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Virals
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When Tory Brennan's mother dies suddenly she is sent to live with the father she has never met on a remote island in South Carolina. Tory might find getting to know her dad difficult, but she has no trouble making friends with the island's other teenage inhabitants: Shelton, Hi and Ben. They quickly form their own gang, united against the snobby pupils of the posh high school they all attend.

Things change dramatically for them, though, when they rescue a sick wolf dog puppy who they find locked in a secret cage in a research laboratory. The four nurse him through his illness, in their bunker hideout, until he is better. But it's not long before they all fall sick. Could their illness have something to do with the puppy? And what does the head of the laboratory have to hide?

Sneaking back onto the island to try to find out what's going on the four are shocked to discover some long-buried human bones. But before they can dig them out, they are shot at and chased off the island. Fleeing for their lives, something strange starts to happen. Suddenly Tory feels she could run all night. Shelton sees more sharply; Hi can smell odours he's never noticed before. And Ben's eyes have changed colour.

Alarmed by the change in each other, they retreat to their bunker. It's clear they have become involved in something fatally dangerous. And if they don't find out what's going on soon, they could end up like the poor person buried on the island.

And what on earth is this strange change in them all about? Could they possibly have developed canine powers? They soon realise that if they can harness their powers, it just might save their lives.

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About the Author

Kathy Reichs is forensic anthropologist for the Offices of the Chief Medical Examiner, State of North Carolina, and for the Laboratoire de Sciences Judiciaires et de Medecine Legale for the province of Quebec. She divides her time between Charlotte and Montreal and is a frequent expert witness in criminal trials.

Reviews

Gr 6-10-Tory Brennan, 14, lives on an island off the coast of South Carolina. Her newly discovered father works in science research for the University of Charleston, which is why she and her friends with similar pedigrees attend the ritzy prep school in town with the local aristocracy. Tory and her three friends, all boys, are science geeks and love to explore the outer islands where monkeys and other wildlife abound. While exploring a supposedly deserted lab complex, they discover the caged offspring of a wolf and German shepherd that has been diagnosed with parvovirus. Tory's concern leads the group to rescue the pup with the notion of curing and saving it from science experiments. Tory knows that parvo cannot infect humans, but once the treatment begins the four teens start to experience symptoms that make them doubt her initial belief. Along the way, they also stumble upon a murder mystery dating back to the Vietnam War era that quickly becomes linked to the mysterious science experiments that are being kept hidden on the islands. What starts as a science mystery thriller takes a sharp right turn into the realm of science fiction with genetically altered DNA and superhuman senses that may cause more savvy readers to scoff. However, the fast-paced thrills, cool science, and great characters will create a flood of fans waiting for the next installment.-Jake Pettit, Thompson Valley High School, Loveland, CO (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Reichs makes a solid YA debut with this spinoff of her Bones series, following 14-year-old Tory Brennan-niece of famed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan-and her friends as they uncover a decades-old murder and a contemporary scientific conspiracy. Along with friends Hi, Shelton, and Ben, Tory-who lives largely unsupervised with her newfound father on an island off the coast of Charleston, S.C.-discovers a secret laboratory and rescues a dog. When an experimental parvovirus from the canine transfers to the teenagers, they are imbued with superhuman physical and mental powers and become the target of a group of killers. This intertwines with the story of a long-buried body, as well as teen drama surrounding the local debutante scene, into which Tory has been unwillingly thrust. Reichs juggles the large cast and layered story well, although the revelations at the end get a little silly. Still, the action en route is exciting, and the forensic science and research is as vital as in Reichs's adult novels, even in the more science-fictional setting. Ages 12-up. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

"If you like the TV series Bones, then you'll love Virals." * James Patterson *

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