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Contaminated (Contaminated #1)

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  380 ratings  ·  123 reviews
After the Contamination—an epidemic caused by the super-trendy diet drink ThinPro that turned ordinary citizens into violent, uncontrollable creatures—the government rounded up the "Connies" to protect the remaining population. Now, two years later, the rehabilitated are being allowed home, complete with shock collars that will either control, or kill, them.

Velvet Ellis ha
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published July 23rd 2013 by EgmontUSA
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The Distance Between Us by Kasie WestCamp Boyfriend by J.K. RockAwaken by Meg CabotIndelible by Dawn MetcalfSeven Minutes in Heaven by Sara Shepard
YA Books - Publishing July 2013
34th out of 71 books — 107 voters
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New YA July 2013
38th out of 54 books — 82 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,350)
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Khanh (Clowns, Nightmares, and Bunnies)
Clearly, the copywriter didn't read the actual book before writing this sentence, taken from the book's summary: "Gritty and grabbing, Velvet is a harrowing, emotionally charged novel for fans of Carrie Ryan and The Walking Dead."

Putting aside the fact that book isn't CALLED Velvet, it is because this book was nothing of the sort. I've read Carrie Ryan, I've watched The Walking Dead. There is no comparison. The Walking Dead was pretty boring for me, personally, but still manages to be exponentia
Jenni Arndt
Blergh. I really didn’t want to finish this book. But I did. Through the first 100 pages I had hoped that something would happen that would suck me into the story and really get the ball rolling. Then once I was passed those 100 pages and it hadn’t happened I felt that I was past the point of no return and decided to finish off the book even though I wasn’t a fan of it.

My main issue with this book is that it felt completely aimless. The story focuses on Velvet and Opal. Two sisters who are survi
S.J. Hollis
I want to get something straight here, right at the beginning of this review. If you are looking for an action-packed, gut-spilling, bucket-of-blood gore fest, you’re not going to get it. You’re also not going to get the grave-bursting, brain-craving undead. This is not a traditional or clichéd zombie novel. Please don’t rush out, buy this book hoping for a YA World War Z, and then complain it’s not what you expected. Consider yourselves warned.

Contaminated is a nice slow burn. Instead of throwi
One of those author blurbs called this book a "debut". Now, far be it from me to say that a professional user of words doesn't use them correctly, I leave you with this information: Yes, this is the first book published under the name Em Garner, but that's actually a pseudonym for a New York Times Bestselling Author, and whose work I really enjoy. This is her first young adult novel, though. So overall debut, no; but in certain circumstances, yes. Actually, I was reading two books during the sam ...more
All Things Urban Fantasy
Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy

I wasn’t always a zombie fan. It’s taken shows like The Walking Dead and emotionally intelligent books like Sophie Littlefield’s Aftermath series to bring me around to the reality that zombies don’t have to just be about gore and horror (two things that don’t especially appeal to me). CONTAMINATED is a book about tragedy, determination, and devotion in the wake of an epidemic that just happened to turn a large portion of the population into zombies.

Tabitha (Pabkins)
Contaminated had a new approach to the zombie novel. Rather than taking place during the outbreak it takes place several years after the fact. So the chaotic feel is not as much there​ - which some people definitely might miss if that is what they are expecting/wanting. ​

The written cues to bring up images/scents are really well done!
The corridors stink like disinfectant. It's a harsh, burning smell that hurts the inside of my nose, but it's better than the reek that wafts up from underneath the
1.5 stars.

Em Garner's debutContaminatedis a fresh take on the standard zombie story. Itis, however, poorer in its depth, emotionality, and relatability than previous zombie-centric books gone before, like Isaac Marion'sWarm Bodies and, most prominently, Richard Matheson'sI Am Legend. The post-apocalyptic world ofContaminated is uninviting and conflicting due to the epidemic created by a weight-loss drink, but it lacks believability and is filled with generic and unappealing characters of whom 95
Cat Rambo
I loved the first half of this book so much that I almost put it down to start raving about it on Twitter. But as the book progressed, sadly, it didn't live up to the riveting nature of the first half. I think it's because things get easier too quickly for the main character - that final moment needs to be earned for us to really feel it, and right now it's not. Still a solid book, however, that many YA readers will really enjoy, and a book that I enjoyed despite not caring much for zombie narra ...more
3.5 stars

Extra points for the unique origination of the "contaminated" and how they came to be. I was enjoying the story for the most part, and then the ending really sucks you in and makes you want the next book RIGHT NOW! Luckily, I have it, so I can start right away.
Ms. Yingling
Velvet is struggling after the devastating catastrophe that killed her father and reduced her mother to a zombie. The animal proteins in ThinPro made the brains of those who ingested it look "like Swiss cheese" and turned them into violent monsters. At first, all affected were just killed, but when the government found they could lobotomize them or fit them with shock collars, some people survive. Velvet has been trying to go to school and support her sister by working part time in a nursing hom ...more
One of the more plausible takes on the perennial zombie story.

