Review: Contaminated by Em Garner

Contaminated by Em Garner

Title: Contaminated
Author: Em Garner
Published: July 23rd 2013 by EgmontUSA
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian / Zombie Apocalypse
Source: Provided by the Author/Publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

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After the Contamination—an epidemic caused by the super-trendy diet drink ThinPro that turned ordinary citizens into violent, uncontrollable creatures—the government rounded up the “Connies” to protect the remaining population. Now, two years later, the rehabilitated are being allowed home, complete with shock collars that will either control, or kill, them.

Velvet Ellis has struggled to care for her ten-year-old sister since her parents were taken in the round up. When she finds her mother in one of the “Kennels,” Velvet resolves to do whatever it takes to put her family back together. But the danger isn’t over. It’s beginning all over again…


This is less a story about zombies, and more a story about survival. The outbreak happened, the government is attempting to clean up afterwards, and everyone is slowly trying to put their lives back together. For Velvet Ellis this is not so easy, she lost both her parents to this crazy disease, and she’s had to quit school and start working full time in order to keep herself and her 10-year-old sister afloat. But all is not lost. The contaminated in this story aren’t zombies in the true sense of the word, they’re not dead. And a way has been found to neutralize them and make them (mostly) safe to take home. Something Velvet fully intends to do once she’s found her mother.

If you’re looking for high action, high stakes, this is not the book for you. If you like something with a slow burn that’s more character driven, go ahead and give it a try.

I really like this take on the zombie story. I like that it tackles issues of the ethical treatment of the contaminated, or “Connies” as they are called. I like that Velvet does the best she can with very limited resources. She’s little more than a kid herself, but despite all the backlash and hardships she’s had to face, she’s soldering bravely on.

The story reads like the first part of a series, or at least something with a sequel in the works. The story really hits its stride in the last couple of chapters, when… well, I can’t tell you what happens, obviously. Let’s just say it pinged my conspiracy theory buttons. And then it cuts off abruptly.

(4/5)

Em Garner writes books.

She began writing at a very young age, always preferring the stories about what goes bump in the night. An avid reader of horror, science-fiction and fantasy, she first turned her hand to short stories about the sorts of things that hide under the bed…and she kept right on going.

Now Em spends most of her time in front of her computer, writing away at all the ideas she has swirling around in her head and hoping she can get them into a story before she forgets them.

She loves zombies, unicorns, and rainbows, the color purple and the smell of roses. She hates the smell of lilies, the feeling of corduroy and biting sandpaper. (Well. Who doesn’t?)

She lives at the beach with her family, where she spends a lot of time reading and sticking her feet in the sand. She is afraid of sharks, but that doesn’t stop her from going in the water.

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