Author: Megan Crewe
Publication Date: January, 2012
Genre/Format: Sci-Fi Dystopian/Novel
Summary: Kaelyn lives on a small island off the coast of Canada. The only way to leave and return is on a ferry. Kaelyn returned to the island after living on the mainland and hasn't really seemed to fit in. So, Kaelyn has decided to turn over a new leaf. She doesn't want to be the quiet, weird girl in class anymore so she has started being more friendly to everyone in her class. And it is going really well. But then her friend Rachel's dad gets sick. Very sick. First he had a cough and was sneezing. Then it seemed like the illness took over his brain and he wanted to socialize, but had no inhibitions. Finally he is found in the yard screaming and hallucinating. Then he died. Just like that. Kaelyn's dad, a microbiologist, tells them all to stay away from anyone who has the symptoms because no one knows how to control it. This ends Kaelyn's resolution and starts an epidemic that takes over causing the government to quarantine the island. No longer is Kaelyn's life about making friends; it is about keeping her family safe, figuring out who her true friends are and surviving.
What I Think: I had trouble putting this book down. You get so caught up in the epidemic and rooting for survival that you have to know what happens to not only Kaelyn and her family and friends, but the whole community. The novel, written as an open letter to a friend of Kaelyn's who has left the island, really captured the emotions that would be feeling when an epidemic like this would take over a community. As Kaelyn's emotions change or envelop her, you feel them as well. But the truly terrifying aspect of this novel is that it could easily happen. We saw with the H1N1 pandemic of 2009 that the flu is relentless and that fear quickly takes over. In Kaelyn's story, the epidemic not only affects people who have the virus, but everyone in the community quickly showing all who are the good and the bad people in town. Fear becomes the emotion that controls too many instead of hope and kindness.
Read Alone: Grades 7 to 12