When Velvet Ellis finds her mother in a ConKennel, it sets into motion a startling series of events. Her mother, a brain-Dead zombie from drinking the contaminated diet drink ThinPro, needs round-the-clock care, forcing Velvet first out of school, then out if her full-time job at an assisted living home. Her younger sister, Opal, is having trouble with bullies in school on top of normal 10 year old feelings that school sucks. Velvet's
This review and others are posted at Read, Rinse, Repeat.

1.5 stars

If only it were true - a special water that makes people lose weight. There's just one problem. This diet potion turns users into raving, violent, nearly brain-dead maniacs. Hmmm...maybe a few extra pounds aren't so bad after all.

While reading Contaminated, I was continually reminded of the fantastic Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion. Unfortunately, Contaminated suffered in comparison. Both books featured zombies who slowly emerged fro
This is the tamest zombie book I've come across, but it's also the most plausible one. Velvet is a seventeen-year-old girl who finds her zombified mother in a kennel and takes her home to live with her. But the zombie apocalypse isn't a mob of the undead. It's a severe disease similar to mad cow disease where people just lose their minds and don't feel pain. Now that Velvet has to take care of her mother (similar to caring for an Alzheimer's patient), she has to deal with the incivilities of oth ...more
Monica Millard
Man, wouldn't it have been awesome if I'd finished this book tomorrow? On Friday the 13th?

This was not your typical zombie apocalypse book. It was so much better and deeper than that. This book showed a more human, realistic side to what would happen if suddenly one day, a bunch of people turned into aggressive, human attacking killers. The horror didn't come so much from where you'd expect it to.

Anyone who likes zombie books or dystopian or books about boys that are really worth falling in lov
This is 3.5 stars

Velvet Ellis is surviving, trying to care for her sister Opal and searching for her mother in the containment kennels. An epidemic causing almost zombie behavior arose from drinking a contaminated diet drink called ThinPro. Their father was immediately hit, the anger, the madness, and then one afternoon while he was at work, he became one of the many that attacked and was never seen again.
Velvet held out hope. Her mother never drank that much, protected them when she began to se
Given the saturation of zombie narratives currently permeating fiction, the likelihood of discovering a new take on the trope is small at best. Yet, Contaminated by Em Garner manages to do just that by drawing upon traditional zombie conventions, while also introducing an original brand of satire. Told from the perspective of seventeen year old Velvet, Contaminated takes place in a world thrown off kilter by a virus that turns ordinary people into rage fueled killers.

The outbreak is thought to b
Lisa Nocita
In Em Garner's Contaminated the latest high protein diet craze has swept the nation into a frenzy. People everywhere can't get enough especially of the ThinPro water. The company can't manufacture it fast enough. When demand outweighs supply, the company begins taking shortcuts in an effort to satisfy the demand and cash in while demand is hot. Trouble is, the shortcuts turn out to have some rather unexpected and nasty side effects, turning the clients into zombie like automatons with no impuls ...more
I almost made a "skimmed" category to put this book in, but really how many books do you skim and feel like you read the entire book? Well this was my first one.

I didn't really read even one whole page, okay maybe I did read whole chunks near the back. But really the premise is a little odd and I have to say I'd probably be one of those people who wouldn't claim their relatives (not to say I even believe any of this is possible in real life, nor would my mother drink thin-pro but I'm just saying
Contaminated focuses on the aftermath of an epidemic caused by a popular diet drink called ThinPro, turning humans into zombie-like creatures. Velvet Ellis is a teenage girl who is forced to take care of her younger sister after their parents became victims of the Contamination. She ends up finding her mother, and saves her from something else happening to her. While trying to put her family back together, something else is beginning all over again...

