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 are a pack. They are Virals.
About the Author
KATHY REICHS is forensic anthropologist for the Offices of the Chief Medical Examiner, State of North Carolina, and for the Laboratorie de Sciences Judiciaires et de Médecine Légale for the province of Quebec. A professor of anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, she divides her time between Charlotte and Montreal and is a frequent expert witness in criminal trials.
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.)
VOYA - Geri Diorio
Tory Brennan, fourteen and whip smart, lives with her scientist father on a remote island off the Carolina coast. Tory and her pack of friends, all self-described science nerds, are outsiders at the high-end prep school they attend. For fun, they spend time exploring the islands around their home, including Loggerhead Island, a research facility for the University of Charleston. It is there that the group finds mysterious trouble involving a pack of wild wolf-dogs, some monkeys, a dog tag, men with guns, a skeleton, and most importantly, a virus that infects the teens. The group of friends slowly begins to exhibit wolflike sensory enhancements. Tory mentions her famous aunt, Tempe, several times; Tempe is the main character in Reichs's adult novels, upon which the TV series Bones is based. There are probably Bones fans out there, but whether they will enjoy Tory's adventures as much as her aunt's is debatable. Reichs seems to be striking while the YA boom is hot, and she is aiming at fans of books like the Maximum Ride series, with its "enhanced humans," but with subplots about Tory's mother's death, cotillion dances, crush-worthy rich boys, and mocking mean girls at school, it takes a long time to get to the superpowered action scenes. The characters are stock, and the plot is rife with coincidences, but there is a good mystery to solve, lots of neat technology, and for fans of James Patterson or Anthony Horowitz, this could be a good stopgap until their next books come out. Reviewer: Geri Diorio
Children's Literature - Denise Lockett
Tory Brennan's world has just been turned on its head: her mother is dead, and she is a fourteen-year-old who is smarter than her peers, Tory feels like a fish out of water in her upper crust private school near Charleston, South Carolina. Only her similarly misfit friends, Ben, Shelton and "Hi," salvage her experience. Soon they are drawn inextricably into a mystery during which they must solve a decades-old murder, save a wolf-dog, and ultimately, save each other. The teens confront both social climbing classmates and a dangerous and conspiratorial web of off-market pharmaceutical researchers with equal alacrity. Reichs' staccato, contemporary dialogue offers "in the moment" views that encourage the reader to empathize with the teen narrator and her friends. This dialogue-driven tale is evocative of a thriller-style screenplay or an episode of "CSI." Some word choices are unusual, and seem a bit out of character for a novice forensic anthropologist ("I catalogued the scene." at page 135) and some seem too adult ("as inviting as a lost baggage claim office" at page 80). Portions of the narrative stretch credulity as they describe the genetic modifications that affect the teenaged protagonists and as the teenagers are initially endowed with courage and street-smarts that would not be associated with kids of their backgrounds. However, readers will be drawn into this page-turner of an adventure, which offers twists and cliff-hangers in every chapter. This novel entertains by offering a whirlwind narrative with a shocking finish, evocative of a thriller movie. It is sure to be enjoyed by teenaged girls who will appreciate the sassy, strongly drawn and intelligent protagonist. This is the first in what promises to be a series, and Reichs springboards from her adult novels starring Temperance Brennan, a forensic anthropologist, by casting Tory as Temperance's niece. Reviewer: Denise Lockett
School Library Journal
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
From the opening sentence to the last word, readers will be absorbed in Tory Brennan's world. Tory (the niece of Temperance Brennan, the star of the author's Bones series for adults) has just moved in with the father she never knew she had. It isn't easy adjusting, but Tory's "sci-phile" friends provide plenty of support. They swim, fish, pal around and explore the islands just off the coast of Charleston, S.C. When Tory finds a dog tag that's been buried for decades, it triggers an adventure that leads to hidden experiments, a stolen wolf-dog hybrid puppy and a long-unsolved murder. But Tory can't give up—not even after she and her friends succumb to a mysterious infection that twists their senses and gives them uncontrollable new talents. When the only doctor who might cure them is murdered, they are on their own. Reichs has found a pitch-perfect voice for Tory that will ring true with today's teens, capturing an entirely new audience. Do we really have to wait until summer of 2011 for the next one? (Science fiction/thriller. 12 & up)
"Mystery...fantasy...science...and heart-stopping action - this book is dangerous. After I read Tory Brennan's first adventure, I wanted more more more." -R.L. Stine, author of "Goosebumps"
Series: Virals (Quality)
For Ages: 10 - 14 years old
For Grades: 5 - 9
Number Of Pages: 454
Published: 23rd August 2011
Dimensions (cm): 20.32 x 13.716 x 3.302
Weight (kg): 0.431