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How We Became Wicked

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  312 ratings  ·  95 reviews
A plague, called Wicked, is pulsing through the world; and in its wake, it’s dividing the population into thirds:

The WICKED: Already infected by the droves of Singers, the ultraviolet mosquito-like insects who carry the plague, the Wicked roam the world freely. They don’t want for much—only to maim and dismember you. But don’t worry: They always ask politely first.

Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published July 23rd 2019 by Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
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Average rating 4.16  · 
Rating details
 ·  312 ratings  ·  95 reviews

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Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)
You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight .

I have no idea how this book isn't onall the radars, but it isn't. And that's a complete shame, because it isphenomenal. The kind of book I flew through reading, but was also sad cause I never wanted it to end. You know the kind. So let us chat about why I am such a fan, yeah? Though I am purposely keeping this short, because it's best to go into this knowing as little as possible, like
wow. WOW. guys. please read this. now.

I don't remember the last time I saw something original like this, something fresh, something unique. The concept is so delightfully creepy and disturbing - a virus making people into child like murderers. They act and talk like kids, but want to take your eyes out and eat them. And they're gonna tell you all that and think it's a good thing. I love it when a horror book actually turns out to be a horror book and not some hyped up thriller. I was genuinely
Jun 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel here was more than I was expecting. Once I started reading, I got so many feels from it. Mainly, The Walking Dead, mixed with a little bit of World War Z, and tons of what you might expect in an apocalyptic setting (with a twist). Yes, it might seem played out, another zombie type book, but it was a lot more than that.

The wicked are more intricate than a normal zombie would be. And, in a way they aren't really zombies if they don't necessarily eat people right? I mean, yes, they are
Apr 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs, horror, 2019-reads
Nothing makes me happier than a book I’m not sure about being one of my favorites of the year and this book is exactly that.

“How We Became Wicked” draws us into a world where The Wicked spend their time gleefully hunting those who have yet to be infected trying their best to kill everyone they can when Astrid and Hank find themselves face to face with someone new just behind the wall who speaks of life on a nearby island but when things take a turn the two are faced with a choice, to abandon
♠ TABI ♠
Sep 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'There was no word more fit for the sick than that: the wicked. They had torn the world, and everyone in it, to tatters.'


This is one of the unexpected books that swoops in to take you by surprise. I had no idea just how good this book would be . . . because I only vaguely knew of its existence. WHERE IS THE HYPE FOR THIS QUIETLY HORRIFIC EXCELLENCE?? It's the type of slow, gradual intrigue that you can't put down and while I was a bit confused at first, things began to make sense. And of
Sep 28, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed that more than I was expecting to. While I love a good dystopian setting, the YA genre generally doesn't do much for me which is probably why my expectations were quite low. And to be honest, the moody overreactions did annoy me on several occasions and the endless monologuing got a bit much at times. However, there were enough mystery elements and suspense to keep me interested throughout, so It's fair to say that while it had its issues, it was a fun ride regardless.

Jenny Ashby
Aug 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am enthralled with this book and could not put it down! I'm going to start with four stars but I might be bumping it up as I ponder more. The general story arc is not that different from other post-apocalyptic stories but the details are unique and chilling. Of course the ever-present threat from the singers, insects that infect people, is real, but the real eeriness comes from the Wicked with their innocent musings of bashing your skull in or seeing you without your skin. The horror is all so ...more
Alice Maravilla
I really enjoyed this but I would have enjoyed it a lot more 10 years ago.
I can’t give this book any more or less than 3.5 stars and since goodreads still hasn’t added half stars.. I won’t give this an official rating.
Aug 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved loved loved this book!!! Right balance of mystery and dystopia. Two strong female characters that you hold your breath until you know they are ok. Did I say I LOVED this book?!?!
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My full review can be found on the Epilie Aspie Chick blog!

This book is a science fiction apocalypse story, but really it's so much bigger than that. Between the brillant world-building and the strong characters with deep back stories, you are lulled into the idea that this is your standard tale. However, under the careful details and immensely impressive connections, there lies a story about asking where wickedness truly comes from. Is what should be feared something that is induced by a
Katie Haasch
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Such a good book! It deserves much more love, and I'm surprised this didn't become a huge hit. This is a really well done book though, and we get the perfect balance of knowing and not knowing. There are still questions left unanswered, but it fits within the storyline since out protagonists don't know either. It just is what it is, and that's something I love about this. Also, I love the different POVs and how everything ties together in the end. You don't truly know until the end what exactly ...more
Oct 29, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my second end-of-the-world-due-to-a-plague book whose setting is Maine. I am beginning if all these authors know something that I don't. Or maybe they just think of Maine differently since they are from "away." I again wanted to like this book more than I did. None of the characters were particularly likable. However, I must say the author did surprise me when he revealed the identity of Natalie's mother.
Oct 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the best and most original dystopian novels I’ve read in a while. The simplicity of “the wicked” makes them an utterly frightening and realistic threat. 4.5 stars
Kate Crabtree
Sep 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First off, this and the last book I read (both are post-apocalyptic tales) take place on islands in Maine. Maine’s so hot right now, am I right?

This is both a dark and darkly funny story (a set of characters our protagonists interact with, the wicked, lack empathy and say things like “oh, I so can’t wait to shoot your head off!” to friends and family in a cheerful tone- I mean, that’s kind of creepily funny, right?) with a twist that elevated the novel for me. It’s worth the read.
The Reading Raccoon
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I loved this book! Such a great concept and done in a relatable but still horrifying way. I’ve been giving bugs the side-eye for days now. And I loved the crazy nonsense the Wicked would say that was so disturbing but hilarious at the same time. Thank God for authors with a sense of humor ...more
Noah Jeffrey
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Omg. So good! And scary as hell at some points. A twisted new take on the post-apocalyptic thriller that manages to make a dark and thought-provoking commentary on society, venture capital, and how ethics are important even in the worst of times.
Aug 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't usually give 5 stars to a book these days, but wow. How We Became Wicked is such a cool book. That's what it is. A cool book. It has characters so interesting and the wicked people, which are so frighteningly sweet, and a turn of events I don't know why I didn't expect, and such creative dialogues and a story so original and dystopian and amazing.
I loved this book, I what everyone to read it.
Jun 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm always up for a post-apocalyptic plague story. I've read several, but this novel puts a fresh spin on the typical version.

