From Goodreads: "Tory Brennan, niece of acclaimed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan (of the Bones novels and hit TV show), is the leader of a ragtag band of teenage "sci-philes" who live on a secluded island off the coast of South Carolina. When the group rescues a dog (Cooper) caged for medical testing on a nearby island, they are exposed to an experimental strain of canine parvovirus that changes their lives forever.
As the friends discover their heightened senses and animal-quick reflexes, they must combine their scientific curiosity with their newfound physical gifts to solve a cold-case murder that has suddenly become very hot if they can stay alive long enough to catch the killer's scent.
Fortunately, they are now more than friends they're a pack. They are Virals."
After reading the first ten or so pages of this book I started to get really excited. Forensic anthropology? Primates? Transmission of diseases between humans and animals? These are all things that I am studying/ highly interested in! Add to the fact that Kathy Reichs, creator of "Bones" the TV series/ book series is the author of this book, and I was even more excited! I know that a lot of academics, such as my professors, hate forensics/ medical shows like "Bones", "CSI", "House", and whatnot, saying that they are not realistic whatsoever and give the wrong impression of the fields, but in all honesty, I really enjoy those types of shows. It's just so amazing to see what I am learning in school to pop up in these shows (I mean, where else would I come across trabecular and lamellar bone, epiphyseal fusion, and whatnot?).
All in all, I really enjoyed this book. Tory is such a strong female character. She is a genius (but not the type of genius that is too afraid to venture out into the real world, choosing instead to isolate themselves in some lab or whatnot)- no, the girl is not afraid to get out there and take risks... She is the one to convince all of her boy friends that, "Yes, we really need to do this! And yes, it may be dangerous, but it will be for the greater good!". She is a leader through and through.
And her little ragtag of boys? Hilarious and entirely lovable! I know that a lot of people like "The Big Bang Theory", I'm not really a fan, but I have seen a few episodes and the boys of this book very much remind me of the boys of the show, so if you like the show, I think you'll like this book. First there is Hi, a pudgy teen who is entirely babied by his mom, but whom is so sarcastic and brings so much humor to the book. Then there is Shelton (see! Same name as in "The Big Bang Theory"- just different spelling), the nerdiest boy of the gang who can fix anything electrical and technological, and Ben, Ben is a difficult character to get a grasp of because he only speaks maybe twenty words throughout the entire novel, but Tory describes him as being the best looking boy out of her little group of boys, the boy who is most likely to go along with her crazy adventures, and the boy with a killer temper that they all have to be on the look out for.
When I had first read some of the reviews of this book I had seen that there was a little bit of romance in this book and I always love me some romance, so I was even more so looking forward to it. When I first read about Ben and the way that him and Tory interacted I thought that he was definitely going to be the boy with the relationship with Tory and when he wasn't... Well, I was disappointed. I was especially disappointed with whom she did have a (sorta) relationship with because he had a girlfriend and he seemed way too overly cocky and arrogant, not someone that I thought that Tory would go for. But since the relationship with that boy obviously didn't work out, I do think (and hope) that there could be something between Tory and Ben in the future.
I found this book to be very similar to James Patterson's "Maximum Ride" series, but just more realistic. You might be asking yourself, "Well, how is this more realistic than Maximum Ride, considering both are based around the fusion of human DNA with animal DNA, creating a sort of hybrid?" Well, in the "Maximum Ride" books there were countless experiments and conspiracies carried out over such a long period of time and by countless individuals and scientists, which in my opinion doesn't seem as plausible (ie. having so many people involved with it, the technology, funding, and whatnot), whereas in this book the teens developing their abilities was a complete accident. I did find myself growing somewhat frustrated with the gang's abilities when they first started developing just because they had no control over them whatsoever (and I can't even imagine how frustrated and scared they must have been when this was happening to them), but that frustration definitely eased up as they learned how to better control them.
Though this book could totally be a stand alone book, I do really wish for it to be a series (I did read somewhere online that it was going to be developed into a trilogy, but I didn't come across any official announcement on Kathy's website so I am not 100% positive if this is true or not). However, if this were to be a trilogy, I would love it if in the next book the characters were a bit older and has developed their abilities more so. Also, I am sad to say that since adopting Oreo, my new kitten, I have not developed any awesome abilities like Tory and her gang did when they adopted Cooper, the wolfdog pup... ;)