Kathy Reichs is most well-known for writing the Temperance Brennan novels (the inspiration for the TV show Bones). In 2010 she entered the world of Young Adult books, writing the first in the Virals series. Virals follows the life of the great-niece of Temperance Brennan. Tory Brennan is 14 and moves to Charleston, South Carolina following the death of her mother. While her and her friends rescue a dog that was being for medical testing, they are exposed to a strain of canine parovirus which changes their lives forever. The teenagers are left with heightened senses and animal speed reflexes they attempt to solve a decades old cold-case murder.

While this book is in the YA genre, it combines a number of different themes such as: mystery, science fiction and high school drama. Tory Brennan is smart and confident above her 14 years, a combination you don’t often find in YA heroines. She is never ashamed of her intelligence and never tries to dumb herself down to try to fit in, which is a common trope of teenage characters. I’ll be honest; I read this book because I’m a huge fan of Bones. I’ve read some of the Temperance Brennan books but didn’t love them; I actually prefer this book to any of her other work.

I personally don’t think it was necessary to link the teenage protagonist to her most well-known character but obviously as a marketing ploy it worked. While parts of the book are a bit slow, there are unexpected plot twists that will keep you engaged until the end where there is an even bigger twist! If you’re a fan of mysteries and science fiction then I’d recommend checking this series out. (There are currently five novels in the series and a number of short stories as well).

-Michelle O’Brien
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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