Contagion by Teri Terry
Dark Matter, bk 1. Orchard, 2017. ISBN 9781408341728
(Age: 13+) Recommended. Science fiction. Infections. Dystopian fiction. When Shay sees a poster with the face of a missing girl, Callie, she knows that she saw her get into a car with a man over a year ago. She contacts Callie's brother Kai and together they begin a search which leads them into a terrifying epidemic that is sweeping the land.
Terry immediately grabs the reader's attention with a frightening prologue and then switches to Chapter 1 and the topic of Subject 369X, who is taken off to be 'cured' in a horrendous scene. Subject 369X is Callie and she is transformed into a shocking state, able to see what is happening and to travel, but no longer having a body. After the lab she was held in explodes and oil rigs nearby disintegrate, the epidemic takes over Scotland. Kai and his doctor mother appear to be immune and Shay manages to survive the disease.
The scenes of what happens when the disease takes over, the dying people, the disposal of their bodies and the quarantine by the army are all described vividly, but it is Kai and Shay's quest to find Callie that takes centre stage. The narrative consists of short alternative chapters by Callie and Shay, each adding to the suspense and the reader's understanding of what is going on.
The action and suspense are so gripping that it is difficult to put Contagion down, and the themes of revenge, survival and romance keep the reader enthralled. There is a cliff hanger ending that will ensure the next instalment in the series is picked up immediately it hits the shelves.