Carrier by Vanessa Garden

Carrier by Vanessa Garden(Cover picture courtesy of A Reader of Fictions.)

For fans of The Walking Dead and The Hunger Games comes a YA novel about freedom, choice and family — and the terrifying disease that makes them mutually exclusive.

From the day she was born, Lena has viewed the world through the jagged window of a razor-wired fence. The hundred-acre property she shares with her mother in the Australian outback may keep her safe from the Y-Carrier disease, but it is no longer enough to hold Lena’s interest, and her mother’s increasingly tight grip on her free will is stifling.

Just as her curiosity blooms and her courage rises, she meets a boy through the fence — the first boy she has ever laid eyes on. His name is Patrick and he comes with a dangerous yet irresistible invitation of adventure beyond the fence, an invitation to which Lena cannot say no.

But Lena’s newfound freedom is short-lived and she soon discovers that the Y-Carrier disease is not the only enemy she faces on the outside. Her new enemies want something Lena has, and they are willing to do anything to get it…

[Full disclosure: I received a free ebook through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

If you’re thinking this is a zombie book, I’ve got news for you: it’s not.  You never, ever see a zombie.  No, instead this is something a lot more interesting, something that hasn’t really been done before.

We have Lena, a seventeen-year-old girl who has lived only with her mother and cousin, fearing what lurks beyond the fence that keeps the family safe.  Now that her cousin Alice is dead it’s just Lena and her mother and the two, like quite a few teenage daughters and mothers can’t stand each other.  Lena wants to get out and explore the world.  It’s been a while since she’s seen a Carrier (only males carry the disease but they live; females die from the disease) and she wants to go out and explore.  She knows how to hunt from killing rabbits inside the fence but her mother refuses to let her go.  So when she sees a boy she decides to make her move.

Now I know all of this sounds pretty cliché but I can assure you that there are quite a few plot twists along the way.  The plot is incredibly fast-paced and just when you think you know what’s going to happen, Vanessa Garden changes everything on you.  At the same time, the plot twists actually make sense within the context of the story.  They’re not totally out in left field, I promise.

The characters are by far the best part of the novel, especially Lena.  She’s strong and determined but not afraid to admit she’s out of her element when she meets Patrick.  He’s the first boy she’s ever seen (aside from her magazine crush) and you can guess how much awkwardness ensues.  And the thing is that the awkwardness is believable.  They’re two teenagers that have had exactly zero experience with the opposite sex.  What do you expect to happen, really?

Overall, Carrier was a pretty good novel.  It didn’t have the ‘wow’ factor that Vanessa Garden’s first book Captivate did but it’s a good standalone novel.  It doesn’t release until March 1, but if you’re at all intrigued by the blurb or my review I think this is the book for you.  It’s certainly worth a try.

I give this book 4/5 stars.

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