Author: Kathy Reichs
Genre: Young Adult
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Caution: May contain spoilers
Tory Brennan, niece of acclaimed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan (of the Bones novels and hit TV show), is the leader of a ragtag band of teenage "sci-philes" who live on a secluded island off the coast of South Carolina. When the group rescues a dog caged for medical testing on a nearby island, they are exposed to an experimental strain of canine parvovirus that changes their lives forever.
As the friends discover their heightened senses and animal-quick reflexes, they must combine their scientific curiosity with their newfound physical gifts to solve a cold-case murder that has suddenly become very hot if they can stay alive long enough to catch the killer's scent.
Fortunately, they are now more than friends they're a pack. They are Virals.
~synopsis from Goodreads
Virals is one of those stories with a really boring start. Once the mysteries start to unravel and questions arise, you get engaged. So my first thing to say, do not just give up when you read the first several chapters (basic information and back story), it gets better!
Tori, who is the niece of Temperance Brennan (from the series of the same name that inspired the Bones TV show), and her friends are troublemaking kids with good intentions. They let their curiosity get the better of them and go too far into restricted areas in the Loggerhead Island Research Institute. While in there, they kidnap a wolf dog named Cooper to help nurse him back to health. He had been subjected to Parvovirus XBP19. Tori was familiar with Parvovirus but this kind wasn’t the same.
In the meantime they find themselves in a not-so-safe position: discovery of information on a cold case murder. In their attempts to solve it, everyone seems to turn against them and hide evidence. During their research and sleuthing, they discover strange things happening to them. It seems to point to when they rescued Cooper. But why? All he had was a virus that can be passed from dog to dog, not dog to human… or so they thought. Turns out this strain is untested and potentially highly dangerous since the side effects are unknown. It makes them essentially like wolves. This completely changes the game, and might very well help them get to the bottom of this case.
From kidnapping Cooper on, it was great. I didn’t like the few sections that were told in third person surrounding Karsten and the lab. Then again, I’m usually not a fan of stories told in the third person. Other than the dull beginning and the few third person chapters, I really liked the story. I loved how once they became Virals they could talk to each other through the mind, including with Cooper. It was intriguing, and I thought it was a nice touch to have the side element of forensic anthropology. Also, having a cold case crime being solved was awesome. Not much of that in YA literature. So, bottom line: it was good, and I can't wait to see the next installment in Kathy Reichs YA series.
Very Good: Stay up late