I thought the book was just alright. It was c
Warning: This is not your typical zombie story, and that's a good thing. While I enjoy post-apocalyptic and dystopian stories, they can be formulaic and predictable. Not so with this one. If you're a fan of zombie violence and gore, this is not the book for you. If, however, you enjoy books with likeable characters and a compelling storyline, put this one on your list. Looking forward to the next one in this series!
ARC received from NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Melissa Wehunt
I have mixed emotions about this book. I ended up liking it quite a bit...there were just a few things that bugged me.

1. Strong, female lead. Man, Velvet is pretty epic. Contrary to her name, she is one tough cookie. She's raising her sister, taking on the care of her 'disabled' mother, getting rid of her loser boyfriend...all while the world is in turmoil. I know it sounds cheesy and like your basic ya main character...but there is something different about velvet...her voice? Maybe bec
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Grayson J
I chose this book because the librarian recommended it and it looked good and she said I like it a lot. the story takes place in the future across the U.S and the character is facing finding her mom from the contamination kennels and figuring out how to live and stay away from the soldiers and not get caught. The main character is definitely dynamic because she has to grow up and be the parent and watch over her little sister and become a mom basically. "Velvet, wheres mom and why can't she talk ...more
Bonnie McDaniel
This is another in a long line of post-apocalyptic zombie books, but despite a few interesting twists, in the end neither the characters or the premise are good enough to keep reading the series, if there is another book (and the abrupt ending clearly points in that direction).

First, the good: This zombie outbreak is actually very original, as it's due to prions found in contaminated protein water. Prions do exist, and they're fascinating little buggers, even if they result in rather horrific th
Naomi Bates
Velvet Ellis lives in a different world as a teen than she did as a child. There is no time for play, and very little time for school. Velvet wishes she could have her old life back at home with her parents making all of the decisions, but that life is over. It's more about survival now...,.

It all started with the newest drink, ThinPro, that helps you lost the weight you want to. Most everyone in the country drank it, but little did they know they were drinking more than water. And when the Cont
Overall, this was a solid 3-star read for me. I was going to say 3.5, but I always round up when I can't give half stars, and upon reflection I really didn't feel like it deserved 4 stars from me, so there you have it - 3 stars. I had been wanting to read this one for quite some time, back before it came out and I first heard about it, and I'm glad I finally made the time to read it. I read some pretty harsh reviews of it (some rather funny and spot on), and although I didn't feel as roughly tow ...more
Steven Przybylski
This book shows a new version of a zombie apocalypse on how people are getting infected from drinking the water that suppose to help them to lose weight. As the story begins it shows that they can be contain in cages in a kennel. The government is keeping quiet about possible reason outbreaks in other cities to keep everyone calm and not panic about another wave coming to America again. Everyone has a choice to keep one of the contain infected if they are blood related. Then running test for abo ...more
One expects zombie novels to be fast-paced and full of gritty, morbid, bloody zombie-killing action. Not so with Contaminated. The novel reveals the "humanity" of zombies, reminding us that the genre doesn't have to be all thrillerness and blood-and-guts fighting. I found it a rather refreshing difference, actually.

This is not to say that the plot of Contaminated is boring or slow, because it isn't. The story is very well-paced as well as well-written. The characters have depth and are engaging.
Keith In Ky
I really enjoyed this book. It gave me an odd sense that I have lived in something similar and it made me think. I know people may get upset at my comparison or what this book made me think of, but it did and I can not help it. I have lived through many of my older relatives dealing with differing stages of Alzheimer's disease. I liken the sense that the heroine of this novel dealt with her mother on the same level. They are in there and you know it. Reaching them is the hardest and most rewardi ...more
Contaminated by Em Garner is a post-apocalyptic YA novel, I won it on Goodreads. It's the story of Velvet and her sister, Opal. They are orphans as a result of a prion disease outbreak that is the result of a diet drink, ThinPro, being contaminated with unsafe proteins. The disease results in aggressive behavior, loss of speech, increased clumsiness, and other symptoms that give the infected a zombie-like appearance but without them actually being dead.

The book begins with Violet going to a kenn
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Em Garner writes books.

She likes rainbows and unicorns and glitter and zombies, and she hates the feeling of corduroy, the grit of sand in her teeth (who doesn’t?) and the way banana candy tastes.

She lives by the ocean with her family, and she always goes in the water even though she’s afraid of sharks.
More about Em Garner...
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