About the author:
Shaunta Grimes has worked as a substitute teacher, a newspaper reporter, a drug court counselor, and a vintage clothing seller. No matter which direction she strays, however, she always comes back to storytelling. She lives in Reno with her family, where she writes, teaches, and perpetually studies at the University of Nevada. Viral Nation is her debut traditionally-published novel.
You can haunt Shaunta Grimes at-
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It's hard to pick my favorite five quotes, but here are five that I really love.
As far as Clover could tell in the dim light, it was as if the Dinosaur was just waiting for someone to send it some juice and let the players stream in.
The Dinosaur is an abandoned casino—huge, hulking, and full of silent machines. This is Clover's first glimpse inside, and the reader's, too.
There were two things he could count on every Wednesday morning. An unpleasant twinge of resentment when he traded a backbreaking week of hard labor for barely enough food and energy to take care of his sister. And passing by the Kingston Estate on his way to the Bazaar, where he knew Bridget Kingston would be somewhere near the gate.
I feel like this quote sets up West's personality perfectly. He works hard. He does what he has to do, even though he gets very little reward for his efforts. He pines for something he can't have while he's on his way to do the right thing.
James heard, six weeks after Jane died, that crews were picking through Reno, removing dead bodies, sanitizing houses, making a place for the surviving Nevadans who'd stayed in the state.
When I was writing Viral Nation, I thought hard about how I thought people would react to an apocalypse. I think the survivors would band together. This quote shows how quickly, in my made up world, that happened.
He stepped forward and slid one hand along the side of her face and into her hair. He wrapped his other arm around her waist to pull her to him, then kissed her on the mouth. She was so shocked by the gesture, by being touched, that she couldn't get herself together in time to pull away. He had already moved away by the time her nervous system kicked in with the message that he was too close. And kissing her. She jerked back away.
There isn't a lot of romance in this book, but this kiss between Jude and Clover is one of my favorite scenes.
“Phire!” Emmy screeched again when her brother didn't come for her.
“Where? Where's the fire?” Isaiah indicated with his head for the other guard to check inside the gate.
“I don't see nothing,” he called.
I think any dystopian book needs a few funny scenes to give the reader a little relief. I love this scene where Isaiah is confused by Phire's name and by finding a little girl outside the city walls.
Viral Nation by Shaunta Grimes, July 2, 2013. Published by Berkley Trade.
After a virus claimed nearly the entire global population, the world changed. The United States splintered into fifty walled cities where the surviving citizens clustered to start over. The Company, which ended the plague by bringing a life-saving vaccine back from the future, controls everything. They ration the scant food and supplies through a lottery system, mandate daily doses of virus suppressant, and even monitor future timelines to stop crimes before they can be committed.
Brilliant but autistic, sixteen-year-old Clover Donovan has always dreamed of studying at the Waverly-Stead Academy. Her brother and caretaker, West, has done everything in his power to make her dream a reality. But Clover’s refusal to part with her beloved service dog denies her entry into the school. Instead, she is drafted into the Time Mariners, a team of Company operatives who travel through time to gather news about the future.
When one of Clover’s missions reveals that West’s life is in danger, the Donovans are shattered. To change West’s fate, they’ll have to take on the mysterious Company. But as its secrets are revealed, they realize that the Company’s rule may not be as benevolent as it seems. In saving her brother, Clover will face a more powerful force than she ever imagined and will team up with a band of fellow misfits and outsiders to incite a revolution that will change their destinies forever.