Some reviews have referred to the Wicked as zombies. I didn't see them that way at all. They're almost childlike, and retain most of their memories, but are able to function and take care of themselves. It's unnerving, because it can be difficult to tell they're Wicked. They're lethal and, given the chance, will kill you in spectacular ways. However, as with children,
Amber (The Book Bratz)
The full review + more can be found at The Book Bratz

To be brutally honest, I never head of How We Became Wicked until I spotted it on NetGalley. Immediately the summary sucked me in. Ultra-violet mosquitoes that spread a plague that causes people to become incredibly violent and sadistic, sign me up! This book had my name written all over it. How We Became Wicked wasn't just a book about a world that had ended, but the sacrifices you make for the ones you love and how dark secrets can have
Penn Hackney
Sep 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(My favorite passage, below, might be considered a spoiler.)

Quite good: Imaginative post-apocalyptic premise, great and believable characters both good and bad, dysfunctional families with secrets, tension and surprises with a dose of horror, even some macabre humor. The ending was clear, but a bit abrupt for my taste. Otherwise, what's not to like?

"It was us, being worse than wicked." Themes of wealth inequality allowing great sin, and being accountable for wickedness perpetrated by prior
Natalie Wright
I read a lot of YA Dystopian for a few years, and got a bit burnt out on it. When this author approached the Tipsy Nerds about reading his book for the show, I was somewhat skeptical. The description made it sound sort of zombie-esque, and I've never been a big fan of that genre.

But after only a page, I could see that this story is not standard mindless-zombie-eating-people fare. It also is not filled with YA tropes. In short, it is a cool take on a dystopian world in which humanity has been
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nyp, a2, july, a3e, 2019, atheneum
No one knows where the Wicked came from. It's carried by insects like mosquitos, insects that are still multiplying in the ruins of the old world. There are still a few True people, uninfected, left hiding out. And a tiny number of Vexed, immune to the stings. But they are far outnumbered by the horrifyingly polite Wicked, who want nothing more than to tear down what's left of the world.

This is one of the creepiest zombie novels I've ever read. The Wicked retain their memories and faculties,
A plague, called the Wicked, has spread throughout the world. While some have isolated themselves from the world and remained True (untouched by the plague), most have succumbed to the Wicked disease. Only a small amount of people are immune to the disease. Astrid is one of those people, and so is Natalie. And they must do whatever they have to to survive.

Great science-fiction/dystopian/horror story. It was similar to World War Z in that it looks at the aftermath of a world-wide pandemic. The
Jul 31, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3 Stars

Ugh, I wanted so much more from this story. I wanted a tense thrill ride through situations full of Wicked that would have me on the edge of my seat. What I got was a story with a few wicked interactions that weren’t very thrilling. The writing is engaging and I was interested enough throughout, but this was far more a story about how people are wicked in general and the “Wicked” were a backdrop to what I’d thought was their story!

Barely a back drop at that. The characters were
Sep 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen-books-read
Wow! Interesting story from start to finish. I hope a prequel and sequel novel are made in the near future.
Jan 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was going to be a very typical YA apocalypse book, but I have to say I'm pleasantly surprised.

How We Became Wicked is told from two points of view. Astrid, a girl who has been vexxed, or immune, to the dangerous stingers who cause people to become wicked. Being wicked makes people extremely violent- Yates did a great job not to make a zombie-like or murderous to make the wicked almost to be sympathized with without their childlike behavior. Astrid lives in Goldsport, where it is a
Aug 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Characterization: AWESOME! There isn't a main character I don't love! Even the bad guys are interesting, because you can see hints that they're not flat, two-dimensional things.
Setting: Excellent - It's in Main! Bangor is even mentioned (hi, Stephen King fans!)
Plot: Excellent - a touch formulaic, but there's a twist that makes it feel fresh!
Beginning: Very Good!
Rising action: Excellent
Climax: Excellent, with a twist!
Falling action: Excellent
Conclusion: Very Good
4.5 stars. Honestly, I may just go back and make this a 5 star after more consideration. It is hands down one of the best YA horror/apocalypse books to come out in recent memory and is definitely one of the best YA reads of 2019. It is for sure the best publisher copy I’ve received in a while. The eerie, creepy atmosphere has an awesome Walking Dead/World War Z / This Mortal Coil vibe, and I genuinely cared about all of the characters— and they managed to be complicated. And bonus — no cliche ...more
Sep 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A VERY good book that grabs you from the first page and doesn’t let go. The story follows Astrid and Natalie, two characters from two separate lives that coexist perfectly, until they don’t...

In a world that confirms to stereotypical “zombie apocalypse,” the Wicked are turned into child-like sociopaths bent on killing everyone around them. Their innocence as they say such violent lines is chilling, disturbing and part of what makes this book so unique.

The emotions throughout this book are raw
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Alexander Yates grew up in Haiti, Mexico and Bolivia. He graduated high school in the Philippines, where he later returned to work as a contractor in the US Embassy. He holds an MFA from Syracuse University, where he edited the literary journal Salt Hill and won Joyce Carol Oates awards in fiction and poetry. His fiction and reviews have appeared in Salon, American Fiction, and ...more