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Contaminated (Contaminated, #1)
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(Contaminated #1)

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  986 ratings  ·  202 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 (first published January 1st 2013)
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Shaheed Abdelfattah Pretty sure she's white, I read the book a while ago and could be wrong, but that's what I remember.

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Khanh, first of her name, mother of 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
S.J. Hollis
Oct 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jenni Arndt
Jun 11, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: arc-ebook
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
Dec 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Jun 30, 2013 rated it did not like it
1.5 stars.

Em Garner's debut Contaminated is a fresh take on the standard zombie story. It is, however, poorer in its depth, emotionality, and relatability than previous zombie-centric books gone before, like Isaac Marion's Warm Bodies and, most prominently, Richard Matheson's I Am Legend. The post-apocalyptic world of Contaminated 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 w
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.

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 o
Cat Rambo
Nov 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
Nov 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 Stars

This was a really easy read with a pretty interesting plot, however I found it very predictable. I think I finished dot more because the writing made it go dad than because I really enjoyed it a ton. The ideas were all good though, And from the sneak peek in the back I'd say the sequel is probably done much better, so it's still worth a read if you like YA dystopians!
Dani - Perspective of a Writer
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
Jun 30, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: dystopia, family, illness
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
Jun 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc-galley, zombies
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 fr
Ms. Yingling
Jun 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Gavin Lippert
Nov 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
The book Contaminated was overall a good book. It's about a contamination caused by a diet drink called Thin-pro. It turns ordinary citizens into raging, wild creatures. The government rounded up these people and put shock collars on them called "kennels". The creatures were nicknamed "connies". Now the protagonist Velvet Ellis lives on her own with her younger sister Opal without her parents. They disappeared during the contamination. When Velvet finds her mother in one of those kennels, Velvet ...more
Jun 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen-fiction
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
Shawna Briseno
Jul 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
Vicki Haid
Jun 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, signed-books
Velvet and Opal are "Pennsylvania-Strong" sisters dealing with an outbreak of zombie-like folks, all from drinking a diet beverage! Yikes!!! But not your blood, guts, and gore zombies, so don't expect that!
A thoroughly enjoyable read from Megan Hart! I will recommend this one to any one who likes YA, dystopian, and fans of Sheetz! (Extra relatable to us follow Pennsyvanians)
Mar 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: most people
This book was amazing!! I had some high expectations that this book met! It had a great twist on modern day zombies and it could honestly connect to today's world. The suspense was real, making me want to keep reading! Can't wait to read Mercy Mode!!!
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Ok so I keep trying to read this book and I just can't do it. I love zombies and the whole apocalypse story lines..Just cannot hold my attention with this book. I may give it another go later on but for now..kinda blech.
Aug 12, 2015 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. Interesting zombie take YA tale. Not as gross as many, but it has its "ew" moments. Makes you think - what would you do for your family?
Denise Westlake
Dec 31, 2015 rated it liked it
I enjoy a good zombie read once in a while. This was good until .. well, you'll have your own opinion. Does make me think about giving up consumption of animal protein, tho ; )
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: zombies, contemporary
Its official. The end of the world comes at our own hands. A food borne pathogen eats tiny holes in the brains of those who have consumed it. Leaving its victums completely subject to their basic instincts. No one knows how much of the pathogen must be consumed before it deteriorates the brain to these violent creatures.

When the first wave hit. The army simply killed them. When the second wave hit they knew it was a pathogen and the victums were given a lobotomy to keep them calm. When the thir
Aida Vazquez
Nov 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I just finish reading this amazing book. At the beginning I was a little worry about were the story was going because the characters have no background. Later it was explained during a series of painful decision the main character had to make. All through the book I was expecting bad things to happen to Velvet and her sister, but she prove to be a very brave character. This book didn't have to lead on love scenes to make the book interested. It was full of adventure and unknown events. Love the ...more
Oct 27, 2017 rated it liked it
This is an interesting twist on the dystopian genre. Velvet and her young sister are abandoned when their parents, like millions of Americans, become ill after drinking from a contaminated batch of a popular diet drink, ThinPro. By ill, I mean violent and zombie-like. Their dad was killed by the police in the first wave of sickness, but their mom has been taken by authorities and "neutralized" - she wears a collar that measures her brainwaves and shocks her if she thinks. In this state she is re ...more
Jun 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, Ms. Garner certainly had an axe to grind; every other character was simply horrid to Velvet, and those that weren't often weren't much better. I felt myself dragging a little reading this as it tended to get mired down in exposition and it seemed that Velvet was getting treated like crap because the author wanted to prove something...?

Could've done without the teen romances but she is a 17 year old girl and with how resilient she is I gotta hand it to her; made her a very likeable characte
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
I thought that overall this was a very good young Adult book about a girl and the struggles of a protein water going bad and her losing her family because of it. This book shows the struggles of being in this situation and it really feels like your in the book experiencing it first hand. I would highly suggest this book to anyone old enough to read young adult books because its a real page turner. I think that most people would enjoy reading this book and have fun while doing it. Overall I would ...more
Harley Ruttinger
Oct 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Contaminated was a very good book over all. The older sister Velvet (a teenager) had to take care of her young sister while working and still going to school. Their mother came back home still contaminated then... you can"t put the book down it gets so good! The book started out very slow in my opinion and there could've been more events/actions in the beginning to make it more interesting. Although once you got to the middle of the book it was very interesting! I loved the ending and couldn't p ...more
Jeanne Boyarsky
Nov 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
The cover makes it look like another gory zombie book. It's not though. First, the zombies have been
"tamed" and turned into invalids. Second, the book focuses on the "human" characters and the impacts on society. Along with taking care of one invalid.

There's some speculation about the true story. It's a tiny bit addressed at the end. But the end sets the stage more for book two than settling things.
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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.

Other books in the series

Contaminated (2 books)
  • Mercy Mode (Contaminated, #2)