Loss, survival, and hard-won truths in Pandemic by Yvonne Ventresca

Pandemic by Yvonne Ventresca

Pandemic by Yvonne Ventresca

Apocalyptic scenarios are favorites for teens. Many times, the apocalyptic scenarios take us severely out of the world of reality and into a fantastical world of flesh-eating zombies. Not that there’s anything wrong with that scenario! By contrast, however, the novel Pandemic by Yvonne Ventresca is grounded solidly in the real world yet takes us, in a matter of a few weeks, from the normal world of American affluence and suburban life to a world where society and its services has virtually collapsed in the wake of a deadly strain of flu.

The plot is laced with other threads, too, though and is more intricate than a simple thriller. The main character Lil is dealing with the repercussions of a betrayal that has caused her to collapse inward and towards selfishness rather than selflessness. Her personal relationships, as a result, are hanging on by a thread with the exception of one person—whom she quickly loses to the flu. Alone in her house—both of her parents are out of town when the flu rages through the region—Lil must come to terms with that most basic of questions: when my safety and survival are at stake, do I work to help others or do I help myself only?

Despite sustaining loss after loss, Lil attempts to deal honestly with her baser self—she doesn’t always succeed, by the way—and learns to stand up for herself when others try to manipulate her. Though one or two aspects of the plot seemed a bit improbable, it’s easy to gloss over those as we cheer Lil on towards achieving compassion learned the hard way through bitter experiences and facing harsh truths.

2 comments for “Loss, survival, and hard-won truths in Pandemic by Yvonne Ventresca

  1. May 14, 2014 at 2:58 am

    Thank you for taking the time to read and review Pandemic. I love your analysis of Lil and I’m glad you enjoyed the book.

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