Author: Kathy Reichs
Publication: Razorbill; First Edition edition (November 2, 2010)
Description: Tory Brennan, niece of acclaimed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan (of the Bones novels and hit TV show), is the leader of a ragtag band of teenage "sci-philes" who live on a secluded island off the coast of South Carolina. When the group rescues a dog caged for medical testing on a nearby island, they are exposed to an experimental strain of canine parvovirus that changes their lives forever.
As the friends discover their heightened senses and animal-quick reflexes, they must combine their scientific curiosity with their newfound physical gifts to solve a cold-case murder that has suddenly become very hot--if they can stay alive long enough to catch the killer's scent.
Fortunately, they are now more than friends--they're a pack. They are Virals.
My Thoughts: Tory is one smart and grieving kid. She has been sent to live with the father who didn't even know she existed after her mother was killed by a drunk driver. She is just getting to know Kit and Kit is learning how to fit her into his life. He is only 31 and a marine biologist. He has a Southern Deb girlfriend who is determined to make Tory a Deb too. Tory is much more interested in science and resents the girlfriend's place in her father's life.
Tory has skipped a grade but is still at the top of her class at the pricey private school that is one of the perks of her father's job. She and her friends are misfits at the school. She has a crush on one of the most high class of the high class school. She hangs around with three boys who live in the same rural neighborhood - Ben, Shelton and Hi. They like exploring Loggerhead Island which is where their parents work. There is a monkey colony and a small pack that includes a wolf, a German shepherd and their two wolfdogs. Tory is especially fond of the youngest wolfdog that she named Cooper.
While exploring the island they find a set of dog tags that lead to a big mystery. The daughter of the man whose dog tags they were disappeared in 1969. Her disappearance is a cold case. But the case isn't as cold as it could be. Once the kids start investigating they become the targets of people who are shooting at them.
They also get involved in a second mystery. Cooper goes missing and the kids find him in an unused lab where he has become a test animal for a form of parvo virus. The kids rescue him and are determined to nurse him back to health. He was infected with a new kind of parvo virus which should not transfer to the kids. Unfortunately the virus has been genetically engineered and does infect them. The kids are quite sick but as they begin to get better they find that they are developing strange new powers.
This book was an exciting mystery. I found it very engaging. It kept me up later than I should have stayed up because I just couldn't put it down. I recommend it to middle graders and young adults who like mysteries, science fiction and dogs.
The whole thing started with a dog tag. Well, a monkey with a dog tag. Take your pick. I should have known it would be trouble. Should have sensed it. But I wasn't as perceptive then. I hadn't evolved. Yet.