? It was so strange, especially if you see how paranoid she was in the first place.

  4. Aw, I'm sorry this book wasn't what you were expecting. That always sucks. And agh. A small love triangle? Do not approve. I'm sorry you didn't like this book, Mel. Don't think I will read it, hih :) Thank you for sharing and being honest. <3

  5. I saw this on EW but I felt like I won't enjoy it (so I didn't get it). And from the looks of it, I think I made the right decision.

  6. Great review :)

    Just found your blog and now following through bloglovin :)
    Finley Jayne

  7. I'm sorry to hear that this one didn't work out! The synopsis had immediately caught my attention because the book sounded like it would be really intense and like you said, have chaos and panic, so I'm disappointed to hear that there seems to be a bigger focus on the romance/love triangle.
    Really great and helpful review! :)

    1. If she would have focused on the disease and the virus, it would have been so much better!

  8. I shall pass on this one as well. I think Lil will drive me crazy and by failing to focus on the pandemic, this book doesn't seem to have enough to offer. :(

  9. Oh dear :( sorry this one didn't work out for you Mel, especially since it seemed to have such an interesting premise. Too bad that the main girl wasn't too likeable either... Great review as always, though :) and hey, that first line really caught my attention! It seemed like a Love in the Time of Cholera reference :D ..or am I just imagining things?

  10. I am just reading this and I am liking it more than you did, but I am a bit bothered by the ex routine, so stupid, he's pointless to the story...
    And yeah the sickness is kind of half-arsed, a bit too convenient as well.

  11. Sorry this didn't work out for you. Great review, Mel :)

    - Hershey@Miss Readiculous


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