Quarantine: A Love Story

336p. Scholastic. Mar. 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781338232912.
Gr 6–9—Flora and Oliver, high school students traveling from the Dominican Republic, meet by chance on an airplane. Unfortunately, Oliver's original seatmate is ill with a new form of mononucleosis, so when they land, all passengers are detained for testing. In a desperate move for attention, Flora rubs the thermometer to show a fever and impetuously kisses Oliver. The two are quarantined together. Thus begins their flirtatious, push-and-pull romance. Despite the intriguing premise, flaws abound. The voices of the two leads, who narrate in alternating chapters, are indistinct. The young doctor, Joey, is more intent on getting a date or a medical journal write-up than about health care. Kelsey, Oliver's so-called girlfriend, is a one-dimensional, self-centered media junkie. None of these characters have flesh to their skeletal structures. Also, unbelievable situations (and issues of consent) are stretched to the breaking point.
VERDICT While younger middle school readers will like the "awwww" factor in this tame romance, they will ultimately be disappointed. Give them Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen instead.

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