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Formats
Paperback Book Details
  • 07/2020
  • 9781624205149 B08BNN94NV
  • 306 pages
  • $12.99
Julie Boglisch
Author, Illustrator
Epidemic

Young Adult; Mystery/Thriller; (Market)

It has been forty years since America closed its borders and separated from the world following the Vietnam War. In the ensuing years, the country has developed in incredible ways, or at least, that is what Maxwell and Karina, a set of twins from a community deep in the forests of New England, have been told all their lives. In a town surrounded by larger than life trees and crags, they didn’t have a reason to believe otherwise. That belief is put to the test when they find their house ransacked, their mother missing, and their only chance to live is outside of the barriers they’ve grown used to. Barriers… that they never realized existed.
Reviews
Set in an alternate America that closed its borders after the Vietnam War, the first book in Boglisch’s Elifer Chronicles series follows twins Maxwell and Karina as they attempt to find their mother, who has disappeared from their home years after their father was taken away by a man in a black uniform. Finding her means they must leave their small, safe town of Claremore alone and travel through the forests of New England to a place completely foreign to them: the city. Fortunately, they encounter the mysterious Lex, a survivor who immediately appraises the siblings as “idiots”—but who might offer the help they need. Making the journey more dangerous: They discover that a deadly epidemic is sweeping through the country.

Boglisch has crafted a compelling alternate reality with intriguing side characters, such as the morally compromised Antonio, and has layered aspects of the Covid pandemic into the narrative. “What are those masks for?” Maxwell wonders upon arrival at a bigger town, and a familiar sense of unease has settled on the population: Lex explains that the government “has been searching for the last few years to find a cure” before adding “Or at least, that is what we are told.” Boglisch’s epidemic has fantastical elements—violent “death throes” and sporadic infection time frames—but readers seeking an escape from real-world outbreaks won’t find that here.

Max and Karina are likable characters that are easy to root for, and at 188 pages, Epidemic is a quick read whose story keeps moving. Still, some plot points and character motivations, such as Lex’s, would have benefited from expansion, such as the children’s fear, as they leave Claremore, that they will be pursued, a suspenseful thread that gets dropped on the road. Overall, this is an interesting first installment in a new series with characters it is a pleasure to spend time with.

Takeaway: Readers who enjoy pandemic fiction and precocious children will find much to enjoy.

Great for fans of: Megan Crewe’s The Way We Fall, M.R. Carey’s The Book of Koli.

Production grades
Cover: B
Design and typography: B
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: C+
Marketing copy: B

Formats
Paperback Book Details
  • 07/2020
  • 9781624205149 B08BNN94NV
  • 306 pages
  • $12.99

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