Code Orange by Caroline B. Cooney

June 1, 2012
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Smallpox, an “extinct” disease, is one of the deadliest and most contagious diseases on the planet. New York has one of the highest levels of human interaction each day; the subway, streets, and parks are perfect habitats for a cell-destroying infection. Mitty Blake never thought he would get into so much trouble doing his homework for once.

In Mitty’s biology class, his assignment is to write a paper about a communicable disease. If he does not do it he’ll have to take a regular biology class, without Olivia, his girlfriend-to-be. Naturally, if you stumbled on 200 year-old smallpox scabs you found in a book, you wouldn’t sniff them and crumble them between your fingers, especially when there are thousands of people you could infect each day. Mitty, however, does do this – and boy is he in for it.

After coming in contact with smallpox, it takes fourteen days for symptoms to start appearing. Each day seems endless for Mitty, and he starts becoming distant to his parents and friends. He doesn’t want to believe if he has smallpox but he also doesn’t want to infect the people he loves. Is he too late?

Mitty posts his dilemma on the internet, thinking a doctor would find his cry for help. But not all people on the internet are nice, are they? Who will find it? What are the dangers of the world knowing an “extinct” disease really isn’t destroyed?

This novel kept me guessing constantly. It was stimulating and aroused many questions, but at the same time was very realistic. I couldn’t stop reading and Mitty’s character interested me because he was so different from me. The ending shocked me, and I loved that about this novel!





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