Friday, October 22, 2010

Book Review: Contagion by Joanne Dahme

This review contains some minor spoilers*

In her fourth novel Joanne Dahme creates another page-turning tale in which a young woman named Rose strives to rid Philadelphia’s water of the deadly typhoid bacteria. Set in the late 19th century, Rose Dugan is a young wife who is actively involved in her community. But when her best friend is killed while working at Philadelphia’s Water Works' gardens, the mystery around her death pulls Rose in. Will she save the city from a deadly typhoid outbreak t
hat is threatening the city’s water system? Will Rose unravel the mystery behind her best friend’s murder—a fate that was actually meant for her? (From Goodreads)

I enjoyed reading about the environmental aspect to the story. In a way, it mirrors what's happening right now with climate change becoming a major issue for many people. Some of the characters in the story wanted to put in a filtration system, when other characters, like Luke, believe that the community needs to follow legislation that would curb pollution to begin with. Having this as part of the plot made this more than the typical teen romance, which added to my enjoyment. Plus, I always enjoy a book that I can connect to current events. I also thought that Dahme did a great job of making her characters believable. It was clear that Luke was passionate about stopping the pollution of Philedelphia's water, and his choices and behavior made sense to me. Rose was also believable, and while there were times when I was frustrated with her (her husband mistreating her, denial of his possible affair), her behavior was realistic.

I think that the major issue with this book is that it's probably only going to be enjoyed by a set group of readers. In my opinion, that group will be older teens/adults, historical fiction fans, and people who are willing to read a book for characters rather than action. Luckily, I fit in to that category, and have read Dahme's work previously. So, I knew what to expect in terms of her writing style. This one was a bit slow to start, though. Still, if you stick through the slow scenes, the tension begins to build. The final thing I had a hard time with was reading about Rose's marriage. Although, now that I think about it, it's supposed to be hard to read about. Nevertheless, it became abusive, and I wasn't really sure how Rose was going to be able to escape her increasingly horrible situation. She was a victim of the cycle of abuse, and didn't pursue any suspicions that she had about Patrick. He didn't beat her, but there was definitely some verbal abuse, and a scene where it was implied that they slept together and she wasn't fully consenting.

by Joanne Dahme
Published by Running Press Teens
399 Pages
Rating: B-/C+


Jan von Harz said...

I have this one to read and am now quite excited. Loved your review, and while I do like action, I am more about characters too. Thanks!

Tales of Whimsy said...

Thanks for the great honest review.

Copyright ©2009-2013 Cornucopia of Reviews. All Rights Reserved.