cute but slow-building YA romance
QUARANTINE is told in alternating perspectives between two teens, Oliver and Flora. They were each in the Dominican Republic for spring break from Brooklyn, but they had never met before the fateful flight back to the US. On the flight, a man was very sick, and as they learn from the CDC, he had a mutated form of mono that they are calling tropical mono and which can be deadly to the very old and very young. As such, they are putting everyone on the flight in a 24-hour quarantine. If they show any signs of fever, they will then be moved to a longer quarantine.
Eager to escape the inevitable life waiting for her, Flora fakes a fever and then kisses Oliver, a boy from the flight that she barely knows, landing them both in a 30-day quarantine in Florida. They are allowed guests for limited amounts of time in hazmat suits. Oliver was actually heading back a little early from his volunteer trip to attend a party that the girl he has had a crush on, Kelsey, was having. When he invites Kelsey to visit him, she accepts. However, she might just be riding the social media fame that is following Oliver and Flora as #quaranteens.
What I loved: Flora and Oliver were both really fun and three-dimensional characters with flaws and all. It was intriguing to see the world from both of their points-of-view as the story goes back and forth between them. I was definitely cheering for them as a couple, and the build is very, very slow as they spend quarantine together as roommates.
What left me wanting more: Beyond some of the unrealistic scenarios (like putting a boy and girl in the same room of quarantine together), which were easy to overlook, a lot of the book felt very drawn out and slow. We can tell Oliver and Flora like each other, but they both seemed pretty slow on the uptake. Adding to that, Kelsey was pretty awful, and it was pretty frustrating to see it all happening. I would have liked the book to be shorter or more focused on the two of them, talking about their lives/the big stuff they are each dealing with and connecting.
Final verdict: Overall, it’s a cute story about two quaranteens and first loves. There are some interesting secondary themes such as divorced parents/handling complicated families, and anxiety. I would recommend for people who like slow-building (and very clean) romances. This is great for a young audience.